Palmerbet Sports Team assesses whether the recently-commenced EPL season has already formed into a two-way battle between Manchester City and Liverpool.
It’s not uncommon for fans and pundits to ‘go early’ with predictions in the Premier League. Early season form and a couple of dazzling displays from summer signings will win many admirers. Plenty, for instance, in the last 10 years have declared Arsenal as title winners early in the season. Anyone with even a mild interest in the world’s most popular league will know that those predictions did not come to fruition. The more shrewd watchers of the game will insist, year upon year, that ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint’. And they would be right, albeit sounding like grandad.
But after just one weekend of Premier League football in 2018/19, it’s happening again. Many fans have already seen enough to confirm their already-held views. And that is: This season’s title race is already down to two clubs.
First thoughts of the opening weekend of the season. All fairly predictable: Manchester City once again the team to beat. Liverpool will be the chief threat. VAR should’ve been introduced.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) August 13, 2018
Man City on a different level to the rest with maybe the exception to Liverpool. Two horse title race anyone?
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) August 12, 2018
Man City’s impressive win over Arsenal at the Emirates – without a squad of match-fit players according to manager Pep Guardiola – put down a marker for this season. Any doubts they couldn’t replicate last season’s incredible 100-point season (that admittedly, not many observers harboured) were put to bed in a classy dismantling of Unai Emery’s new side. “We have a lot of players with a lack of condition but we are more than two seasons together and know what to do,” Guardiola said. “We made a good performance in general and day by day we will get better and better.” Ominous signs for any rival.
Their win moved their already-short odds for the title in even further, from $1.72 into $1.60 with Palmerbet. And looking at their bench against Arsenal on the weekend, it’s easy to understand why other clubs are already scared. It included De Bruyne, Sane and Jesus, with David Silva still to return. One man who isn’t scared, but rather respectful, is the man tasked with overcoming them this season.
"I never wanted to have the best team. I have never been part of that myself, as a player or manager.What I'm interested in is beating the best. The best team today in England is Man City – that means all the others aren't. The aim is to beat City as often as possible." pic.twitter.com/KMOgkGmLeV
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) August 14, 2018
Klopp’s Liverpool side had an equally impressing first-up win on the weekend, smashing West Ham 4-0 and putting on an attacking masterclass. Like last season, the Reds are fast becoming the team everyone enjoys watching (although some fans won’t concede as much). Their win, too, saw them shorten in Palmerbet’s title market, from $4.50 into $4.25. And after Mo Salah netted against the Hammers, he moved swiftly from $6 to $4.50 in Palmerbet’s top goalscorer market – a bet we referenced in the pre-season.
Perhaps most interestingly in the ‘two-horse race’ narrative is the shift in odds on Manchester United. Jose Mourinho’s side kicked off their season with a 2-1 win over Leicester on Friday night (UK time) and showed some promising signs. But in comparison with the aforementioned pair, their style of football – like last season – failed to impress. Despite the win United has incredibly fallen from $9 to $15 to win the league this season with Palmerbet. It’s some drop after just one game, and a win at that. Whether that’s down to the sheer impressiveness of City and Liverpool’s wins, or Mourinho’s less flowing football, isn’t quite known. Although it iss likely to be a combination of the two. Certainly one United legend doesn’t think his club will cut it with the best this season:
Scholesy says United don't have the quality to challenge City, and potentially Liverpool.
Is he right?#MUFC
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) August 14, 2018
And the others…
With all the focus (for varying reason) on City, Liverpool and United, Chelsea and Spurs have somewhat gone under the radar. The Blues went about their business in clinical fashion on the weekend, dispatching Huddersfield 3-0. Under new manager Maurizio Sarri, there are good things coming out of Stamford Bridge. But they are still an outsider’s $17 chance to lift the PL trophy this season. Likewise, it’s been similarly quiet at White Hart Lane as Spurs didn’t feature in the transfer window (owing to a period of austerity to build their new stadium). Importantly, they held onto the vast majority of their squad from last season. And with one of the league’s best managers in Mauricio Pochettino, are they a dark horse at $19? It would appear not, but let’s not forget that Leicester won the league two years ago. Stranger things have happened…