Outright market changes after Premier League gameweek 6
In his weekly column, Alan Alger reveals what impact this weekend's results had on the Premier League outright markets, including the race for the title and top four.
Once again, there is an absence of an odds-on favourite at the top of the Premier League outright market.
Manchester City’s draw at West Ham on Saturday was followed by Liverpool edging past Sheffield United at Anfield. City are still market leaders but their price wound back to 6/4, where they were three weeks ago. Liverpool shortened from 11/4 to 15/8, with my own suspicion that a small overreaction to Virgil van Dijk’s absence is being corrected within that price cut.
Pep Guardiola was frustrated by both his team’s performance and a lack of options up front, and may also reflect on the fact that this may be far more open than a two-horse race.
It wasn’t just Liverpool that received a trim in their price; Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United all had their title prices shortened. Tottenham’s position as third-favourites has been consolidated – reaching a low similar to when they were 3-0 up against West Ham – with an away win at Burnley, while some might be surprised to see Chelsea and Manchester United shorter than they were seven days ago.
Why did two teams that served up a drab affair at Old Trafford both receive compliments from the market? The answer is that a few bubbles were burst elsewhere.
Aston Villa and Everton both lost the only unbeaten records in the division and in the process drifted back towards their pre-season prices.
It’s now compulsory to refer to Leicester’s Premier League title shock when assessing the big outsiders for the title. Are the drifts for Everton 33/1 (from 20/1) and Aston Villa 125/1 (from 66/1) completely justified when you realise that the Foxes only won three of their first seven games and were sixth in the table at the start of gameweek eight in 2015/16?
Unai Emery was dismissed by Arsenal after three league defeats ahead of gameweek 14 last season. The Leicester defeat was Arteta’s third of this campaign, in gameweek 6.
Maybe we’ve become that demanding of sides in the Premier League, even in this exceptional year of outside influences, that we aren’t prepared for the best teams losing matches.
Of course there is one team that did go through a Premier League season unbeaten, and Arsenal fans were celebrating a very early ‘Invincibles Day’ – the day when no club can repeat the feat in any particular season – this weekend.
That’s the only thing they were celebrating, though, as they lost 1-0 at home to Leicester. The Gunners have drifted to 40/1, seven points higher than their pre-season price.
Mikel Arteta will need plenty of time to restore his side to becoming regular top-four finishers, and a win at Manchester United in their next game should see them make inroads on their price of 5/2 to be playing in the Champions League next season.
Alarmingly for Arteta, his predecessor Unai Emery was dismissed after just three league defeats last season – but much further down the road, ahead of gameweek 14. The Leicester defeat was Arteta’s third of this campaign, in gameweek six.
A brutal opening fixture list for West Ham would have looked far more daunting after a home defeat at the hands of Newcastle on day one, when they reached a low of just 9/4 for the drop.
David Moyes’ side have done extremely well to get eight points from their next five games considering the opponents that they’ve faced. They now sit at a relatively comfortable double-figure price of 10/1 for the drop.
An injury to Michail Antonio may halt their progress but they’ve been extremely impressive of late. Their price of 9/4 for a top half finish with Betway does look tempting.
Four winless teams occupy the bottom four spots in the league table and the top four spots in the relegation market.
Sheffield United’s poor start might not be as simple as the dreaded second-season syndrome, but they just haven’t clicked yet and show at 5/4 from a pre-season price of 7/2 to drop back to the Championship.
Fulham and West Brom stay in the most likely positions in that market, both odds-on. They could be joined by a third odds-on team if Burnley don’t pick up some points soon, with Sean Dyche’s men now just 21/20 from 7/2 in pre-season.
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