Manchester City and Liverpool finished 25 points clear of the rest in last season’s Premier League title race…and the bookmakers believe it could be a similar story in 2019-20.
Only one point separated the top two in the closest finish since the unparalleled drama of 2012 when City got their hands on the Premier League winner’s trophy for the first time, and their latest triumph made it four victories in eight years.
But any period of domination upon which Pep Guardiola’s side may be embarking is under threat from Liverpool, who backed up their determined challenge to City by instead being able to call themselves champions of Europe if not England.
Elsewhere, there was a four-way fight for third position up until the closing weeks of the campaign and the bookies do not see it being much different next time around.
They have City as clear favourites to retain the crown (4/6 with bet365) ahead of Liverpool (5/2 at William Hill), with next-best Tottenham Hotspur way out in the betting at 16/1.
Spurs, who lost the Champions League Final to Liverpool, have been knocking at the door for the last few years in trying to snatch the Premier League or even any trophy for that matter, and this summer they have started splashing the cash again on new players in the quest to end their barren years.
Chelsea, of course, know what it is like to be champions having won the Premier League five times since 2005, but again their hopes are being pinned upon a new manager.
At least the new boss has been a champion himself on three occasions, albeit as a player. Frank Lampard has taken the reins at Stamford Bridge after only one year’s managerial experience in the Championship, plus he has arrived while the club are serving a transfer ban and having sold their best player, Eden Hazard, to Real Madrid.
When was the last time Manchester United were 40/1 for the English title at the start of a season? We defy anyone to come up with a definitive answer to that, but it’s the situation they now find themselves in after a remarkable decline over the last six years.
Pressure is off the Red Devils, whose manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now taking a more long-term approach, and a return to the top four and the Champions League will surely be their first priority this season.
Similarly, it’s all about building back up for United’s big rivals of the late 1990s and early 2000s, Arsenal, who have missed out on a top-four finish for three seasons in a row.
Can any club launch a shock Leicester-like challenge for the title? If they can, perhaps it will be…Leicester themselves, under manager Brendan Rodgers, while Wolves are another ambitious club who will be hoping to improve on their excellent seventh-place finish in 2018-19.
2019-20 Premier League Title Odds:
4/6 Manchester City (bet365)
5/2 Liverpool (William Hill)
16/1 Tottenham Hotspur (William Hill)
28/1 Chelsea (SpreadEx)
40/1 Manchester United (SpreadEx)
66/1 Arsenal (SpreadEx
200/1 Everton (William Hill)
200/1 Wolves (Paddy Power)
400/1 Leicester City (SpreadEx)