Premier League Season Preview

The 2018/19 Premier League season was a battle for the ages, featuring two of the best teams of the Premier League era: Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Both teams look set to do battle again in what should prove another exciting season.

Season 2018/19

In 25 of the 27 seasons since the Premier League was formed, Liverpool’s tally of 97 points would have won them the title. Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp’s men, they ran into the only team ever to score more points, Pep’s Manchester City. Fresh off a 100-point season in 17/18, City would finish the season with 14 straight league wins to secure 98 points and a second successive league title.

The fight for the remaining Champions League places would prove a close one. Chelsea finished 3rd, just one point ahead of Tottenham in 4th. North London rivals Arsenal were a point and a place back in 5th. Manchester United rounded out the Top 6 and took the final Europa League group stage place. Wolves finished an impressive return to the top flight by finishing 7th and making it to the Europa League qualifiers.

At the bottom of the table, Huddersfield and Fulham would have their fates settled relatively early. Fulham proving to have the worst defence in the league, while Huddersfield could only manage three wins. Cardiff and Brighton took their battle for survival to the penultimate game of the season, with a loss to Crystal Palace sealing relegation for Cardiff.

Champions-elect?

MANCHESTER CITY Last season’s winners are favourites to repeat the feat and make it a three-peat by securing their third title in a row. Captain and club legend Vincent Kompany may have left without a direct replacement, but City have plenty of players to fill his role, both on and off the pitch. Club stalwart David Silva takes the captain’s armband while Fernandinho prepares to step into central defence when needed – with new record signing Rodri set to anchor the defence. Guardiola will hope to get a full season out of Kevin De Bruyne this time out, and bank on Raheem Sterling continuing his ascension to the top of the game.

LIVERPOOL – Jurgen Klopp and Guardiola can talk about an open title race all they want; nobody is buying it. Liverpool finished 25 points ahead of third-placed Chelsea last term. And with yet another change of manager and a transfer ban, The Blues are unlikely to overhaul them. Speaking of transfer bans, Liverpool seem to be operating under an almost self-imposed ban. Their signings having been restricted to teenagers and a back-up goalkeeper on a free transfer. Keep their first XI – and in particular the front three – fit, and there’s no reason The Reds can’t push City all the way in the league once more. Especially if City if allow themselves to get distracted in pursuit of feat that Klopp’s men managed last season, and City haven’t thus far come close to; winning the Champions League.

Relegation fodder?

SHEFFIELD UNITED / NORWICH CITY – Of course, the recently promoted sides are always favourites to be relegated back to whence they came. Over the past 10 seasons, on average, one of the three promoted sides will manage to survive. This time around, that side is likely to be Aston Villa, due to the heavy investment that the club has made in its playing staff – of note, Fulham did similar last year.

Norwich were the highest scoring side in the Championship last season thanks to their attacking brand of football. Unfortunately, they were also pretty open at the back, conceding 57 goals in their league campaign. If they are to survive, they’ll need to be much more solid. Sheffield Utd were very much the opposite and finished the season with the best defensive record in the division. They’ll be hoping that captain Billy Sharp will be able to fire in enough goals to keep them up.

BURNLEY / BRIGHTON – If one of the promoted sides is likely to stay up, then one of the existing teams is likely to go down. The most likely suspects are Burnley and Brighton, with neither side having invested heavily in new players in the transfer window. Both sides struggle to score goals and this will perhaps be the cause of their downfall. Brighton are as reliant as ever on ageing striker Glenn Murray, who was responsible for over a third of their goals last season. Burnley and shots on goal – at either end – do not go hand in hand. Last season no side had few shots than The Clarets. On the plus side, no side allowed fewer shots than Sean Dyche’s men. And when they did create chances, those chances were normally of high quality. They’ll be hoping that returning striker Jay Rodriguez can stick a few of them in the back of the net.

PREMIER LEAGUE BETTING ODDS

Manchester City are favourites to win the title at 1/2 (1.50) while Liverpool find themselves at 13/5 (3.60). Nobody else is considered to be in with a genuine shot, with Spurs the best of the rest and given odds of 18/1 (19.00) to win the Premier League. There are a number of teams grouped in as relegation candidates, Sheffield United are 2/3 (1.66), Norwich are 9/10 (1.90), Burnley and Brighton are both 13/7 (2.85) while Aston Villa are 2/1 (3.00). When it comes to topping the scoring charts, Harry Kane is favourite 4/1 (5.00). Last seasons joint top-scorers are priced as follows, Mo Salah at 5/1 (16.00), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 8/1 (9.00) and Sadio Mane at 12/1 (13.00).

*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.



Who Will Be Mourinho’s Main Man?

The transfer window is closed, and Manchester’s business is concluded

Who will make way for Sanchez? Where does the Chilean fit in?  Are the rumours of dressing room unrest true? Possibly some, but not all, of these questions will be answered during United’s home game against Huddersfield Town.

What will be answered is can Jose Mourinho’s men mount a serious challenge to their City rivals in the remaining half of the season.

What do you get if you cross a Seagull and a Hammer?

I have absolutely no idea but whatever it is don’t let it get sight of your chips. West Ham travel to the south coast to take on Brighton and for sure they will be hurting after being dumped out of the FA cup by Wigan. Will there be consequences? West Ham have been making progress of late but if they underestimate Brighton in the same way they did to Wigan then it will be a long journey home for the Londoners.

Burnley’s poor run of form could get poorer

Burnley are a tough side to beat. Unless you happen to be Manchester City. City beat Burnley 4-1 in an FA cup tie in January and although they don’t have home advantage at the weekend it would be a surprise to see any result other than a City win.

Game of the Weekend

Liverpool play Tottenham in what is surely the game of the weekend. The result may be determined on just which Liverpool team turn up though. If the Reds bring their ‘A’ game to the table (or the pitch) then they could still be in fourth spot come Monday morning. If, on the other hand they perform as badly as they did against Swansea and West Bromwich Albion then it could be advantage Tottenham.

Tottenham have also been somewhat inconsistent though, and it is this frailty between the two teams which makes this such an intriguing fixture. We do expect there to be goals though, so you may want to check out these specials that we have conjured up for you.

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur – Exactly 5 goals scored during the match. £20 returns £146!

Liverpool to win the first half and Tottenham to win the game. £20 stake returns £360!

Tottenham to win the first half and Liverpool to win the game. £20 returns £260!

Manchester City end 2017 on a low

Draw against Crystal Palace ends City’s winning streak but they remain well clear in the title race. Pep Guardiola maintains that Manchester City will not finish the season unbeaten. Crystal Palace certainly did their best to validate this remark with an impressive display against the league leaders. Roy Hodgson’s side are playing with a renewed vigour that defies their lowly position in the table and they came close to inflicting City’s first defeat of the season on the final day of the year.

Palace defended well, but they also took every opportunity to attack, and their strategy nearly paid off in the second minute of extra time when Wilfred Zaha was bought down in the box by Raheem Sterling. Disappointingly though, Milivojevic’s penalty was well saved by Ederson. None the less City go into the new year 14 points clear at the top and despite this minor hiccup look set to continue their form into 2018.

Mourinho needs more money!

Jose Mourinho claims that he requires more funds to be able to compete with Manchester City. This despite the fact, that Mourinho has spent only £4 million less than his counterpart this season.

United have always traditionally been a big spending club, yet during the Ferguson era this was always tempered with one of the most highly productive youth systems in Europe. The Portugese manager, feels that the reason his team has lost so much ground to City in recent weeks is due to his lack of spending power. United legend Paul Scholes, sees things differently though. Scholes, is of the opinion, that United have simply not bought wisely.

Will Mark Hughes become the first casualty of 2018?

The Christmas period has not been good to Mark Hughes. Stoke could only manage a point against Huddersfield on Boxing day. They followed this up with a 5-0 defeat to second placed Chelsea in their last game of the year and began 2018 with another loss to Newcastle. Stoke are now just two points off the drop zone. The question is who could replace Hughes? Are there enough top-quality managers around right now who could do a better job than the former United legend?

Klopp praises Liverpool ‘attitude’

A 94th winner by Ragnar Klavan saw Liverpool begin 2018 with a victory that didn’t seem likely. Liverpool are now thirteen games unbeaten and the Christmas period saw impressive wins over Swansea (5-0) and Leicester (2-1), but Sean Dyche’s Burnley are no pushovers.

It may not have been the prettiest football Liverpool have played but Klopp was full of praise for his team as they fought hard and eventually ground out a win against a difficult to beat Burnley side.

Liverpool were without key players Coutinho and Salah for this game and the manager intimated that they also may not be available for Friday’s FA cup 3rd round tie against Everton. With Liverpool now occupying fourth spot they will be hoping that both these players will be fit and available throughout January. Coutinho especially, will be key to Liverpool’s Champions League aspirations.

 

Wenger V Mourinho – Two Heavyweights Face-Off

Two giants of the game go head to head. If the fans are lucky they may get to watch a game of football too

Arsenal versus Manchester United. More eagerly awaited than Fury versus Joshua. More fun than watching Rebecca Vardy on ‘I’m a Celebrity’.  The saga of Wenger and Mourinho continues this Saturday. The one match of the weekend where there is likely to be more people tune in to watch the post-match interview with the managers than actually see the game itself. It could get emotional!

Scoring against Burnley is harder than a Bushtucker challenge

Jeremy Vardy loves only two things. Scoring goals and watching his wife drowning in a vat of rats. This weekend though he lines up against a Sean Dyche team that is proving exceedingly difficult to score against. Will Vardy’s pace and ability be able to break down a well-disciplined Burnley defence or will he be phoning up the I’m a Celebrity hotline 20 times an hour to cheer himself up?

Guardiola says it is not possible to score four goals every game. This week they play West Ham!

Probably, just when David Moyes thought it couldn’t get any worse for his beleaguered West Ham team, they come up against Manchester City. City have been playing amazing football all season and scoring a hatful of goals too. Somehow, we just can’t see West Ham stopping this trend. We are big fans of the former Everton and Manchester United manager here at EnergyBet but it will take a massive performance by the Hammers to do what all other teams have failed to do this season.

 

Want to know all the latest Premier League odds? Bet now with EnergyBet.

Please leave a message in the comment section below about any of this weekends matches, Premier League predictions or even to tell us who you voted for to take part in the Bushtucker challenge.

 

Can Liverpool Bounce Back After Midweek Collapse?

Klopp’s boys need mental toughness to upset the Champions

Jurgen Klopp insisted his Liverpool team showed great mentality in their 3-3 draw against Sevilla on Tuesday. The fans may be thinking differently though. Liverpool have an even bigger test to come at the weekend in the form of a Chelsea side who are flying. Liverpool have the home advantage, but it will be a tough test to try and break into the top four with victory over the current champions.

Expect the Cherries to be Too Sweet for Swansea

Eddie Howe has been performing miracles with his Bournemouth side, who currently stand at 13th in the league. A great result last week against Huddersfield saw them bang in four goals in front of their home fans. This week they take on Swansea at the Liberty stadium, but with Swansea having won only once in their last six home games expect Bournemouth to take all three points.

Sean Dyche’s Burnley Have Eyes on Fifth Spot

Burnley will be hoping that their incredible home record (third best in the Premier League) will give them the edge over Arsenal on Sunday. If they manage to achieve a result against the Gunners and Liverpool lose to Chelsea then Burnley will leap into fifth place, just one point behind Tottenham (assuming they beat West Brom). Should the unthinkable happen and West Brom beat Tottenham, then Burnley would go fourth. Of course, at the end of the day, this is all conjecture and hypothesis, but one thing is absolutely certain, and that is bet £20 on Burnley to win at home against Arsenal would get you a very impressive return of £118!

Check out all the latest odds for this weekend’s footie action here.

 

 

Premier League – Week 11

Saturday

Black Cats Catch a Break: Bournemouth 1 – 2 Sunderland

Something special happened for Sunderland on Saturday at Dean Court. Despite the Cherries getting in 22 shots and claiming 70% possession, they were defeated and the Black Cats got their first league win of the season. This despite being down to 10 men after Steven Pienaar was sent off in the 59th minute. Bournemouth had taken an early lead thanks to a goal from Gosling after 11 minutes, but Anichebe equalised in the 33rd and Defoe landed a penalty at the 74th minute. Moyes was over the moon, but Sunderland still need a miracle to salvage the season.

 

Burnley Break Some Crystal: Burnley 3 – 2 Crystal Palace

It was edge of your seat stuff at Turf Moor on Saturday as Burnley just snatched victory over Crystal Palace. Ashley Barnes, making only his second appearance of the season, got the winning goal in the 4th minute of injury time. Vokes had opened the scoring for Burnley in just the 2nd minute, with another following from Berg Gudmundsson in the 14th, whilst Palace had fought back with a goal from Wickham at the 60’ mark and a penalty from Benteke in the 81st minute. Burnley moved up to 9th and Palace dropped to 15th.

 

The Boro Thwart City: Man City 1 – 1 Middlesbrough

Pep Guardiola’s side were humiliated by Middlesbrough at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. The league leaders dropped to second in the table after the Boro managed to equalise at the very last minute thanks to de Roon. Agüero had put City in the lead at the 43’ mark, but a careless and sloppy performance, especially in the second half, and illustrated when De Bruyne missed an undefended net, gave the visitors the confidence to keep fighting to the last.

 

Potters Contain the Hammers: West Ham 1 – 1 Stoke

Visiting Stoke nearly claimed victory over the Hammers at London Stadium, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw. It was West Ham that took the lead first, with a goal from Whelan in 65th minute, but the Potters’Kirkic equalised in the 75th. The Potters nearly got their late win thanks to a free kick by Charlie Adam, but it wasn’t to be. Hammers manager Slaven Bilic showed some initiative with his inspired substitutions, but their goalkeeper, Adrian, was all over the place and scuppered their chances. Both sides moved up one place, West Ham to 16th and Stoke to 11th.

Chelsea Chews up the Toffees: Chelsea 5 – 0 Everton

Chelsea trounced Everton at Stamford Bridge, with 2 goals from Hazard, and 1 each from Alonso, Diego Costa and Pedro. An aggressive Chelsea made sure Everton didn’t get a chance to get in even a single on-target shot, and Antonio Conte’s men so out-classed the visitors that many of the Toffee’s fans were heading home well before the final whistle. Chelsea ended the day at the top of the league table and, armed with Eden Hazard, they seem like a formidable force.

Sunday

North London Deadlock: Arsenal 1 – 1 Tottenham

The north London derby at the Emirates Stadium ended in a draw, leaving Spurs as the only unbeaten team in the season. Despite Wenger’s men looking confident, and knowing that a win would put them at the top of the table, they just couldn’t break a strong Spurs defence, and their only chance of victory came courtesy of Spurs’ Wimmer, who scored an own goal in the 42nd minute. However, Kane got a penalty in the back of the net at the 51’ mark, putting an end to that hope.

 

Hope for Hull: Hull 2 – 1 Southampton

Hull City snatched victory from Southampton at the KC Stadium on Sunday. The Saints had taken an early lead after just 6 minutes thanks to an Austin penalty, but Snodgrass equalised almost an hour later at the 61st minute, and Dawson quickly followed suit, netting the winning goal just a couple of minutes later. Hull remain in the relegation zone, but their first Premier League win since August 20th will do much to boost the morale of Phelan’s side.

 

Reds Roast the Hornets: Liverpool 6 – 1 Watford

Klopp’s Reds stormed to the top of the league with a resounding victory over Watford at Anfield on Sunday. Watford looked totally outclassed as they struggled to find themselves under the Liverpool barrage. Liverpool’s goals came from Mané (2), Coutinho , Can, Firmino and Wijnaldum, with just a token reply from Watford’s Janmaat in the 75th minute. Perhaps Watford’s Walter Mazzarri should just be glad that the Reds didn’t make it a double-digit defeat.

 

United Sink the Swans: Swansea 1 – 3 Man Utd

Manchester United made easy work of a dejected Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. United were three up by half time thanks to one goal from Pogba and two from Ibrahimovic. Van der Hoorn salvaged some dignity for the home side with a goal in the 69th minute, but the Swans’ fans didn’t try to hide their disappointment. Jose Mourinho, still under a touchline ban and watching from the stands, must have been laughing inside as he heard the Swansea fans chant “we want our club back.”

The Baggies Punish the Foxes: Leicester 1 – 2 West Brom

West Bromwich beat current champions Leicester 2-1 at the King Power Stadium on Sunday. After an uneventful first half, the game kicked into gear with the Baggies’ Morrison opening the scoring in the 52nd minute, followed almost immediately by an equalizer for the Foxes from Slimani in the 55th. Phillips clinched the match in the 72nd, with his first goal of the season for West Brom, after capitalising on a glaring mistake by Foxe’s midfielder Danny Drinkwater. Leicester, still trying to find their inspiration, fell to 14th in the league table, while West Brom climbed to 11th.



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