138.com Analysis: English Premier League Top Four Half Term Report

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We are now two months into the new Premier League season and already it’s starting to take shape

After a summer of changes, which saw Maurizio Sarri take over from Antonio Conte at Chelsea and Arsenal stalwart Arsene Wenger make way for Unai Emery, the usual frontrunners are (mostly) once again setting the pace.

There’s no doubt that Wenger’s departure after 22 years as Arsenal coach left a huge gap. The club turned to PSG coach Emery and, after taking a few weeks to settle in and get the squad playing a more modern, passing style, things are starting to gel for the Gunners. Despite losing to Chelsea and Man City in August, they’ve since gone on a winning streak that has lifted them up to fourth in the table. They remain an outside bet for the title but look like they will be back in the Champions League next season if they continue their good form. They were 26.00 outsiders to win the Premier League and have drifted even further to 40.00 with some bookmakers. At that price they are worth bet to win the league.

Sarri’s appointment at Chelsea was a safer bet. The former Napoli coach was brought in after the club had a disappointing season under Conte last term, finishing fifth and failing to qualify for the Champions League. The Italian’s more attacking style of football is suiting Eden Hazard, who has been in sparkling form so far and could be in line for Player of the Season. Sitting in second place at this time, the Blues are looking strong and will, without doubt, be battling for the title in May. They were a 21.00 long shot for the Premier League title when it kicked off but are already right in to a more realistic 9.00.

For Liverpool it’s been a change between the sticks. Jurgen Klopp replaced the butter-fingered Loris Karius with Roma’s Brazilian stopper Alisson Becker for a staggering £66.8m. He proved his worth immediately as Liverpool went on a six-game winning streak in the Premier League, including four clean sheets. Unfortunately for Klopp, his forwards have started the season slowly. Mo Salah appears to be struggling for form with the world’s press focussed on his every move and is still strapped up from the injury picked up in last season’s Champions League final. If Liverpool are to step up and challenge for the Premier League title, then the front three need to start clicking into gear quickly. Back in August Liverpool were 5.00 second favourites for the Premier League title. They’ve shortened considerably to 3.25 now and will be even less value when Salah starts scoring again.

Manchester City are, by and large, unchanged from the record-breaking team of last season. 100 points and 106 goals was an impressive feat and they look like they could repeat that this time around. For any other team to have a chance of winning the title, Pep Guardiola’s men are going to have to slip up and right now that’s looking unlikely, as they sit atop the table once again. So far, they have scored the most goals and conceded the fewest and still don’t look like they’ve hit top gear yet. City started the season as 1.70 favourites for the Premier League title and have shortened slightly to 1.67. If you’re going to back them to win then don’t be waiting for those odds to drift as it’s unlikely to happen. City are going to be the team to beat this season.

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