2020/21 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 Saturday lunchtime's big kick-off.
Our football tips for the new Premier League season cover a winner, top-four finish and plenty else.
Liverpool to be champions
It is unusual to see such a convincing title-winner priced up at such long odds to defend their title, so Liverpool are the value pick.
Jurgen Klopp’s side won 26 of their first 27 league matches last season, and only dropped a flurry of points once the title was all but won and the season had restarted in unusual circumstances.
Closest challengers Manchester City are yet to convincingly address the issues in their squad, failing to sign an authoritative centre-back or left-back and suffering the deflation of missing out on Lionel Messi when there appeared to be a genuine chance that they could sign him.
Chelsea and Manchester United are shaping up quite well, but are most likely 12 months away from mounting a serious challenge. Liverpool look by far the most robust outfit.
Arsenal to finish in the top four
None of Liverpool, City, Chelsea and United are any longer than 1/2 to finish inside the top four, so – despite that seeming the most likely line-up – it’s worth looking elsewhere for an outside shot.
Arsenal are without doubt improving under Mikel Arteta. They have avoided defeat against Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley in the last two months, while showing signs of organisation and belief that they have lacked for over a decade.
It is hard to believe that the occasional blow-up won’t make finishing in the top four difficult, but the guaranteed goals of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, defensive prowess of new signing Gabriel, and impressive evolution of playing style should see them stay in the hunt for longer.
Southampton, who are addressed properly below, would have finished fourth if last season had started at Christmas and may be worth a small punt at .
Southampton to finish in the top half
Sacking Ralph Hasenhuttl would have been the easy way out for Southampton after they lost 9-0 to Leicester on October 25 last year, but their decision not to do so has spectacularly paid off.
The Saints would have finished sixth if the season had started after that match, climbing to fourth if the campaign had begun at Christmas.
The underlying numbers prove that to be no fluke. Hasenhuttl’s side were seventh for xPoints from Christmas, and finished the season brilliantly, winning five and drawing three of their nine games after the restart.
Hasenhuttl’s influence is clear. His style of play suits the dynamism of James Ward-Prowse, Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond, and the goals of Danny Ings make this team one of the most exciting in the division.
Brighton’s improvement also caught the eye last season, and they are available at .
Everton to finish in the bottom half
It has been another eye-catching summer of transfer business at Everton, who have revamped their midfield with the signings of Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez.
But there have been so many false dawns at Goodison Park over the last few years that, until the evidence says differently, it is worth treating this team with caution.
Added to which, the competition for top-half positions looks set to be strong this season.
The Big Six, Wolves, Leicester and Southampton all look very good to finish there, leaving Everton vulnerable to Brighton, Leeds, Burnley and others.
West Brom to be relegated
The individual quality provided by Grady Diangana and Matheus Pereira was enough to see West Brom promoted from the Championship, but it is a concern that their leading goalscorer, Charlie Austin, scored just 11 goals.
Those players are unlikely to have as much influence this season, and the Baggies lack both another way of creating chances and a striker capable of taking any that do come along.
Though a frontman will eventually arrive, there will be pressure on them to perform immediately.
At the other end, it is a big ask for Kyle Bartley, Semi Ajayi, Ahmed Hegazi and Cedric Kipre, who have limited Premier League experience, to be good enough to make up for their side’s shortcomings in attack.
#BetYourWay: Liverpool to win the title, Southampton to finish in the top half, West Brom to go down
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