2021/22 Premier League preview: Best bets for outright markets
We assess the best picks for the 2020/21 Premier League title, relegation and more ahead of Friday night's big kick-off.
WINNERS: Liverpool (each-way)
Manchester City are catching the eye in the transfer market, but there is plenty to be admired about the stability and consistency that Liverpool bring into this season.
The turmoil that Jurgen Klopp’s side suffered last term should not be underestimated. They lost all three of their senior centre-backs, a remarkable streak of bad luck, yet still gathered themselves to finish third without any of them.
A bad run in the middle of that campaign means that we get a juicy price on them to return to their formidable ways.
Diogo Jota looks ready to explode on the highest stage, while Trent Alexander-Arnold, the returning Virgil van Dijk, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane have not gone away.
TOP-SIX FINISH: Arsenal
Arsenal flitted between being a well-oiled machine and nervous wrecks last season, but we can expect to see more of the former than the latter this time around.
Mikel Arteta was accused of overcoaching his team, but that is all part of the process of fixing the issues that have dogged the Gunners for years. There were some positives, too, with only Manchester City and Chelsea conceding fewer goals in the Premier League.
Ben White has been signed to anchor the backline, but his forward passes can also improve things at the other end.
Arsenal need more goals, but Nicolas Pepe’s form at the end of last season, combined with the talent and exuberance of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe, offers plenty of hope.
Unlike most of their rivals, they will not be playing European football, either.
TOP-10 FINISH: Brighton
Brighton’s failure to turn dominant performances into victories became a running joke last season.
Graham Potter’s side ranked fifth for xPoints, in total contrast to their actual league position of 16th, as they missed chance after chance while watching opposition score from their fleeting attacks at the other end.
Potter and his bosses all know, though, that this pattern can’t continue and that a similar performance level will see them shoot up the table this season.
They have been quiet in the transfer window, but it seems likely that the striker they need to capitalise on their fine approach play will arrive by the end of August.
The only Premier League team yet to make a summer signing, Newcastle enter yet another campaign with little to be excited about.
In fairness to Steve Bruce, he has kept his side in the Premier League in similar circumstances twice, but it does feel as though his luck will soon run out.
Five wins from their last eight games of last season papered over the cracks of yet another underwhelming campaign in which they lost five consecutive matches in January.
With discontent and despair still surrounding the Mike Ashley regime, things are likelier to unravel than improve this time around.
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