Guest article written by Arthur Browne
The World Cup may be over but these days football never sleeps and I’ve already started looking at the picture for the new Premier League season.
Arsenal still look a little short on the grit needed to take the title (especially if Fabregas ends up leaving) and Man United don’t look like they have done enough to strengthen their squad, not least because Rooney can’t have another season of his life!
Chelsea are too short at a general 13/8 so if you’re feeling adventurous then why not back Manchester City to finally come good at a tastier-looking 5/1?
The current Manchester City squad reminds me of Chelsea in the aftermath of the Abramovich takeover. The money which flowed in took some time to transform that team into a title-winning side and the same could well occur at Eastlands. You also need to give the manager a full season in charge so Roberto Mancini can make the team play the way he wants. If you prefer to trade then it is likely that the odds are going to drop as the season progresses and you will be able to green up nicely.
But let’s not write off Chelsea too soon. I’m not convinced they’re going to be strong enough in Europe and if they get pipped to the league then a double on them winning the Carling Cup and the FA Cup at 25/1 is very enticing. I expect at least some silverware to be heading back to Stamford Bridge this season and those two trophies are the low-hanging fruit as far as Chelsea are concerned.
The market for finishing in the top 4 is an interesting one too. Liverpool look like a fading force despite appointing Roy Hodgson and will do well to hold on to Gerrard and Torres. Tottenham Hotspur look good value to repeat their feat in the 2009/10 season as Champions League football should have a positive impact on the team’s league form.
Maybe this is pure sentiment talking but I think Blackpool might just be good enough to avoid the drop under Ian Holloway. He has done a remarkable job with few resources at both QPR and Blackpool and if anybody can get names you’d normally associate with the Championship to play above their natural level, it’s Olly. Get on Blackpool to avoid relegation at 9/4.
The season’s top goal scorer is always a huge subject for debate and it is remarkable that Torres is the favourite given his wretched World Cup (was the haircut cursed?). Darren Bent is usually about the only player who scores for Sunderland so he may well be worth an each way punt at 18/1, especially if he has a desire to rub Fabio’s nose in it for not taking him on the plane to South Africa.