After a long two months, it’s time to start looking ahead to the new season and the one that we’re all waiting for – The Premier League. Pep Guardiola’s Man City are tasked with defending the title they won by just a single point last season, with a late comeback on the final day against West Ham. Will Liverpool be able to pip them to the title this year, or will another one of the Big 6 surprise us all. Let’s take a look at how the bookies rate the chances of each of the six to win the 2021/22 Premier League and discuss if any of them are capable of taking City’s crown.
If you want to check out my tips for the Premier League then go to my bets.
Manchester City @ 4/7
What a force Manchester City have been since their first Premier League triumph in 2012. City were crowned Champions for the fourth time in five years in May, and during that demi-decade of success have been averaging a staggering 91.6 points and 97 goals per season. In truth, we could be witnessing the tightest stranglehold ever placed on the domestic game in England and Pep Guardiola’s white-knuckle clench doesn’t look like loosening anytime soon.
So how do you improve a team so close to perfect and aim to reinstate the gap to Liverpool? Go out and sign football’s hottest property in Erling Braut Haaland. City may have notched 99 goals in the 2021/22 season without a recognised centre-forward, but they were always calling out for that natural finisher.
21-year-old Haaland scored an eye-watering 86 times in 89 appearances for a Borussia Dortmund team that blew hot and cold and the prospect of the Norwegian being supplied with chances by Kevin de Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish is a frightening proposition. It could take Haaland a little time to really hit his stride, but once he inevitably adjusts, it’s going to rain goals in Manchester.
While it would be misguided to label the 2022/23 Premier League title hunt a one-horse race, City already look a few lengths clear of their closest antagonists and they are odds-on favourites to gallop away with silverware again.
Liverpool @ 11/5
City’s closest rivals Liverpool have been doing their utmost to keep pace, and came desperately close to the title last season – 1 point behind and self-proclaimed Champions until a great Manchester City fightback on the final day. Their manoeuvre to land Darwin Nunez in a deal that could cost up to £85m felt like a desperate haymaker thrown by a beaten fighter about to hit the canvas. Indeed, the exit of Sadio Mane, who scored in each of the last
four meetings between the Reds and City, feels more pertinent.
The Klopp era has been a stunning turnaround from a time where Liverpool were sinking out of title contention. Now, we have had a fierce battle between two fantastic coaches and tacticians in Klopp and Guardiola year-on-year, but the latter still holds all the aces in the league. Only once has the Reds manager knocked down the Spanish coach, and he got back up and won the next two seasons. However, any slip up in City form and I’m sure Liverpool will be the first to knock them down to second place.
Chelsea @ 13/1
The best of the rest is headed up by Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side, who managed to finish 3rd last season.
It has been a whirlwind summer at Stamford Bridge. Russian billionaire and the financier of Chelsea’s recent successes, Roman Abramovich is gone and Chelsea’s new owners have not had much time to get up to speed since completing their £4.25bn takeover.
Yet the situation is far from disastrous. The recruitment overseen by Todd Boehly, the club’s new co-owner and interim sporting director, has been encouraging and there has been no sign of Chelsea curbing their spending. Raheem Sterling, who should make Thomas Tuchel’s attack far more incisive, is a solid buy, and Kalidou Koulibably is an important signing in defence following the departures of Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen.
A big question mark in Chelsea’s season is still their attack and their search for goals. Chelsea managed a modest total of 76 goals last season, but this is a shadow of the 99 and 94 that the top two scored. Romelu Lukaku, after a disastrous £100m return to Stamford Bridge, has found the headlines for the wrong reasons and headed back to Inter. This leaves Chelsea with a gaping hole in their strike-force that I fear Sterling cannot fill. Although Man City have found so much success without a centre-forward, I don’t think the Blues have the strength in midfield to push into the top two.
Tottenham @ 14/1
Next in line we have Antonio Conte’s Tottenham. Their 2021/22 season was littered with inconsistency, and were looking at missing out on the Champions League places before the collapse and 3-0 routing of their North London rivals. If Kane and Son can continue their form and combination, Spurs will be a force to be scared of. The two have now combined for a record 37 goals in the Premier League, surpassing that of Didier Drogba & Frank Lampard (36), Sergio Aguero & David Silva (29), and Thierry Henry & Robert Pires (29).
Other than the Kane and Son duo, Tottenham have improved elsewhere with their recruitment team having a busy summer. Everton’s top scorer, Richarlison, came in for £60m yet I fail to see where he places in this team. This side of North London will also be welcoming Yves Bissouma, Djed Spence, Clement Lenglet and Ivan Perisic who all seem like great defensive additions to the team. If they can get up to speeds with Cristian Romero, who had a sensational season last time out, teams will find it hard to get past the famous Conte roadblock. If the videos of Conte’s sickening training sessions are a preview of what’s to come, we can expect a well-drilled, high-energy team this season.
Manchester United @ 25/1
Where to start with United? They will be desperate to get back to their best under new manager Erik Ten Hag in the 2022/23 Premier League season. The Red Devils endured a forgetful campaign last time around with two separate managers failing to steady the ship in Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and Ralf Rangnick. The team also failed to qualify for the Champions League. The onus is now on the highly rated boss to deliver something special with a squad laden with issues all over the pitch and definitely low on morale.
United have brought in three signings; left-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord, centre-back Lisandro Martinez from Ajax and former Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen. On the other hand, a host of players departed the club running down their contract – Paul Pogba (Juventus), Jesse Lingard (Nottingham Forest), Nemanja Matic (Roma), Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani (without a club).
Not to mention, tensions have risen with top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo as the Portuguese is rumoured to want to leave the club due to it’s lack of Champions League football. Missing from their pre-season tour, the situation on his future is a hinder to any plans for the club and obviously the season starting next month. Without him, full faith appears to be in Antony Martial’s resurgence, and despite having a great pre-season I don’t see him as a Premier League goal-scorer.
Arsenal @ 33/1
The Gunners go into this season as the least favourite of the Big 6 to go on and snatch the Premier League trophy from Pep’s hands. The Gunners put themselves in a great position to end their five-year wait for Champions League football, but a strong end to the season from Tottenham and a 3-0 win saw them overhaul their great rivals.
As a result, Arsenal have gone big in the transfer market as they seek to prove they can still mix it with those at the top. In a bid to break into the top 4, Arsenal have brought in 5 signings including Manchester City pair Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Porto midfielder Fabio Vieira. Jesus’ pre-season has been something to look out for; scoring 7 times in 5 appearances, including a hattrick against Sevilla and two against Chelsea. Also, the return of Ligue 1’s young player of the season William Saliba from his loan to Marseille will be a welcome addition at the back.
Although he has his critics, Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal side have improved year-on-year since he took over from Unai Emery and Arsene Wenger. The side he inherited was poor to say the least, but he has overhauled the squad with a young and talented side capable of winning trophies. I think they are still well off the title race, but I could see them finally getting Champions League football next season.