As the international break approaches Jim Knight takes a look at how the Premier League is shaping up after the first seven games of the season
Although they were unable to extend a run of 12 consecutive away wins in all competitions against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, Arsene Wenger’s side go into the international break on top of the Premier League.
They Gunners are now made a 5/1 (6.0) chance by Paddy Power to claim the title in a season that, if the first seven fixtures are anything to go by, could produce the most open title race in many years.
Mesut Ozil’s arrival at the Emirates has undoubtedly made a significant impact but the emergence of Olivier Giroud as the man who could go some way towards filling the goal scoring void left by Robin van Persie is just as encouraging, as is the form of Aaron Ramsey, who appears to be fulfilling the potential Arsene Wenger knew he had before that fateful afternoon at the Britannia Stadium in Feburary 2010.
Manchester City still retain their favourites’ tag after overcoming Everton, with Manuel Pellegrini’s side are now 11/5 (3.20) chances to regain their Premier League title. Meanwhile, cross-town rivals Manchester United has been clipped from 7/1 (8.0) to 6/1 (7.0) following their narrow win over Sunderland.
Punters appear to be shrugging off City’s recent losses against Hull and Cardiff as blips rather than taking them as early indicators that the star-studded squad could struggle to justify a short price in a field that could contain several genuine title candidates.
An injury-hit Crystal Palace didn’t disgrace themselves in defeat to Brendan Rodgers’ rampant Liverpool side on Saturday afternoon but, having seen his side rack up 16 points from seven games, the Anfield boss will be hoping the Reds can mount a serious title challenge for the first time since 2009.
Luis Suarez appears to have made a seamless transition back into the first team and both he and strike partner Daniel Sturridge got their names on the score sheet in the 3-1 victory over the Eagles on Saturday. That result means the Merseyside club go into the international break level with the Gunners on points, but they are priced at 7/1 (8.0) to win the title.
Chelsea’s 3/1 (4.0) price reflects the improvement and consistency that fans and punters alike expect from Jose Mourinho as his second tenure at Stamford Bridge wears on, but it is the other team on 14 points that sport a number of eye-catching prices after some very impressive performances this season.
Mauricco Pochettino has guided his Southampton side into fourth place yet they are still way shorter for relegation (33/1) than they are for Premier League glory (500/1).
Such a long quote is not surprising but they are now just 4/7 (1.57) for a top-10 finish and 15/2 (8.50) to come home in sixth place or better.
November and December could be where Pochettino’s men come unstuck, though, given they face Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham in just six games as the hectic festive schedule really kicks in, but in light of the quality of the Saints’ performances in recent weeks, maybe it is the established title contenders who should be more concerned about those particular fixtures.
With four consecutive clean sheets, including a 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield, the Argentine boss and his side could cause yet more upsets in the coming weeks.
Andre Villas-Boas’ Tottenham side were booed off at White Hart Lane after a late capitulation gave West Ham their first away win of the season. Despite losing Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in the summer, the early signs were good for Spurs, but Sunday’s defeat could be the first indicator that their intensive European commitments could dent any serious title ambitions.
They are now 12/1 (13.0) to win the Premier League and have drifted out to 5/4 (2.25) to secure a spot in the top four.
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Jim Knight is Betting Editor at Goal.com and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast
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