This should be one of the most interesting English Premier League seasons in recent memory for several reasons. There have been several managerial changes since last season and the league will finally introduce goal line technology to all 20 stadiums. Sir Alex Ferguson got the managerial ball rolling when he retired at the end of last season after 1500 matches in charge of Manchester United. He was replaced by David Moyes of Everton, who in return was replaced by Roberto Martinez of Wigan.
Another Roberto, Mancini of Manchester City, left his post and it was taken over by Manuel Pellegrini of Chile. In addition, Tony Pulis left Stoke City and Mark Hughes has taken over for him. And of course, let’s not forget that Jose Mourinho is back at Chelsea after the Portuguese manager packed in his job with Spanish giants Real Madrid. He takes over from Rafael Benitez.
Best Bets / Predictions
These are our bets for this season, we’ve been trying to find some decent ones for both low and high odds, depending on how much you want to risk. The odds are taken from PaddyPower sportsbook, one of my favorite betting sites for football.
1. 1. Chelsea 2. Man City (Straight Forecast) – 6.50 / 11/2 – These two teams look likely to battle it out for the league win, and we believe Mourinho will guide the Blues to another victory.
2. Edin Dzeko as Top Goalscorer 34.00 / 33/1 – This is a gamble but we thought the odds were really good. Man City will most likely be one of the most attacking teams in the league, and has amazing options up front. Dzeko seems to be an improved player under Pellegrini and has looked good so far in the pre-season friendlies.
Man United to be a mediocre team?
Man United has been rather mediocre in their preseason games under Moyes, and the new manager hasn’t made any major signings since taking over the club even though he tried to land Cesc Fabregas and Marouane Fellaini. In fact, he could end up losing one of his top stars as English international striker Wayne Rooney is anxious to leave Old Trafford. Defending the title will be quite difficult for the team this season especially after Man City, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool have all strengthened their squads.
Pellegrini has added some depth to Man City, but he’s also lost one of their top strikers in Carlos Tevez, who high tailed it over to Italy. Pellegrini signed Stevan Jovetic, Fernandinho, Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo in the transfer window and it looks like Jovetic will join Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero as the team’s top attackers. Man City should be a better side than last season, but still might not be good enough to take the title.
The biggest challenge to United and City appears to be Chelsea with Mourinho back at the helm. Mourinho has already signed some decent players and has made a couple of bids for Rooney. In addition, young Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku has returned to the side after spending a season at West Bromwich Albion on loan. Mourinho signed Australian international goalkeeper from Fulham in the transfer window and has also added Andre Schurrle and Mario van Ginkel.
Arsenal hasn’t won a title since the 2003/04 season and haven’t won any type of silverware since 2005. It’s unlikely that will change this year since manager Arsene Wenger has sat on his hands during the transfer window. His only move so far has been to sign young French forward Yaya Sanogo. Wenger is trying to pry Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez away from Liverpool, but it hasn’t happened yet. If Suarez shows up at the Emirates it will boos Arsenal’s chances, but they will likely have to settle for a finish in the top-four again and a spot in next season’s European Champions League.
Tottenham Hotspur has already lost forward Clint Dempsey as he returned to MLS in America to play with the Seattle Sounders. The squad could also end up losing their best player in Welsh international Gareth Bale. He could end up being sold to Real Madrid for a world record fee. However, Spurs made some additions in the transfer window by signing Spanish international striker Roberto Soldado along with Brazilian midfielder Paulinho.
Liverpool should challenge for at least a spot in the Champions League and a fourth-place finish as manager Brendan Rodgers signed Iago Aspas, Kolo Toure, Luis Alberto and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet during the summer. They also have English international striker Daniel Sturridge for the entire season and have sent keeper Pepe Reina out on loan for the year. Of course, they could be hurt drastically if Luis Suarez is dealt away, especially to rivals Arsenal.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup already had a good squad and has added striker Wilfried Bony to the squad. Bony was the player of the year in Holland last season and will help Spanish forward Michu up front. The Welsh team should be able to challenge for a spot in the top eight.
The rest of the clubs are quite mediocre, such as Sunderland, Stoke, Southampton, Newcastle, West Ham, Everton, Norwich, Aston Villa, West Brom, and Fulham. But of course there has to be three of them that are even less than mediocre and these three will be relegated. The newly-promoted teams are Cardiff City, Hull City and Crystal Palace and there’s a good chance that all three of them will be sent packing back down to the Championship league at the end of the 2013/14 campaign.
Most clubs have made moves in the transfer window this summer, but the major ones are listed above as they were made by Man City, Liverpool, Spurs, and Chelsea. There could still be some more big player moves ahead before the season kicks off on Aug. 17. Since the transfer window doesn’t close until the season has been underway for two weeks it’s a good idea to make your wagers when it has officially closed.
According to most bookmakers Chelsea and Man City are favourites to win the league at 9/4 followed by Man United at 5/2, Arsenal at 10/1, Liverpool at 25/1, Tottenham at 33/1, Everton at 500/1, Newcastle at 1500/1, Aston Villa, Southampton, West Brom and West Ham at 2000/1, Swansea at 2500/1, Fulham and Sunderland at 3000/1, Stoke at 4000/1, Cardiff and Norwich at 5000/1, Hull at 7500/1 and Crystal Palace at 10000/1.
As far as the Golden Boot winner is concerned, the top bets among the bookmakers look to be Robin Van Persie of Man United at 7/2, Sergio Aguero of Man City at 8/1, Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool, Luis Suarez of Liverpool, Wayne Rooney for Man United and Gareth Bale of Tottenham at 16/1, Christian Benteke of Aston Villa at 18/1, Fernando Torres of Chelsea at 20/1, Roberto Soldado of Spurs at 22/1 and Alvarao Negredo of Man City and Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea at 25/1.