The early weeks of the Premier League season and the end of the transfer window have done little to throw off the oddsmakers, with Manchester City remaining the odds-on favourites to retain their league title.
In all, there appears to be four main title contenders if the bookies are to be believed in City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool, all of whom will have set the Premier League title as their goal for the 2021/22 season.
Each of the teams appear to be stronger than they were last term having strengthened over the course of the summer transfer window. It has helped create a fascinating dynamic that could feasibly see any combination of the four sides within the Champions League places deemed as realistic.
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Below, we will be taking a closer look at each of the four main contenders for the Premier League title this year and their current odds of lifting the trophy come May 2022.
1. Manchester City – 6/5
Manchester City remain the strong favourites to win the Premier League title this season, despite losing their opening game of the campaign away to Tottenham Hotspur. That is likely because Pep Guardiola’s team have since responded with back-to-back 5-0 wins over Norwich City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium, admittedly both of whom are currently in the bottom two of the Premier League.
City won the Premier League last season with a 12-point gap at the top of the table and added Jack Grealish to their squad after securing a British record £100m deal for the England international. While they may have missed out on Harry Kane and appear to lack a guaranteed goalscorer like the other three teams, they won the league last season without one. Ilkay Gundogan was their leading scorer in the league with 13 goals and they have plenty of attacking options such as Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Ferran Torres and Kevin De Bruyne who can chip in with goals.
2. Chelsea – 5/2
Many feel Chelsea have the most complete squad in the Premier League and it’s difficult to argue against it. Their squad list shows they have two quality options in every position, as well as a manager in Thomas Tuchel who has quickly got his team on board with the way he wants to play. Chelsea signed just two players in the summer but both are of huge pedigree in Romelu Lukaku and Saul. Lukaku in particular could be the missing piece of the puzzle after the team scored just 58 goals in the league last season – 10 less than the next lowest-scoring team in the top four and the lowest total of last season’s top seven teams.
Chelsea have made an excellent start to the new campaign after taking seven points from their first three games, including a 1-1 draw away to Liverpool after playing the entire second half with 10 men. The Blues also won the UEFA Super Cup against Villarreal after a penalty shootout victory to set the tone for the new season. At 5/2, Chelsea look a great price in this particular market as they look to win their first league title since 2016/17.
3. Manchester United – 5/1
Despite signing Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo over the summer, Manchester United are still third favourites to win the Premier League this season. They have started fairly well with a return of seven points from three games against Leeds United, Southampton and Wolves and now have Ronaldo to add to the mix after signing him late in the window. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team have also broken the record for the longest unbeaten streak away from home in the Premier League and that away form could prove pivotal in this year’s title race.
However, it is Solskjaer in the eyes of some that is really preventing them from being at the top of this list of title contenders. The Norwegian has overseen steady progress at Old Trafford during his tenure but is still waiting for his first piece of silverware as manager and is going against established trophy winners in Guardiola, Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp. Many will say there are no excuses for United this season, but as Gary Neville said, it is plausible for them to improve on last year and still finish lower than second given the quality of their rivals.
4. Liverpool – 11/2
United’s late signing of Ronaldo has seen Liverpool drop to fourth favourites to win the title this season. League champions in 2020, the Reds had a nightmare, injury-hit campaign last time out but now look close to full strength again with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip all available again. However, outside recruitment was minimal with RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate being their only new arrival, though Harvey Elliott has made an impression since joining the first team squad after a successful loan at Blackburn.
The fitness of the squad could well be the defining factor in how well Liverpool fare this season and of all the four contenders they appear to have really gone under the radar the most. The Reds’ lack of depth, particularly in attacking areas, could come back to haunt them the deeper into the season we go as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita are all bound for the Africa Cup of Nations in January. How they compete during that period could well decide whether or not they are competing for the title or if they are again just battling for a place in the top four and Champions League qualification.