Unai Emery probably couldn’t have imagined a tougher start to his reign as Arsenal boss, having hosted defending champions Manchester City on the opening weekend before having to travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea at 5:30pm the following Saturday.
The Blues, who are expected to welcome talisman Eden Hazard back into their starting XI are 4/5 (1.80) favourites with Bet365. Arsenal, who lost 7 of their last 8 away matches at the end of last season are 16/5 (4.20).
All odds correct as of 17:30
It’s the beginning of a new era at the Emirates this season with Unai Emery taking over at the helm & ending Arsene Wenger’s 22-year tenure as manager of the North London club.
63 points last season was good enough only for 6th place for the Gunners and while they have signed well over the summer - Lucas Torreira (£27m) Bernd Leno (£20m) & Sokratis (£18m), there is no such thing as a quick fix and they still look someway short of the top-4.
Prediction - 6th
The Cherries begin life in the Premier League for a 4th season in a row, however- trouble could be ahead for Eddie Howe’s men & they could find themselves looking over their shoulders this season.
Bournemouth shipped a concerning 61-goals last season and kept the joint-fewest clean sheets in the Premier League (6).
Highly-rated creative midfielder David Brooks has been signed from Sheffield United and full-back Diego Rico has arrived from Leganes but the Dorset club look in real peril of facing the drop this season.
Prediction - 18th
The Seagulls managed to successfully maintain their Premier League status last season, thanks in no small part to their home form- P19 W7 D8 L4.
No fewer than 8 new arrivals have been snapped up over the Summer and the likes of Jahanbakhsh, Andone & Bissouma all add much needed depth to the Brighton squad.
A replication of last season’s resilient home form ought to be enough for Hughton’s men to survive another season in the top flight.
Prediction - 16th
Last season’s 7th place finish in the Premier League was the Clarets’ highest league finish since 1974 and saw them qualify for Europe for the first time in more than 50-years.
Burnley were defensively rock solid last year with only the top-5 conceding fewer goals than the 39 conceded by Nick Pope & co. over the course of the 38-game season.
Manager Sean Dyche signed a new long-term contract at Turf Moor at the beginning of the calendar year & while Thursday night European fixtures adds a new challenge for the the burly manager a mid-table finish looks almost assured.
Prediction - 14th
Neil Warnock guided Cardiff to surprise automatic promotion from the Championship last season and the Bluebirds will have to overperform again if they are to hold their place in England’s top tier.
Josh Murphy & Bobby Reid caught the eye in the Championship last season and have been added to Cardiff City’s ranks this season but both are untested at this level.
Cardiff’s only previous Premier League campaign ended in 20th place misery and a similar fate looks set to befall the 2017/18 squad.
Prediction - 20th
It’s been another Summer of change at Stamford Bridge as Maurizio Sarri replaced last season’s FA Cup winning boss Antonio Conte- the 12th change at the helm in the last decade.
Sarri has brought versatile midfielder Jorginho along with him from Napoli and is also likely to implement the 4-3-3 formation used at his hometown club.
The Blues missed out on Champions League football last season by just 5pts but a change of management and a change of style can see them back among the top-4 this season.
Prediction - 4th
No Zaha, No Party. Crystal Palace found themselves very heavily reliant on their talismanic winger Wilfried Zaha last season- the Ivorian winger missed 9 of the Eagles’ 38 games in the Premier League and they lost all 9 of them.
Yohan Cabaye has left for the Middle East and Ruben Loftus-Cheek has returned to Chelsea after his loan deal expired but Max Meyer arrived at the start of the month from Schalke.
Roy Hodgson steadied the ship at Selhurst Park last season having arrived after the club had lost all 4 of their Premier League games, without scoring a single goal under previous manager Frank de Boer.
A better start this season & a mid-table finish this season looks the minimum aim.
Prediction - 11th
The Toffee’s endured a season to forget last year, sacking Ronald Koeman in October and appointing Sam Allardyce.
Marco Silva was the man they wanted all along and this Summer they finally got their man. The former Watford boss has signed Richarlison who he knows well and the Brazilian adds an exciting new edge to the side and should allow Gylfi Sigurdsson his more favoured central role.
Jordan Pickford enhanced his reputation as one of the World’s top goalkeepers over the Summer when helping England to a World Cup semi-final and the return of Seamus Coleman to full fitness will certainly do no harm and it would be a surprise if Silva’s men are not pressing for a top half finish.
Prediction - 8th
Fulham needed the lottery of the play-offs to end a 4-year stint in the Championship but the Cottagers look more than capable of holding their own and they certainly haven’t shied away from spending a few quid, either.
Aleksandar Mitrovic- who scored 14 times on loan last season, has joined on a permanent deal along with Andre Schurrle and Jean Michael Seri- both signings of real intent by owner Shahid Khan.
Fulham were afforded the luxury of lots of possession in the Championship last season and they will need to adapt but they have the talent to do so.
Prediction - 12th
Huddersfield were odds-on for relegation last season but David Wagner’s men defied the odds to stay up in 16th place but the bookmakers once again fancy them to struggle this season.
Worryingly for the Terrriers, they won just 3 times after Christmas last season and will need to improve on their away form which saw them fail to score in 13 of their 19 matches on the road.
Kongolo and Lossl have both signed permanent deals with the Yorkshire club having impressed on loan last term and Ramadan Sobhi has signed from Stoke and has the potential to do well.
However, all logic indicates a season of struggle and it’s difficult to see Huddersfield avoiding relegation in 2017/18.
Prediction - 19th
Leicester stunned the World when winning the Premier League in 2015/16 and while they haven’t replicated those fireworks in two seasons since a 9th place finish last year was a respectable effort by Claude Puel’s side.
Losing Riyad Mahrez will undoubtedly be a big loss for the Foxes but James Maddison arrives from Norwich with a lofty price tag and a big reputation while Demarai Gray was a regular in the starting XI toward the end of last season & should continue his growth this season.
The top-6 look someway clear this season but Leicester can finish best of the rest.
Prediction - 7th
Jurgen Klopp has signalled his intent for this season with his cheque book over the Summer. The Reds have spent no less than £170-million since the end of last season bringing in: Naby Keita, Alisson, Fabinho & Shaqiri.
Liverpool made Anfield a fortress last season- winning 12, drawing 7 & losing 0 at home in the Premier League last season.
The front-3 of Salah, Mane & Firmino were irresistible last season and betweent them they contributed a combined 57 goals in the Premier League.
Liverpool’s 4th place finish in the Premier League doesn’t really do them justice last season and while it’s hard to see any side reaching Man City if anyone can it will be Liverpool.
Prediction - 2nd
No team has successfully retained the Premier League since Manchester United won 3-in-a-row between 2007 & 2009 but Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side have all of the qualities required to buck the trend this season.
The Citizens won the 2017/18 Premier League title by a record-breaking 19pts last season and were crowned champions with 5-games to spare, scoring a record number of goals in the Premier League (106).
Guardiola missed out on signing Jorginho but the Spaniard did secure his number 1 transfer target in Riyad Mahrez, not that his side was lacking in attacking creativity beforehand.
It is difficult to find any kind of chink in the armour of the defending champions and they are deservedly odds-on favourites.
Prediction - 1st
Jose Mourinho enters his third season in charge of Manchester United and enters unknown territory having not secured a domestic title in either of his first seasons at the club.
All has not quite seemed well with the Red Devils over the Summer break and the additions of Fred from Shakhtar, Dalot from Porto and Lee Grant from Stoke aren’t exactly overly inspiring deals for a club the size of Manchester United.
It looks set to be an almighty scrap to finish in the top-4 this season and Mourinho’s men look just a touch short of quality for us.
Prediction - 5th
Rafa Benitez guided Newcastle to a mid-table 10th place finish in the Premier League last season despite receiving little to no money from owner Mike Ashley and it looks as if he will be tasked with a similar situation this time around.
The Magpies picked up former Swan Ki Sung-Yueng on a free transfer as well as reinforcing with the loan signings of Kenedy from Chelsea & Salomon Rondon from West Brom.
Captain Jamaal Lascelles impressed at the heart of defensive last year and the onus will once again be on the defence to keep Geordie faithful enjoying life among the top tier.
Prediction - 15th
Southampton retained their Premier League status by the skin of the teeth last season- avoiding the drop by just 3-points.
The Saints, to their credit- did pick up following the appointment of Mark Hughes in March picking up 11-points from 10 games under the Welshman in a period which included fixtures against Arsenal, Chelsea & Man City.
Elyounoussi arrives to fill the void left by Dusan Tadic who has departed for Ajax whilst Jannik Vestergaard, a highly rated centre-back in Germany last year- was picked up for £18-million by Hughes.
It’s a cliche but Southampton have a squad on paper which is too good to be involved in a relegation dogfight.
Prediction - 13th
Tottenham Hotspur will return ‘home’ to White Hart Lane in September and manager Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping it’s a new home but the same Spurs and with no new signings to speak of it will need to be.
In fairness, the North London club boast an exceptional strong squad of players and it’s difficult to pinpoint any position that needs improving upon. The current crop of players finished runners-up in 2016/17 and 3rd last season, showing consistent form.
Pochettino will be desperate to add some silverware to his Tottenham CV this season and while Premier League honours are unlikely a podium finish looks a realistic objective.
Prediction - 3rd
Watford enter their 4th successive term in the Premier League in 2018/19 season and the Hornets have been anything but spectacular in their 3 previous campaigns with a 13th place finish in 2015/16 the highest finish.
The ‘Orns looked set for a memorable season at the beginning of last season, having picked up 21-points by November and sitting pretty in 8th place under Marco Silva. However, it all went rather wrong thereafter and just 1 win in their last 9 matches at the backend of last year is cause for concern.
The arrival of Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona could prove a very astute signing but nonetheless the clubs safety from relegation appears to hang in the balance.
Prediction - 17th
It may have taken a man running onto the pitch and planting a corner flag into the centre circle but West Ham owners David Gold & David Sullivan appear to have finally relented and opened the cheque book to bring some much needed investment to the squad.
The Hammers have brought in 9 new faces over the summer, spending more than £80million in the process. Wingers Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson promise to excite fans at the London Stadium and centre-back Issa Diop looks an improvement at the back for new boss Manuel Pellegrini.
Manuel Lanzini & Andy Carroll are ruled out indefinitely through injury which is a concern but with the investment made over the summer there ought to be enough talent in the squad to secure a mid-table finish.
Prediction - 10th
Wolves are quite possibly the most intriguing of all 20 Premier League clubs this season. Wanderers were almighty in securing promotion from the Championship last season, winning the title with 99-points, 9 clear of 2nd place Cardiff & 11 clear of Fulham in 3rd.
Head coach Nuno Espirito has strengthened his squad immensely over the Summer, with 10 arrivals including European Championship winning Portuguese duo Joao Moutinho & Rui Patricio.
Wolves play an unusual 3-4-3 formation and it’s difficult for sides to match up to them and they appear to have all of the ingredients to hold their own in the Premier League and can even sneak into the top half at the first time of asking.
Prediction - 9th
The 2018/19 Football League season gets underway this weekend with the opening round of fixtures in the Championship, League 1 & League 2.
We take a look at some of the outright winner ante-post markets and make our predictions for the upcoming season.
In the Championship, the 3 sides relegated from the Premier League last season are all, rather unsuprisingly- toward the top of the market with Stoke starting the season as 5/1favourites, West Brom are 15/2 & Swansea the biggest price of the trio at 12/1.
In League 1, much the same as the Championship, last seasons relegated sides are to the fore of the market with SUNDERLAND inevitably clear favourites to make an immediate return to England’s second tier.
Last but by no means least, in League 2 this season. MK DONS have endured a fall from grace, dropping from the Championship to League 2 in the space of 3-years and have gone through no fewer than 6 managers during that period.
MK Dons are 6/1 joint-favourites to be crowned champions in League 2.
Championship - Middlesbrough
League 1 - Sunderland
League 2 - MK Dons
Treble returns 200+/1!
*All odds correct at time of posting