PREMIER LEAGUE fanatic Adam Goodwin (@AGJournalism) shares his thoughts on the specials markets ahead of the 2017/18 Premier League season.
WLB Season Preview 2017/18 | Premier League: Specials
With the season just under a week away, I’ve been tasked by the gents at WeLoveBetting to pick out my best bets from some of the more obscure Premier League markets on offer.
With so much to choose from it was hard to narrow it down to just a few – but here are my fancies from the Specials markets. Enjoy!
I tried finding a way of getting both Manchester City and Manchester United on-side ahead of the new season and I think I’ve found just the ticket.
Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have both been in Manchester for a full season now, and they’ve assembled terrific squads to do battle this campaign. Guardiola has brought in tricky winger Bernardo Silva from Monaco, along with goalkeeper Ederson and full-backs Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker.
Considered by many as one of the best managers in the world, Guardiola literally cannot afford not to win the league this season. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich gaffer has spent over £200 million and the board will expect nothing less than a first-placed finish.
Mourinho has added to his squad by bringing in Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, centre-back Victor Lindelof and has reunited with the Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic.
‘The Special One’ knows the Premier League better than anyone and after a season in the Old Trafford dugout he’s been able to bring in his own players and put his own stamp on this United team. We saw his ability to grind out results throughout last season and that’s something I can see him doing again.
I ruled out reigning champions Chelsea to win the league because I feel that Antonio Conte’s squad is weaker than last season after losing Nemanja Matic, John Terry, Asmir Begovic, Nathaniel Chalobah, as well as the imminent departure of Diego Costa.
Tottenham have to cope with playing their home games at Wembley and, as we saw in the Champions League last season, they found that a daunting task.
Liverpool’s squad is far too small to cope with the Premier League and Europe – it will take some Jurgen Klopp magic to drag them back into the Top 4.
Arsenal look in a strong position to challenge the two Manchester clubs after finally bringing in Alexander Lacazette from Lyon but I still think their squad is too weak to challenge at the very top.
So, I fancy City and United to both finish in the Top 2 and you can back the Dual Forecast at 4/1 with Paddy Power.
Player Of The Year
Talking of Man Utd, I really like the 12/1 offered by Unibet on Paul Pogba to win PFA Player of the Year.
There are plenty of candidates to win this award, such as Eden Hazard (9/1 Unibet), Alexis Sanchez (12/1 Paddy Power), Kevin De Bruyne (16/1 Unibet) and Dele Alli (16/1 SkyBet) but I fancy the Frenchman.
The former most expensive player in the world was slated for much of last season and, whilst I don’t think this was necessarily warranted, we will see a much improved Paul Pogba in 2017/18.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has departed and the acquisition of Nemanja Matic will give Pogba the freedom that he was allowed at Juventus, something that will undoubtedly suit him more. Furthermore, he’s now linking up with his good friend Romelu Lukaku, and I think this partnership will benefit both.
Huddersfield or Brighton?
Potentially looking further down the table, I like a bet involving both newly-promoted sides Huddersfield & Brighton.
David Wagner had a superb first season in England, winning the play-offs with underdogs Huddersfield, whilst playing with the “gegenpressing” style of football that is now renowned in the Premier League.
The Terriers have spent quite a bit of cash since their play-off final win in May; 6ft 2in striker Steven Mounie and the permanent transfer of Aaron Mooy their most notable acquisitions.
Brighton, on the other hand, have failed to really strengthen their squad. The signing of Matty Ryan from Valenica has been their most expensive deal to date, and he is someone I wasn’t hugely impressed with when watching his performances for Australia during the Confederations Cup.
Glenn Murray is set to start the season up front for the Seagulls and I wouldn’t bank on the 33-year-old consistently scoring goals in the Premier League. Brighton manager Chris Hughton’s last job in the Premier League was in charge of Norwich, where he left them on the brink of relegation.
In conclusion, I fancy Huddersfield to finish above Brighton next season and was surprised to see this priced up at a chunky 13/8 with Betfair.
Top Midlands Club
Leicester are up against West Brom and Stoke in the Top Midlands Club market and I like them at 11/10 with Boylesports.
I wasn’t convinced by the permanent appointment of Craig Shakespeare as Leicester manager at the end of last season, but after some excellent signings and the acquisition of Michael Appleton as assistant manager, they look set for a solid campaign.
Eldin Jakupovic, Harry Maguire, Vincent Iborra and Kelechi Iheanacho are the four incomings at the King Power so far this summer, which is transfer business that a lot of the top clubs will have been envious of.
As for Stoke and West Brom, I can’t see either threatening the top half of the table. Mark Hughes has sold star man Marko Arnautovic to West Ham and after the loan of Wilfried Bony has expired, they’re left with maverick Saido Berahino to lead the line.
West Brom’s squad is painfully average and if Tony Pulis continues to have faith in largely goalless Salomon Rondon they could be in trouble.
Leicester are the best side out of three by quite a large margin, so take the 11/10 on them to finish as the Top Midlands Club.
Premier League – Manchester City/Manchester United duel forecast (4/1 Paddy Power)
Premier League – Paul Pogba to be Player of the Year (12/1 Unibet)
Premier League – Huddersfield to finish higher than Brighton (13/8 Betfair)
Premier League – Leicester to be Top Midlands Club (11/10 Boylesports)