John Newsome‘s third batch of club previews features three clubs that are among the favourites to clinch the title. What bets does he advise?
Remember Leicester? 2015/2016 Premier League winners. What a year for the Foxes, however, it’s unlikely that feat will be repeated for a long, long time. Riyad Mahrez has finally got his dream move. The Algerian playmaker with a wand of a left foot has moved to current Champions Man City for a reported £60 Million. Manager Claude Puyol has the money to spend and has brought in Goalkeeper Danny Ward from Liverpool, Midfielder James Maddison from Norwich, Defender’s Ricardo Pereira from Porto and Jonny Evans from relegated West Brom. Jonny was a long time target for a number of clubs, but the Foxes have recruited the experienced Defender as a possible replacement for Harry Maguire. The ex-Sheffield United and Hull defender is a wanted man after a fine display for England at the World Cup in Russia, even scoring a brilliant header against Sweden in the Quarter-Final. Manchester United are reportedly in the process of making an £80 Million bid for Harry. The big defender has come on leaps and bounds since his early days in Sheffield. He reads the game well and is very comfortable in possession of the ball and comes out of the defence with confidence which, in modern football, is a real asset to any team. Leicester have let Robert Huth leave the club and Goalkeeper Ben Hamer has moved to Huddersfield. Ex-Liverpool Goalkeeper Danny Ward has been brought in and it’s a question as to whether Danny is at Leicester as replacement for Ben Hamer or if 1st choice goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is on his way out of the club. Chelsea are reportedly looking at Kasper if Thibaut Courtois leaves Stamford Bridge. Leicester start off the new season on a Friday night away at Manchester United, so Big Harry will be on show. It’s whether he will be wearing the red of United or the blue of Leicester. Bet 365 have the Foxes at 300/1 to win the Premier League (Remember Leicester) which is a lot less than the 5000/1 offered before the start of the 2015/16 season. Bet 365 are offering 25/1 for Leicester to win either the FA Cup or League Cup. A price to look at is the 14/1 Bet 365 have the Foxes to get relegated, which is not beyond the realms of possibility if they lose Maguire along with Riyad Mahrez.
Predicted Finish 8th.
Jurgen Klopp doesn’t agree with spending loads of money to try and win the league, that’s why he and Liverpool have only spent £170 Million on players, including £67 Million on a new goalkeeper. Ex-Roma and Brazil stopper Alisson has been drafted in by Mr Klopp to take over the number 1 jersey from Loris Karius and Simon MIgnolet. After high profile errors by Loris, Liverpool have forked out a World Record fee for a goalkeeper and surely now can challenge Man City for the Premier League title. Liverpool have never won the Premier League under its current guise as the Anfield club last won the League in 1990 when it was still Division 1. Fellow Brazillian Fabinho, a 24-year-old defender who can also play in midfield, signed for £43 Million from Monaco. Midfielder Naby Keita finally joins up with Liverpool after signing for the Reds last July but was allowed to stay with parent club RB Leipzig for another season and officially joined Liverpool on the 1st of July this year. Ex-Stoke and Switzerland star Xherdan Shaqiri joins Liverpool for close to £14 Million after an excellent World Cup in Russia. His performances at Stoke were a bit hit and miss but when he is on song, he can perform magic like that shown in his over-head kick in the recent friendly against Manchester United in America. With Virgil Van Dijk having the summer off due to Hollands failure to qualify for Russia 2018, he should be refreshed for the new campaign. His partnership with self-proclaimed World Class defender Dejan Lovran (his own words) should be formidable and with the Fab Three of Roberto Firminho, Sade Mane and Mo Salah up front, backed up by a rejuvenated Jordan Henderson, Liverpool could be title contenders at last. Emre Can has left Anfield for a fresh start and has joined Cristiano Ronaldo at Italian Champions Juventus. Adam Lallana will be like a new signing after his injury-hit season and James Milner will have a part to play in the long season where games come thick and fast. Liverpool kick-off the 2018/19 season at home to West Ham and Bet 365 have the Reds at 4/1 to win the Premier League and 6/1 to win either the FA Cup or League Cup. Liverpool got to the Champions League final last term and Bet 365 have them at 12/1 to win that particular competition. Mo Salah is 4/1 to repeat his goalscoring feats of last season and be the leading Premier League goalscorer.
Predicted Finish 1st.
Current Premier League Champions Man City have drafted in Leicester star Riyad Mahrez after courting the left-footed Algerian in January. City didn’t manage to get their man in that particular Transfer Window but now Riyad has got his dream move and should be an attractive addition for the City fans. Man City missed out on Napoli midfielder Jorginho, who chose to follow Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea. Apart from getting the Leicester man, Pep has been pretty quiet in this Transfer window which ends on the 9th of August and must be quite happy with his Champion winning squad. Which to be fair isn’t too bad. There are quite a few of the squad who played in the World Cup in Russia so it all depends as to whether the players come back fully fit and fully focused on the new season. John Stones had an excellent World Cup and will be wanting to show that form in the Premier League. City have been rumoured to be interested in Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic but are arguing over the transfer fee and are monitoring Southampton’s Gabonese midfielder Mario Lemina with a view to Mario being a replacement for want-away defender Oleksandr Zinchenko. Yaya Toure has finally left the Etihad after a very successful and lucrative time in Manchester and Goalkeeper Angus Gunn, son of former Norwich Goalkeeper Bryan Gunn, has left to join Southampton. Angus has an uncanny resemblance to David De Gea. Man City play Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley and then kick-off their Premier League defence against Arsenal in the final game of the opening weekend. Bet 365 have City at 4/6 to regain their Premier League title. To win a cup competition, Bet 365 have City at 4/1 to lift either the FA Cup or League cup and just 11/2 to win their maiden Champions League. Quite a good bet to get a return is the Even Money (1/1) Bet 365 give City to be Top of the Premier League table at Christmas.
Predicted Finish 2nd.
Manchester United have not had the best of pre-season preparations and Jose Mourinho looks miserable and as if he doesn’t want to be at Old Trafford. The Red Devil’s have brought in Brazillian midfielder Fred, Portuguese defender Diogo Dalot and a big surprise in ex-Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant. Lee, at 35, must be thrilled to be offered a chance to play at Old Trafford and has already pulled on the United jersey in the pre-season tour of America. Marouane Fellaini has decided to stay in Manchester and has signed a new 2-year deal, whilst Matteo Darmian is wanted by an Italian club, whether that be Inter, Juventus or Napoli. Jose is after England Centre Half Harry Maguire and a reported £80 Million is on the table in Leicester. However, Leicester don’t want to sell and are set to offer Big Harry £95,000-a-week. Surely Harry would want to join Manchester United if he had the chance and £95,000-a-week is nothing at United they would probably offer much more then that, so a deal should be made if United really want their man. Co-incidentally The Red Devil’s open their 2018/19 campaign against the Foxes in the first game of the opening Premier League weekend on Friday Night Football. Old Trafford Legend Michael Carrick, the best English midfielder of his generation has finally hung up his boots and Dutch left-back Daly Blind has left to join Ajax. Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone who was on loan at Aston Villa last season has departed Old Trafford in a permanent deal to West Bromwich Albion. Jose wants 1 more signing and Harry Maguire might just be that 1 if the 2 clubs can agree. Bet 365 have United as 3rd favourite’s to win the Premier League at 7/1 and 6/1 to win either the FA Cup or League Cup. Romelu Lukaku is 15/2 with Bet 365 to be the Premier League’s leading scorer. Maybe a bet to look at is whether Jose Mourinho will be at Old Trafford for the full season.
Predicted Finish 3rd.
Rafael Benitez has also been pretty quiet in this Transfer Window, only bringing in Slovakian Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, ex-Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung and re-signing Kenedy again on loan from Chelsea. Jamaal Lascelles is wanted by West Ham and the Magpies will do well to hang on to the talented ex-Nottingham Forest defender. Rafa is interested in West Brom Striker Salomon Rondon now that Serbian Aleksandar Mitrovic has finally left St James Park and made his loan move from last season to Fulham permanent. Spanish midfielder Mikel Merino has left for Real Sociedad, and French defender Massadio Haidara has returned to his homeland and signed for Lens. Newcastle entertain Tottenham on the opening weekend of this season’s Premier League and Bet 365 have them at 750/1 to lift the title (Remember Leicester). Newcastle don’t really compete in Cup competitions and Bet 365 reflect this in their prices of 50/1 to win the FA Cup and 40/1 to lift the League Cup. The 5/1 Bet 365 are offering for Newcastle to be relegated is worth looking at, given the precarious relationship Rafa Benitez has with owner Mike Ashley.
Predicted Finish 11th.
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