With Christmas Day just over one week away, we’re fast approaching the mid-point of the 2019/20 Premier League season.
It’s the perfect time, then, to take stock and analyse exactly where things stand heading into the new year.
Premier League Odds – How is the 2019/20 season shaping up at the halfway stage?
The Title Race
With Liverpool holding a formidable 10-point advantage at the top of the league, it’s perhaps no surprise they are currently priced at 3/25 with Marathonbet in the Premier League outright odds to finally end over 27 years of hurt and claim a first EPL title. Closest rivals Leicester City (25/1) and Man City (7/1) have a mountain to climb to close the gap, but the history books do offer some hope.
Newcastle were famously 12 points clear of Man Utd in 1995/96, losing five out of eight Premier League games in that year to hand the initiative to Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. Man Utd also found themselves on the wrong end of a title collapse in 1997/98 when they ceded a 11-point lead to hand Arsenal their first title under Arsene Wenger. Liverpool’s position currently looks rock solid, but the Premier League has a habit of making title challengers sweat just when the deal seems sealed.
The Race for the Top Four
While the title race ultimately relies on Liverpool slipping up, the race for the Top Four looks far more open. Leicester’s incredible form under Brendan Rodgers means barring an unlikely slump in form, the Foxes are on course for a second Champions League adventure in 2020/21. Rodgers’ side are 1/10 to get the job done and claim a Top 4 berth.
It’s below the top three where things really start to get interesting. Chelsea have looked impressive so far under rookie manager Frank Lampard, but this is a Blues side that looks capable of tripping themselves up at unexpected moments. That was in evidence last Saturday, where Chelsea welcomed an out-of-form Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge and contrived to lose 1-0.
For all the exciting talent in their ranks, the Blues still look like a team in transition. Lampard’s side are 11/10 to hold their nerve – but now have a rebooted Spurs (11/10) breathing down their necks. Jose Mourinho has won four of his first five Premier League games with Spurs and he can potentially now leapfrog his old club into fourth place as the Lilywhites host Chelsea this weekend.
That makes the Top London Club market an interesting one to call. Could Mourinho now outflank his protégé after hitting the ground running? The Portuguese has made an instant impact at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, seemingly uniting an unsettled squad. It’s a close-run thing but Chelsea just have the edge with Marathonbet to be kings of the capital at 73/100, with Tottenham 6/5 to secure top billing in the city.
In one of the most tight-knit Premier League tables in years, even an inconsistent Man Utd can’t be ruled out of the running completely and could be the value option at 9/2 should one of the London clubs falter.
And finally could Sheffield Utd write their own Leicester City-style story this season?
The Blades’ fearless approach has seen them rise to the upper reaches of the Premier League and they are a 150/1 shot to pull off an almighty shock by snatching a Champions League spot. As Leicester’s 2015/16 season reminds us, stranger things have happened.
Golden Boot winner
At 32, Jamie Vardy continues to roll back the years. The Foxes’ talisman is showing no signs of losing his electric pace, and looks a striker revitalised under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers. Vardy’s incredible goalscoring run came to an end against Norwich, but he remains in pole position to seal a maiden Golden Boot (6/5 with Marathonbet). With 16 goals, he’s already five ahead of nearest rival Tammy Abraham (7/1) in the Top Goalscorer market.
The Chelsea starlet is enjoying a fine breakthrough season with the Blues, but the value could come from the slightly more experienced Marcus Rashford. The England star is into double figures with 10 goals and looks to be coming of age in an erratic Utd side and is 16/1 with Marathonbet to top the scoring charts.
Premier League relegation
It’s looking like one of the tightest Premier League relegation races in years. While Watford (4/25) and Norwich City (1/5) look in deep trouble towards the foot of the table, the third relegation spot looks as if it could be filled by as many as 10 clubs, with only seven points separating Arsenal In 9th and Southampton in 18th.
While relegation may seem a stretch for the crisis-hit Gunners (80/1), it looks like no team can afford to relax in a league where fine margins could ultimately make all the difference. After a solid enough start to life back at this level, Aston Villa (17/10) look to be in danger of sleepwalking into trouble, while Southampton (9/5) have seen their mini-revival end with two damaging defeats to Newcastle and West Ham.
Bournemouth ended their recent slump with a massive three points away at Chelsea but have looked vulnerable at times this season. The Cherries could be tempting at 11/2 to end their five-year spell in the top flight.
Further down the South Coast, Brighton only sealed survival on the penultimate weekend of the 2018/19 Premier League season but have shown signs of genuine improvement under Graham Potter, although not always with the results to show for it. The Seagulls are 9/1 to slip back down to the Championship after three seasons.
One thing’s for sure. In such a condensed league, no one side will be breathing easy heading into 2020.
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.
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