The summer will shape who will go well and go down in the 2015/16 Premier League. William Hill's Lee Phelps is looking at the best soccer odds for the title & relegation for his free betting picks.
Just as soon as Chelsea lifted the Premier League trophy, thoughts turn to who will have their colours tied to it in May 2016. Similarly the joy of promotion for Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich is greeted with soccer odds on them going back to where they came from.
Premier League winners
Chelsea won the title by eight points, but would have been 11 with a proper display at West Brom in their penultimate match, demonstrating a clear gap between them and the chasing pack as well as the consistency required to be the champions. For all the ‘criticism’ of Jose Mourinho’s team, they have clearly been the best and I can’t see them falling back.
I would expect them to replace Didier Drogba with a quality centre forward to go alongside Diego Costa and Loic Remy, with Patrick Bamford unlikely to be at the level required. I also expect the Blues’ coach to be on the lookout for another world class midfielder and a centre back. John Terry has been superb this season, but he can’t sustain his levels forever.
I think Chelsea will at least emulate their 87 points, if not improve on it next season, so who can beat that? No team has finished on 90 points since Manchester United in 2008/09.
Manchester City have plenty of improvement in them. They lost twice at home this season, when you could normally expect them to go unbeaten at the Emirates, as well as losing five times away from home. Depending on what happens with the management and signings, I would expect them to be six to eight points better off with no World Cup exertions for their more senior players.
Arsenal are threatening to look like a title challenging team, but consistency is always their enemy. It comes down to the same old problem: Arsene Wenger’s inability to sign solid midfield and defensive players.
Manchester United are likely to be the biggest movers in the table next season, with money to spend and a manager who has had a season to get used to English football and the club itself. They finished on 70 points, so a 17 to 20 point improvement looks a big ask and at 6.0 (5/1) I don’t think the price is big enough.
I don’t see Chelsea dropping off too much, but if Man City strengthen and keep Sergio Aguero fit, I think 4.0 (3/1) on them to win the Premier League is the value bet here. There are no prices available yet, but I would take a Chelsea/Man City reverse forecast at the moment.
The three clubs who gained promotion are the three favourites to go back down with Watford at 1.57 and both Bournemouth and Norwich at 1.83. Since the start of the Premier League there have been 65 promotions from the Championship and of those 62 promotions, only 29 were relegated in their first season which is 45%, so which of the current Premier League sides will go down?
Obviously we can make arguments for a few, but I’m going for two clubs at decent prices. First up Newcastle. They have a management situation to sort out, John Carver isn’t the man for the job in my opinion. He is too close to it and too emotional, plus he managed a period of terrible results and only just got away with it in the end.
Any team who can go 10 matches and only pick up one point needs major investment to improve enough. I’m not convinced they will get that under the current regime. We all know the Newcastle fans don’t want the owner there and it’s only a matter of time before that boils over again. Newcastle are priced at 6.0 (5/1) to be relegated.
That’s a nice price, but I prefer West Ham at 8.0 (7/1). They have qualified for the Europa League through the fair play table and face their first fixture on July 2nd. Plus if they keep winning, they will have played six games before the Premier League even starts.
It may give them an early advantage, with match fitness before most others, but clubs consistently struggle to cope with the demands of the competition and the cut and thrust of the Premier League. Look at Hull City!
The other issue is that West Ham don’t have a manager. As I write this there are 35 days until that match and the players are on holiday. The new boss will have about three weeks to get to know his new squad. It’s a squad that has won just two matches in 17 games and will need some rebuilding.
Add to that the jury will be out on the likes of Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia, who started well, but drifted towards the end of the season. Will ‘second season syndrome’ affect them?
Soccer picks: If you only want one relegation soccer pick, West Ham is the one for me at 7.0 (6/1)