The Premier League continues with Boxing Day fixtures and we are dedicating a whole blog to give you a rundown of what happened in the Premier League before the FIFA World Cup break. Some teams played 15 games and some played 14 but who is performing as expected and who is underperforming?
We will also be discussing the chances of various teams and their chances of either winning the league, reaching the top four or who are the most likely to be relegated. So make sure to check our other LV BET Sports Blog posts to get up to date with the latest information and betting tips on the Premier League and other topics as well.
Setting the scene
At the time of writing, Arsenal are the leaders with 37 points, Manchester City are in second place with 32 points, Newcastle in third place with 30 points and Tottenham complete the top four with 29 points. Taking a look at the bottom end of the table, we have Nottingham Forest who are in 18th place, Southampton in 19th and Wolves in last place with just 10 points to their name.
It’s notable to mention that Chelsea are currently in eighth place level on points with Brighton and Liverpool are in sixth place just a point above Chelsea. Manchester United are in fifth place with 26 points with a game in hand.
So now that we know where each notable team is at, we can dive into the chances of some teams to better their position.
Who would have thought that Arsenal would have been top of the table by Christmas? It’s not to say that Arsenal are not good enough but rather the magnitude of the other teams like Manchester City and Liverpool who dominated the scene in recent years. The previous season, with a couple of games in, Arsenal were in the relegation zone, but with patience, great signings and a plan to succeed, they managed to find themselves in a position leading the pack rather than chasing it.
Out of the 14 games played they have won 12, drawn one and lost one. Out of the top teams, they faced Liverpool and won, Chelsea and won, Tottenham and won and against Manchester United they lost. The tough part starts now, especially as they lost the services of Gabriel Jesus through an injury he suffered whilst in Qatar with his national team. Other players will be required to step up to the plate and fill the Brazilians shoes while he recovers. Despite having a good buffer at the top, Arsenal are not the favourites to win the League, they are priced at 9/4 (3.25) but as they showed in the first half of the season they are more than capable of grinding out results and getting over the line.
A different prospect, being the hunted rather than the hunter. Compared to other campaigns, Manchester City are not looking like the unstoppable team that they were last season despite having Erling Haaland scoring for fun. Loosing 2-1 to Brentford in their last fixture and coming up short against Liverpool at Anfield has cost them valuable points. We all know what Manchester City are capable of and you wouldn’t put it past them going on a long winning streak to regain the title of Champions of England.
It will all come down to managing moments during games and picking the right passes to unlock defences who sit deep and try and hit with the counter attack. As mentioned above, Manchester City are the favourites to win the title, priced at 13/25 (1.52). With Erling Haaland being named the top goalscorer at 2/9 (1.22), and Kevin de Bruyne being top of the assist charts once again at 1/3 (1.33).
An amazing story is being written as Newcastle United emerge once again at the top of the standings. After the takeover, things have been on an upward trajectory and the feeling is visible in the way they are playing. Great signings in the summer have been key especially Bruno Guimaraes who has added another dynamic to his side’s midfield. It’s also worth mentioning the considerable improvement in Miguel Almiron’s play, scoring outstandings goals and putting in a shift each time he takes to the field. From a neutral perspective, Newcastle United are a joy to watch—they want to go at teams and they are enjoying their football in the process.
Only good things can happen when a team is functioning well and that is why they find themselves in third place and in a good position to finish in the top four places. Champions League football might not have been on the agenda just yet but we are pricing a top four finish for Newcastle at 7/5 (2.40).
A very interesting battle is emerging at the bottom end of the table as all three teams currently in the relegation zone are only separated by four points and everything could change very quickly. Nottingham Forest are in 18th place and after basically signing a new squad in summer—it’s only natural that they weren’t at their best in the early stages of the league. Nottingham Forest are the most likely to be relegated at 3/5 (1.60). Wolves also underperformed and with the squad that they have, it won’t be a surprise if they climb up the table. They also have recruited the services of Julen Lopetegui who is a very good manager and can help Wolves improve their game. Wolves are at 19/20 (1.95) to be relegated from the Premier League. Southampton and Leeds also are in the mix despite showing promising signs, results havent come their way and they are priced at 8/5 (2.60) and 9/2 (5.50) respectively.
Race for the Top 4
As ever, the race for Champions League football is fiercely contested by the top teams and the extra money would be welcomed by any side. Arsenal and Manchester City are at 2/33 (1.06) and 1/50 (1.02) to finish in the top four respectively. Manchester United have progressively gotten better as the league got going but they need to find a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo in the January transfer market, and with the World Cup in full display, a couple of options have been presented. Erik Ten Hag will be demanding that his team pushes it’s way into the top four and secure Champions League football and we are pricing their chances of reaching that goal at 5/4 (2.25). Chelsea who are currently faced the furthest from the top four places are priced at 7/2 (4.50) and Liverpool are at 5/9 (1.55).
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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing