Premier League 2018/19
Who will win the league this year?
The odds on the next Premier Winner are pretty clear. Manchester City is odds on to retain the title, the first time this will have been done since Manchester United did it in the 2008 and 2009 seasons. You can’t find any better odds than 4/6 at the start of the season. Their closest challengers are Liverpool, who strengthened noticeably during the early part of the off-season.
After that it starts going down quickly in the odds table. Manchester United did strengthen themselves with, amongst others, Fred, but Mourinho is talking down their prospects. Chelsea did change manager, and moved a few things around, losing Thibaut Courteois to Real Madrid late on. Tottenham are perpetually bleeding some of their best players, and they have not strengthened at all, and Arsenal is starting a new chapter, without Arsene Wenger, and some significant changes in the team. This could be their rebuilding year
Or will an outsider take it this year? Another Leicester City type win? Unlikely
We’re in week 3 of the Premier League. So far, we have 6 teams with maximum points, and 4 teams with no points at all from their first 2 matches. It’s been a troubling week for Jose Mourinho so far, as speculation about his relationship with Manchester United’s chairman continues. He is obviously not in a great mood, as his last press conference before this weekend only lasted just over 4 minutes, during which time he would barely answer any questions.
So, what’s in store for the weekend? It all kicks off at 12:30 when Wolves take on Manchester City. The hosts were tipped to do well this year after their promotion from the Championship last season, but beating City would be a big surprise. Guardiola‘s team will be without Kevin de Bruyne, but he has so much class on the bench that it will be a miracle if Wolves take the win. They are 2/7 for the win.
We have a London derby between two of the teams on no points in Arsenal playing host to West Ham. Despite failing to win any of their first two league games this season, Arsenal will be aiming to win this Saturday against the Hammers at the Emirates Stadium. The Hammers conversely will likely be low on confidence, and it is no wonder that the Gunners are 4/11 for the win.
The Saturday fixtures finish when Liverpool play Brighton at home. Based on the first two matches, Liverpool look like the team most likely to challenge Man City for the title. They are the only team not to have conceded a goal yet, making the win to nil market at 10/11 a good shout for a bet.
There are also three matches on Sunday, with the Newcastle v Chelsea match as the last kick-off the pick of the bunch. Newcastle have yet to win, just scraping through with a single draw, against Cardiff last weekend, so they will be desperate for a point. They face a Chelsea team that oozes confidence however under new manager Sarri. They score plenty of goals and look solid all over the pitch. They are 8/11 for the win.
The big match of week three will be played on Monday night when Manchester United host Tottenham Hostpur. The reds lost last week in dire circumstances against Brighton. Spurs on the other hand are unbeaten and they will be looking to continue their challenge at the top. Harry Kane has scored for the first time ever during August in the Premier League so he may have the extra confidence to keep going. Man United are slight favourites with the bookies as the home team at 8/5. Spurs are 21/10 for the win.
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The transfer window may be closed for the English leagues, but the European window is open all the way to the end of this month. This does mean there could be a lot of one-way traffic of players leaving English clubs going abroad. Here is our selection of the best snippets of gossip:
Paris St-Germain are rumoured to be preparing a £100m bid for Tottenham's 26-year-old Denmark playmaker Christian Eriksen, as well as another Tottenham player - England left- back Danny Rose. Spurs are willing to sell the 28-year-old this month, but will want to hold on to their Eriksen.
German club Schalke are interested in signing 22-year-old England midfielder Ruben Loftus- Cheek on loan from Chelsea, but they are unlikely to sanction his departure. The player has said publicly that he is determined to fight for a starting place in Chelsea's starting line-up.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has still not ruled out a move for Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba, and says "there's still time to do business" in the summer transfer window. They do have the money to go for him. The rumours about the poor relationshiop between the player and manager Mourinho keep rumbling on, with the manager saying he was confused by Paul Pogba's suggestion of poor relations between the pair on Friday.
French team Marseille are considering a move for Arsenal's 26-year-old Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny, who signed a new four-year contract in March.
The transfer season is over, at least for getting players into the squad, and the Premier League has spent £1.2b billion pounds during the transfer window. Teams like Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal did their dealings early on, whilst Chelsea and Manchester United in particular left it very late, and too late for Mourinho, who did not get any of the 3 players he tried to sign on the last day.
So what can we expect this weekend? We looked at a few key questions.
Can Leicester City make Jose Mourinho even more miserable than he already is? He wanted Leicester defender Harry McGuire, but didn’t get him. Then he wanted others, and he didn’t get them either. He is constantly arguing with Pogba, talks his team down as not being good enough for anything, so will his players go all the way to get a result? If Leicester win the mood will darken even more. Will Mourinho last past November?
The new signings will be on show for the first time, with several players playing their first ever Premier League match, such as Iranian Alireza Jahanbakhsh for Brighton, and the two most expensive goalkeepers in the world: Chelsea’s Arrizabalanga and Liverpool’s Alisson. How will they get on?
The players who played the World Cup may not be ready yet, having been holidaying after the tournament, and in most cases only started training a few weeks ago. And what about the likes of Kane, McGuire, Alli, Stones and the rest? Will they have switched their minds back to the league after the summer high? Between them Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United had 34 players at the tournament.
How good are the new teams? Wolves swept all before them in the Championship last season and they have added good new players to the squad. They are 7th favourites to win the league at 250/1. That may be a bit far-fetched, but a top half placing at the end of the season may be possible. Fulham have spent £105 million to strengthen their squad, so they are expected to do well. For Cardiff City, under Neil Warnock, it maybe looks more difficult, but they will fight all the way.
The pick of the weekend is certainly the Arsenal against Manchester City fixture. It looks too early for a reshaped Arsenal to beat Man City, who retained their strong team from last season and just added more. But the Arsenal fans will expect it all for sure.
It is getting nearer to the transfer deadline, brought forward this year by 3 weeks, finishing this Thursday. So the action will really hot up over the next few days.
Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and has told manager Maurizio Sarri that he wants to leave the club. The Chelsea manager said he did not want any player who wanted to leave so it looks like this one may go ahead.
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba may be on the move, as his in England for talks at the Old Trafford club, with Barcelona and Juventus keen to sign the France international. His relationship with Mourinho has never been great, and it must have pained the Portuguese to see the French midfielder play so well, and working hard, at the World Cup.
Premier League newcomers Wolves have agreed a fee with Championship side Middlesbrough for 22-year-old winger Adama Traore, a raw but exciting talent.
Everton have reached an agreement with Barcelona to sign Colombia defender Yerry Mina for £28.5m on a five-year deal.
Everton have told Manchester United they will take England centre-back Chris Smalling or Sweden defender Victor Lindelof if the two clubs cannot agree a deal for Argentina defender Marcos Rojo.
Manchester United in turn are preparing to make a bid for Leicester centre-back Harry Maguire and know they will have to pay a world record fee for the England international. Rumours of £60 million and more are banded about.
The Reds are also rumoured to have made contact with Bayern Munich to sign Germany defender Jerome Boateng, who is valued at £44.5m, and unhappy where he is.
Chelsea are favourites to sign £75m-rated Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast winger Wilfried Zaha after Tottenham pulled out.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is interested in Celta Vigo midfielder Stanislav Lobotka, who has a £31m release clause in his contract.
We’ll stay on top of the hottest transfers and tips.
Man down? Paul Pogba’s future at Manchester United is in doubt as Juventus weigh up a bid to lure him back. His agent has also informed Barcelona he’s unhappy. The £89m signing has reportedly clashed with Jose Mourinho throughout last season, and would dearly love to leave. He showed his class in the World Cup, wining it with France, which has upped the interest in him. He seemed to work harder, and play better, than during most of his matches at United, showing he has the quality to make a difference. Much will depend on how much another club will be willing to pay with Manchester United unlikely to want to sell the player at a loss.
New Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos said he was joining "one of the three biggest teams in the Premier League" as he joined the club from Borussia Dortmund. The Greece international, 30, joined for an undisclosed fee for what the Gunners describe as a "long-term" deal. Prior to making 186 appearances for Dortmund he played for Werder Bremen, Genoa and AC Milan.
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has signed a new five-year contract with the club. The 26-year-old Egypt international joined the Reds for £34m from Roma last summer and has scored 44 goals in 52 appearances for the club. His new deal, which runs until 2023, does not contain a release clause.
Manchester United are close to signing goalkeeper Lee Grant for about £1.5m from Championship side Stoke City.
Watford have signed defender Adam Masina from Serie A side Bologna for a reported £3.5m. The 24-year-old left back has agreed a five-year deal at the Premier League side, who finished 14th in the league last season. The Morocco-born player is a former Italy Under-21 international and has played 131 times for Bologna.
Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini has thanked Jose Mourinho for his "faith" after signing a new two-year contract at Manchester United. Fellaini has scored 20 goals in 156 appearances for United since a £27m move from Everton in 2013.
Southampton have signed attacking midfielder Mohamed Elyounoussi for a reported £16m from Basel. The 23-year-old Norway international, who scored 23 goals in 83 games in his last two seasons for the Swiss side, has agreed a five-year deal. "I'm at my best when I use my creativity, so I think the club's philosophy will suit me," he said
Marco Silva's appointment as Everton manager is the latest indicator of another summer of upheaval at Goodison Park. Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has moved on to the 40-year-old Portuguese after sacking Ronald Koeman in October and successor Sam Allardyce at the end of the season. Silva has Premier League experience with Hull City, who were relegated, and Watford - where he made an outstanding start before Everton's approach for his services in November threw their season off track and led to his sacking in January. He has a burgeoning reputation and yet questions remain. Does he deserve the rave reviews he receives and what awaits him at Everton?
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