LAST season Man City launched the Premier League campaign with five wins and most people handed them the title – except Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri who had other ideas.
It’s been a repeat a year on – the difference is Pep Guardiola is in charge and Ranieri’s concentrating on the Champions League!
City are odds on for the title and it’s difficult to see how they can be stopped. In fact being backed is Pep’s side to win the title by 19 points at 20-1 to beat the record of 18 held by Man Utd.
That’s a heck of a long shot but Leicester won by 10 points last season …
Bookies fear the worst and bet365’s Steve Freeth “We’re trying to keep the outright market competitive before September is out – a worrying sign for City’s title rivals!
“We’re seeing money for the win by 19 points or more bet and there is interest in City at 100-1 to go through the league season unbeaten. We’re feeling a bit twitchy earlier than normal as far as Manchester City are concerned.”
The professionalism under Guardiola is highlighted by the fact the City squad are enjoying four nights of luxury at Celtic Manor. Instead of travelling home from Swansea after Wednesday’s EFL Cup tie they stayed in Wales because they’re back at the Liberty Stadium today.
I wonder if Guardiola allowed his stars to experience the 2010 Ryder Cup venue – apparently Sergio Aguero is a golf nut.
However, he will be probably more concerned about trying to score his first goal in Wales than shooting birdies.
He’s drawn a blank on four visits to Swansea and one to Cardiff but will be raring to go after serving a three-match domestic ban.
Aguero bagged a hat-trick in his last outing against Borussia Monchengladbach and I’m backing him to break his Welsh jinx.
City rested several stars for their 2-1 win at the Liberty on Wednesday and should repeat the success to make it six wins from six.
Liverpool have bounced back well from losing to Burnley and it’s five wins a row and 15 goals. They’ve played just once at home this season because of work on the stadium and that resulted in a 4-1 defeat of champions.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were superb in spells at Chelsea last week but are just 1-4 at William Hill to beat Hull. Klopp’s legacy has been beating the top sides and slipping up to outfits such as Burnley.
He’s told players to treat today’s match like a big European night and I reckon they’ll win convincingly so back them -1 at 8-13 with Ladbrokes.
Man United ended a run of three defeats by beating Northampton in the EFL Cup but it was by no means convincing.
Leicester are the lunchtime visitors and if they play like they did last season must have a chance of piling on the misery for Jose Mourinho.
Everton will bring back Romelu Lukaku for their trip to Bournemouth and he is 7-5 to score. Both sides lost at home to Championship outfits in midweek but both fielded weakened teams. It’s a tough match to call but there should be goals and I’ll be backing over 2.5 at 10-11 with William Hill.
Sunderland were handed a boost with their EFL Cup win at QPR but I’m on Crystal Palace at 31-20 with Coral. Palace have collected seven points from their last three while Davie Moyes’s home side have one point from 15.
The big teatime game is Arsenal v Chelsea and while both teams have been in good scoring form this traditionally is a low scorer with six of the last seven at the Emirates going under 2.5 goals. A repeat pays 11-10 at Paddy Power.
Picking a winner isn’t easy but the Gunners have a dreadful recent record against Chelsea so I don’t expect the Blues to lose – and if they do boss Antonio Conte could be feeling the heat already.
Bets to Consider
Aguero to score first
Man City & over 2.5 goals
Leicester not to lose
Bournemouth v Everton over 2.5 goals
Lukaku to score
Arsenal v Chelsea under 2.5 goals