As English football digests the aftermath of a fascinating weekend in which the women achieved international glory and the men raised the curtain on the domestic season, the bookmakers have pretty much set their definitive ante-post odds on this year’s Premier League. There’s no shock as to the identity of the favourite: Manchester City have won four of the last five editions of the league and are 4/7 with most bookmakers to retain it. Liverpool sit behind at 9/4 and are considered the only credible threat to the holders. Perhaps one of the biggest shocks is the identity of the third favourites. Tottenham are 14/1, ahead of Chelsea (16/1) in the odds.
It makes sense that the top two are as they are. Even in the aftermath of a comfortable win for Liverpool in the Community Shield, City have earned the right to be considered ahead of the pack with their half-decade of dominance. Tottenham’s inclusion as the best of the rest may shock some, however, given their historic difficulty in maintaining a consistent level of performance across a season. The arrival of Everton forward Richarlison to add to their dynamic duo of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min may featute into a lot of bookmakers’ thinking here, as will the acquisition of Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma.
Chelsea’s presence in fourth spot can largely be attributed to the fact that they have only recently concluded the deal whereby Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich ceded control of the club to an American-fronted consortium. This move did not happen in time for the Blues to retain key defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, and despite the new owners securing the talents of Raheem Sterling up front and Kalidou Koulibaly at the back, this may be a consolidation season for the 2015 champions.
If the bookmakers are right, those will be the four teams who qualify for the Champions League. Behind them there may be more controversy: Manchester United are fifth (28/1) in the betting, well ahead of Arsenal (40/1. One of these sides has been building cohesively for two seasons, and added needed pieces in the summer. The other one is Manchester United. With the issue of Cristiano Ronaldo’s future employment still far from settled, bright new coach Erik ten Hag may have his work cut out to make up the eleven points that separated his side from the Gunners in 2022/23. That’s despite the arrival of Christian Eriksen from Brentford.
Speaking of Brentford, the departure of Eriksen sees them among the sides tipped for an uneasy season at the bottom of the table. Newly-promoted Fulham are favourites to be relegated, as per club tradition in a season ending in an odd number. Bournemouth, who came up alongside the Cottagers, are also fancied for a short stay while Nottingham Forest, back in the top flight for the first time since the turn of the century, are considered a dark horse to do better than expected.