Preview of Premier League Season

The Premier League is back this weekend and the World Cup and the early close of the transfer window only add to the intrigue heading into what is likely to be another frantic and fantastic season.

With new managers, new players and in Tottenham’s case, a new stadium, there promises to be excitement galore from the off.

Super City can do it again

After a mixed first year under Pep Guardiola, Manchester City were simply too good for the competition last term. Their record points tally of 100 was enough to give them a 19-point advantage over second place Manchester United.

It has been a quiet summer really for the Citizens, with Riyad Mahrez the big coup and the further depth he will provide perhaps points to a switch of focus to the Champions League. 1.71 for the title outright shows their superiority and few would be surprised if they do not hoist the trophy aloft on May 12.

Is it finally Liverpool’s year?

There could, however, be a snag in City’s plan, with Liverpool now well back in contention after reaching the Champions League last term and their transfer business has been hugely impressive.

Owners FSG have shown they are not afraid to go big early in the market and having already agreed a deal to sign Naby Keita last year, Fabinho looks a real coup, while Xherdan Shaqiri adds depth. Alisson is the big arrival though and will put any lingering goalkeeping doubts to bed.

They are 4.75 to win their first league title since 1990, while they are the 2.25 favourites in the betting without City.

Manchester United’s summer has been dominated by Jose Mourinho’s repeated outbursts. To be fair, the Portuguese has been without much of his squad in pre-season due to their World Cup commitments and his ire has been further raised by a lack of incomings.

There is a feeling things are bubbling under at Old Trafford and the infamous third-season syndrome may well be about to strike for the 55-year-old.

That could open the door for his former club Chelsea. Cesar Azpilicueta has suggested it may take them time to adapt to Maurizio Sarri’s tactics but the football his Napoli side played suggests he could be something special.

With teething problems inevitable, maybe going big on a top four finish at 1.66 might be worth a look, while the same could be said for Tottenham at 1.74 in the same market.

Spurs look like they could produce more of the same, with their hopes set to hinge on Harry Kane’s fitness, while the value bet in this market is Arsenal at 3.00. Unai Emery is another new man in the dugout and with a history of balancing domestic matters and the Europa League, combined with some canny recruitment, they look to a decent price.

Super Salah to continue form

Kane is the favourite for the Golden Boot at 3.30 and as a two-time winner, clearly knows where the goal is. He also took the gong at this summer’s World Cup and his tally of 30 strikes would usually have been good enough for him to make it a hat-trick last time around.

The prized belonged to Mohamed Salah though and injury meant he had a contrasting experience to Kane in Russia. Following an underwhelming spell at Chelsea, Salah was superb for Liverpool in 2017-18.

In an improving team, he looks the man to beat at 6.00, with Klopp’s exciting style perfectly suited to the 26-year-old. His 32 goals will be tough to match this season but with so much creativity around him, the former Roma man will not be short on chances.

Romelu Lukaku also had a fine season last term, scoring 16 times in the Premier League and will need to fire again at 8.50 if the Red Devils are to get anything in what is likely to be a real battle at the top.

Tenacity might not be enough for the Terriers

Of course, if you look at the top it is only fair that you assess the bottom and one team that could be set to struggle are Huddersfield.

The Terriers impressed with their battling play last term and have again added heavily, but there are doubts over some of those arrivals.

An underpowered Cardiff are inevitably the favourites for the drop at 1.66 but David Wagner’s men are 2.10 and look the most likely out of themselves, Newcastle and Brighton of the teams that came up in 2016-17 to suffer from second-season syndrome.

Speaking of the promoted sides and Wolves and Fulham could cause a surprise, despite the Cottagers being 2.70 to go down.

Wolves will certainly be looking up rather than down and are 1.90 to finish in the top 10 and at 10.00 could be a huge surprise package to finish sixth or better in the Premier League.

Bournemouth are due a bad season, with their steady ascent appearing to have peaked in finishing in the top half in 2016-17. Eddie Howe is undoubtedly a great coach but their squad again looks short in key areas and some of those who have been part of their amazing journey have started to fall somewhat off the pace.

Silva set for Goodison gauntlet

Another team who may also struggle, but not to the same degree, are Everton who are hoping to reboot under Marco Silva.

The Portuguese has a point to prove after promising yet ultimately unfruitful spells at Hull and Watford, with his time at the Hornets disrupted by interest from the Toffees.

Everton got their man in May but there are still question marks over him and he takes over a team who struggled under the weight of expectation last term.

He has made some decent signings but the Toffees’ squad still looks a bit unbalanced in certain areas and Silva also has to inject some belief into his dressing room.

Time will tell how the Portuguese deals with his job at Goodison but both he and his players have plenty to prove over the coming campaign.