14th August, 4pm
As promised last week, before we have a look at the upcoming Premier League season, we’ll have a look back at my picks for last year. As stated at the time, these were merely predictions rather than suggested bets, and looking at the results, this is a good thing!
Predictions last year:
“Summary – Premier League season bets:
Winner. Manchester United. 3.5.
Top goalscorer. Robin Van Persie. 4.5.
Top goalscorer #2. Lukaku. 26.0. (Place as an each-way bet).”
Dear oh dear. Well that went spectacularly wrong then! Moyes really didn’t turn out well did he? And to be fair, I did say that the Van Persie bet depended on him staying fit, which he didn’t. Lukaku ended up packed off to Everton on loan, yet still fared best of the lot, coming within a couple of goals of placing in the top scorer market. Not my finest hour nonetheless.
So lets see if we can do any better this time round?
We’ll start with a quick look at the outright odds for the league.
Premier League 2014-15 outright odds:
Man City 3.75
Man Utd 5.8
So the bookies have Chelsea as the team to beat. Perhaps the stand out price in the top 6 though is that of Liverpool, at a huge 13.5. When last season finished so near but so far, their price for the new season was around 3.6 – 3.8. It has been steadily drifting as the summer went on, culminating in a massive shift out to 13s+ after the Suarez sale was confirmed. They have replaced players with the money, but you can’t help but think they’ve blown their big chance. For my money, they will have to be happy with a top 4 finish at best this time round, they won’t win it.
Back to the top, the bookies have got Chelsea as favourites, despite City only strengthening after taking last years crown. I think a big part of the thinking here is the signing of Diego Costa. If he can bring the form that netted so many goals in La Liga last year, it could well be the difference that takes the title back down south.
City themselves, well what an odd performance in the charity shield. They simply didn’t turn up, and they’ll have to raise their game poste haste if they are to be in with a chance of retaining it. With cross city rivals looking a bit more like the United of old under new man Van Gaal, and Arsenal looking a complete side in pre-season, there’s not going to be any room for error at the top.
There are a few key questions that I think will decide the destiny of the Premier League title:
Can City raise their game to retain their title?
Can Arsenal perform against the other big teams?
Can Diego Costa reproduce his goalscoring form?
Can Man United cope with the loss of THREE key defenders?
Can Liverpool cope with the loss of Suarez?
I’ve got to finish with my predictions again, so lets get it over with:
Winner. Manchester City. 3.75
Top goalscorer. Daniel Sturridge. 8.0 (Due to the size of the field, each way for this)
Basically, I think City will still have the strength to challenge, and I’m not convinced Costa can make the difference for Chelsea. I think Louis Van Gaal will improve United massively, but question marks remain over the defence and I don’t think he’ll have enough to win it first time round.
Top scorer, Sturridge is now the main man at Liverpool. I expect him to start pretty much every game, and also be the focus of the attack, he’ll be good for 20+ this season and that should be enough to win the top scorer, even if it can’t propel Liverpool into contention.
Remember that these aren’t recommended bets, just a bit of fun. We’ll see if I’ve fared any better this time next year. Check back later in the month for a bet on the football once we’ve got a bit of new season form in the bank.
At last, football is back! Enjoy.
5th August, 1pm
July was a fairly quiet month once the World Cup had finished, and in fact we only had a single bet back towards the start of the month, when the World Cup was at the semi finals stage. Unfortunately it was turned over in spectacular fashion, with one of the great World Cup upsets of all time. I am of course talking about the 7-1 hammering that Germany handed out to Brazil on their own patch, to the disbelief of the watching world. An absolute master class by the Germans – albeit helped by some woeful Brazilian defending – and in reality they could easily have scored more. They said afterwards that they took their foot off the gas in the second half, who knows what it could have finished otherwise!
So onto the final the Germans went, and indeed triumphed in a much tighter game against Argentina. Inseparable during 90 minutes, it took a moment of magic from substitute Mario Gotze to win it with just a few minutes of extra time remaining. A worthy goal to win a World Cup, and yet again the Germans show how it should be done on the big stage. Congratulations to them, maybe England will finally learn a trick or two by Russia 2018!
Back to matters at hand, and the month long football drought is almost over! We start with the Community Shield this weekend, then the following week sees the return of the Premier League. I’ll be back before then with some season long picks and a look back at how we fared last year. Stay tuned!