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Having won the title in dramatic fashion last season, Manchester City now seek to retain the trophy. Al Hain-Cole expects their newly improved rivals to push them all the way

Although Manchester City's epic last-minute title triumph will take some beating, this season's title race is shaping up to be every bit as exciting as last year's.

The champions may feel that they have done the hardest part by breaking their long title hoodoo, but Roberto Mancini's men will have their work cut out for them if they are to retain their trophy in the face of strong challenges from some improved rivals.

The City boss has expressed his anger at the lack of activity in the transfer window, with only the arrival of Everton's Jack Rodwell strengthening his hand so far for the campaign ahead.

Nevertheless, the holders already boast a formidable team, and are clear 5/4 (2.25) favourites with Bet365 to retain their trophy this year.

Premier League winners - 2012-13

Odds courtesy of Bet365
Manchester City 5/4
Manchester United 9/4
Chelsea 9/2
Arsenal 11/1
Tottenham 25/1
Liverpool 28/1
This lack of recruitment is in stark contrast to Chelsea, who have made a string of exciting signings in a bid to improve on last season's disappointing sixth-place league finish.

With Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar enhancing new boss Roberto Di Matteo's attacking options, the Blues look in fine shape to mount a serious title challenge this season, and are available at odds of 9/2 (5.50) to bring home their first Premier League trophy since 2010.

Nobody will be more determined to wrestle the trophy away from the champions than their cross-town rivals Manchester United, as Sir Alex Ferguson must still be smarting from being pipped at the post so dramatically last season.

The addition of Shinji Kagawa should serve to ease the creative burden from the aging Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, and this could prove vital in the pursuit of title No.20.

Having gone so close to glory last year, Sir Alex will be confident of success this time out, and his side can be backed at 9/4 (3.25) to finish the season on top once again.

As usual, Arsenal's summer been dominated by talk of losing a key player, but Arsene Wenger's unusually bold recruitment has cushioned the blow of Robin van Persie's potential departure.

The skipper had previously expressed his disillusionment at the club's lack of progress, but the arrival of Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud could be enough to inspire a genuine Arsenal title challenge.

Should the Dutchman choose to remain a Gunner, then odds of 11/1 (12.00) could start to look rather tempting on a first Arsenal title in eight years.

It would be a major surprise if next year's trophy was lifted by any other than those four teams, but if you are expecting Andre Villas-Boas or Brendan Rodgers to revolutionise their new clubs than you can get odds of 25/1 (26.00) and 28/1 (29.00) on a Tottenham or Liverpool title respectively.

Newcastle shocked everyone by breaking into the top five last season, but it would take a shock of seismic proportions for the Magpies to be crowned champions, as the 150/1 (151.00) odds reflect.

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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