by Tom Allen
Despite the managerial changes at Stamford Bridge and in
Manchester ahead of the new season it takes a great leap of faith to imagine any
other side lifting the Premier League trophy in 2014 outside that trio but the
fight for the remaining Champions League place will once again intrigue.
The betting suggests Arsenal will prove best of the rest
and it's hard to disagree.
The Gunners may not have what it takes to end their trophy
drought in the grandest style but Arsene Wenger won't be overly worried by what
he has seen elsewhere this summer and the Emirates club should prove too strong.
Tottenham and Liverpool are viewed as the teams likeliest to break up the
established 'Big Four' and preference is very much for the Londoners
I struggle to see how Andre Villas-Boas's side are bigger
than their Merseyside rivals in some outright markets and am keen to take
Each looks set to lose their star man before the start of the campaign, both
Luis Suarez's and Gareth Bale's future surely lie elsewhere, but the signings of
Paulinho and Roberto Soldado by the Portuguese are eye-catching.
Liverpool, in contrast, are yet to make any real inroads in the transfer market,
neither Iago Aspas or Luis Alberto are tipped to have major impacts, and the
anticipated departure of Suarez is a crushing blow.
David Moyes's new venture certainly leaves an air of uncertainty hanging over
Everton and I still need convincing that new boss Roberto Martinez can live up
to all the hype.
Martinez ultimately relegated his previous club, Wigan Athletic, but I take
another of his former sides to go well yet again this term.
Swansea, under Michael Laudrup, impressed throughout last season and their
Capital One Cup triumph at Wembley was the undoubted highlight.
Their form slipped a little towards the end of term, perhaps inevitable after
securing some silverware, but they'll be back for more come the big kick-off and
could sneak into the top eight this time around.
Laudrup has acquired striker Wilfried Bony, Dutch Player of the Year in 2013, as
well keeping hold of all his key men and I want to be with Swansea in the
Without Big 6 market.
Betfred and Bet Victor both go 10/1 while offering 1/4 odds three places so a
spot in the top nine is likely to secure a profit. That is certainly not beyond
the Swans although the distraction of a Europa League campaign is a slight
Swansea are joined in the Premier League in 2013 by fellow Welsh club Cardiff
City for the first time but The Championship heroes of last term will do very
well to match the achievements of their near neighbours.
Unsurprisingly it is the three newly promoted clubs that
head the relegation betting, Cardiff are joined by Crystal Palace and Hull in
the top flight, but none will have to massively overachieve to survive.
There is not much separating any of the teams expected to finish in the bottom
half of the Premier League table this season and I want to take on Sunderland,
in particular, at the prices.
Black Cats boss Paulo Di Canio is seemingly only ever one bad refereeing
decision away from totally imploding and, more importantly, his playing squad
Sunderland survived by the skin of their teeth in the spring to preserve
their status and I see little to think it won't be a similar story 12 months on.
The 5/1 on them going down is too big to ignore.
Back Tottenham (Season Match Bet, vs. Liverpool) @ 10/11 (Sky Bet)
1pt e/w Back Swansea (Without Big 6) @ 10/1 (Bet Victor)
1pt Back Sunderland (To Be Relegated) @ 5/1 (Ladbrokes,
William Hill, Bet