@TopCheddarPicks' English Premier League Preview

Top Cheddar | @TopCheddarPicks

English Premier League Preview

Manchester City are coming off yet another Premier League trophy, after seeing off Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool to the title. Pep’s City has won back to back Premier League titles and hoisted the trophy in 4 of the last 5 years. Can Pep’s men do it again? Today we will break down the futures market for the English Premier League. Teams will be broken down into multiple categories as I discuss who I think is worth a bet to win it all. The 5 categories will be ‘The Relegation Candidates” , “The Middle of the Pack”, “The Dark Horses”, “The Rest of the Big 6” and “The Contenders”.

The Premier League is set to kick off on Friday August 5th when Crystal Palace host Arsenal at Selhurst Park. The Qatar World Cup is set to pause the Premier League mid-season in November. Will it have an effect on any of the clubs?

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The Relegation Candidates

As sad as it is to say, I don't believe there will be another Leicester City situation this season. Now this isn't to say the Bottom half of the Premier League isn't filled with more talent than ever before. The newly promoted sides Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest are interesting clubs but will not pose a threat to the top half of the Premier League. Southampton, Everton, Leeds, are expected to finish in the bottom half and will do well to avoid being dragged into a Relegation Battle.

I don't want to harp on these clubs too much but Fulham (+120 to be relegated) have been yo-yoing back and forth between the Championship and Premier League, and I expect them to do so again. A lack of swift transfer movements has led to club manager Marco Silva publicly stating he needs reinforcements and the club have, as of today, failed to deliver. Speaking of Marco Silva,I also believe his previous employers Everton to be relegated (+470) is just too much value for a club that was saved in the 2nd to last gameweek and expected to lose forward and top goal producer Richarlison to Tottenham. They have not looked good in pre-season, culminating with a 4-0 loss to mid table Minnesota United in their previous club friendly.

That leaves us with 2 clubs which I believe are in a middle ground. I don't want to lump them into relegation candidates as I would be very surprised to see them go down, but I also don't believe they are good enough to finish top half. This group includes Brentford, and Crystal Palace, who finished the Premier League in great form under new manager Patrick Viera. I expect these two to be incredibly difficult opponents however I do not think they will be fighting for more than a top half finish at best.

The Middle of the Pack

We will start with Leicester City, who managed to finish 8th and with the amount of talent in their club, I expect them to finish top half yet again. Brendan Rodgers will have to turn his fortunes around after a poor 2022 by the club's standards. Unfortunately, I don't think they have much of a chance to finish above a Conference League spot at best.

Aston Villa is an interesting club who saw an indifferent end to the season but had good performances against Manchester City and Liverpool go in vain as they left without any points. Steve Gerrard, in his first full season as manager has gotten his transfer work done early signing Phillipe Coutinho on a permanent transfer from Barcelona and Sevilla defender Diego Carlos. They also picked up Boubacar Kamara on a free from Marseille who should bolster the midfield. They finished 14th in the Premier league season last year, but I expect them to improve and battle for top half.

Wolves are the next side, and an interesting team to discuss. Bruno Lage, now in his second season as head coach has managed to keep the core of the side intact, but as of right now failed to do much business outside of signing RB Leipzig attacker Hwang Hee-chan. One of the toughest teams to go up against in the middle pack as Bruno Lage always set his teams up to be disciplined and strong defensively but without more transfers, I expect them to finish similarly to their 10th place finish they achieved last season.

Behind manager Graham Potter, Brighton have been one of the most aesthetically pleasing clubs to watch in the middle of the pack. My worries for them stems from their lack of investment early on and the consistent rumors of Marc Cucurella heading to Manchester City. He is a vital piece of their club going forward and losing him will be a painful loss. But I respect head coach Graham Potter far too much and expect him to get his club ready for another Top half finish.

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The Dark Horses

We have 2 dark horses in my opinion who may be worth a small sprinkle as their value is incredibly high. West Ham (+19000) and Newcastle (+10000) are two clubs in very different situations, but ones who I expect will easily finish in the top half and put pressure on the remaining big 6 for the European Places.

West Ham, led by Manager David Moyes, is coming off a heartbreaking end to their fantastic campaign last season. After losing out on a Europa League spot to Manchester United and losing in the Europa League Semi-Final to the eventual winners, Eintracht Frankfurt, Moyes will need to regroup his men. Lucky for him it doesn't seem like many departures are on the horizon for the club. Club starboy Declan Rice hasn't had many rumors surrounding his departure this season and club player of the season Jarrod Bowen has, surprisingly for me, not been the talk of any transfers. With their core intact, I expect them to once again challenge the Big 6 but ultimately come up short. Some really good value on their Top 10 FInish however. I would be shocked if they do not finish top 10, and at -160, I think you have to take it.

Newcastle, under their new regime, were one of the clubs who finished incredibly well in the 21/22 Premier League season. Under Eddie Howe, the club managed to escape the relegation places and finish a very respectable 11th place, highlighting a brilliant job done by Howe and his men. Led by star signing Bruno Guimares, England veteran Kierran Trippier and starman Allan Saint-Maximin I expect Newcastle to challenge for the Europa League spots. Backed by the richest owners in the world, who have already signed players this season such as Lille defender Sven Botman and goalkeeper Nick Pope, I expect the Geordies to continue to put pressure on the Big 6 and rise up the ranks of the Premier League. As much as it pains me to say it, their structure has been incredible and Eddie Howe has done a fantastic job. With no European Competition this year, this well rested side truly has a chance to sneak into the Top 6, and I love the value of it.

The Rest of the Big 6

Arsenal (+4500) are coming off a heartbreaking end to their season. With the Champions League spot within their grasp they blew it away to finish 5th to their rivals Tottenham. Only 1 signing to date and it is Porto youngster, Fabio Viera who is a creative midfielder who should provide Arsenal with some much needed attacking support. Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus has joined the Gunners and will be a much needed attacking threat to bolster the front line. They have also snagged Oleksandr Zinehnko, to beef up their quality in depth which is a shrewd signing, in my opinion. Ultimately, I think their weakness in midfield will be their downfall. I expect them to fall right in the Europa League spots again, mainly because of the strength of the clubs ahead of them. Manager Mikael Arteta, who in my opinion has done a fantastic job rebuilding the club and placing his trust in youth, needs to continue to do so as they are seemingly going to be gazumped to key transfer targets Raphinha and Lisandro Martinez by Chelsea and Manchester United, what a wonderful segway.

Manchester United (+2900) are under yet another rebuild, this time with manager Erik Ten Hag, formerly of Ajax. The club backed their way into the Europa League but have been linked with multiple key transfer targets including Frenkie De Jong and Antony. The club has finalized the signing of Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez. United completed a successful tour, where many of the club's players performed above expectations, including their forward line of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho. The club, just one season off a 2nd place finish, I believe are much better than most expect and under proper coaching, an investment in the transfer market and a return to form by some of their squad, I expect them to battle with Chelsea for the 4th and final Champions League spot.

Chelsea (+1400) cannot be underestimated. Manager Thomas Tuchel is one of the best managers in the world and proved as such in Chelsea’s Champions League title campaign back in 2021. My main worry with the club has to do with their overturn and lack of defensive options. Defenders Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen have all left the club or are expected to and as of today, Chelsea have one signed Kalidou Koulibably as a replacement. That amount of overturn typically is tough to overcome for Chelsea, and while Chelsea have signed Raheem Sterling, which I expect to be one of the signings of the season, they still need more reinforcements to solidify a top 4 spot. My biggest worry for Chelsea is the current rumors of players wanting to leave. It got to the point where manager Thomas Tuchel publicly commented on players' commitment and had Tuchel call it the worst preseason he has ever had. I expect Chelsea to battle for the 4th and final Champions League spot and their moves in the transfer market will ultimately decide their fate.

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The Contenders

Tottenham (+1600) are a club who have struggled to be in the conversation with the rest of the Big 6 for many years. That has changed with the hiring of manager Antonio Conte, who is a serial winner. Since his hiring he took the club into a Champions league place, managed to appease star striker Harry Kane and not only kept the core of the club intact, managed to add onto it by adding Yves Bissouma, Ivan Perisic and Richarlison to the squad. This club is backing Antonio Conte and Conte is going to repay their board's investment in my opinion. Between Harry Kane and Heung Min Son, Tottentham has a deadly strike force to be reckoned with and I expect them to challenge for the title. Sadly, although they have come leaps and bounds from where they were, there is a gap in talent between Tottenham and the top 2 clubs.

Liverpool (+220) is coming off a potential quadruple winning season, which ended poorly when Manchester City beat them to the Premier League title and they lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid. Sale of star forward Sadio Mane is undoubtedly a cause for concern and while Jurgen Klopp is expecting to fill the void with wonderkid Darwin Nunez, I expect Nunez to take some time to adapt to the Premier League. Liverpool will still be a force to reckon with as Virgil Van Dijk, and Alisson are leading in the back and Premier League joint Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah is still as potent as they come. Unfortunately for them, rivals Manchester City will be just too much for the Reds.

Manchester City (-160 on BetMGM) are the favorites, and rightfully so. They not only have managed a dominance of the Premier League under manager Pep Guardiola, they have improved their one glaring weakness up front with the signing of world star Erling Haaland and even brought in one of Argentina’s best young talents Julian Alvarez. I don't need to speak too much about the brilliance of Manchester City, a club who is starving for Champions League glory more than Premier League glory. I expect them to win the league fairly easily and continue their dominance in the English Premier League.

The Golden Boot

Going to keep this one short as there is 1 player I love above all others this season, especially at his value. Heung Min Son (+1500 to win the Top Scorer / Golden Boot) finished tied for the top honors with Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah with the duo both scoring 23 goals. The big difference for me this season is Son will now have a full season under Antonio Conte. Last season in the first 14 games, under Nuno Espirito Santo, Son only managed to score 4 goals (0.3 per game). Once Conte joined, Son exploded for 17 goals in the remaining 29 matches (0.6 per game). At one point it looked like Salah was going to run away with it, but Son’s impressive form under Conte did brilliantly to catch him. With a full season now under Conte, I love Son to take it outright this year.

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Cheddar's Picks

  • Manchester City to win the Premier League (-160 on BetMGM)
  • Sprinkle of Newcastle Top 6 Finish (+220 on FD)
  • Fulham to be relegated (+110 on FD)
  • Everton to be relegated (+380 on FD)
  • West Ham Top 10 Finish (-160)
  • Heung Min Son Top Goal Scorer (+1500 on FD)

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