Now that all the clubs in the Premier League have played their openers for the season what can be said about their prospects? Too early to tell? Possibly but then Champions Chelsea have gone straight to the top spot after thrashing newly promoted West Brom 6-0. That would seem to be a pretty strong indication that they are going to win the title again this year.
The latest football betting odds have Chelsea at 8/5 to win the Premier League title. West Brom, on the other hand, are bottom and are now 3/4 for relegation straight back to the Championship. The Baggies could not have asked for a tougher start to their bid for a sustained stay in the top flight and they certainly look to have their work cut out if they are to shake off their yo-yo club status this time around. To be fair though, the prospect of a newly promoted side going to Stamford Bridge and getting anything other than a thumping was never likely.
For Aston Villa the season got off to a flyer with a 3-nil win over West Ham. Can they match or improve on their run of sixth place finishes now that Martin O’Neill has gone? We shall have to see – the opposition that they faced on Saturday looked pretty feeble. Avram Grant looks to have his work cut out steering the Hammers out of relegation trouble this season.
Another side with a new manager is Fulham and Mark Hughes will have been relieved that his side got a valuable point from their goalless visit to the Reebok Stadium. Bolton lie in eighth place and Fulham in ninth after this opening game and a mid-table finish for both sides seems a strong possibility.
Probably the biggest surprise in the crop of games over the weekend was the 0-4 win by Blackpool at hapless Wigan. Before this game Blackpool were seen by many as certainties for relegation and the fact that they managed to chalk up a resounding away win on the first day of the season is a fantastic achievement. Tellingly, however, even though they lie second in the table, the online bettingweb sites think that they will be relegated with odds of 1/3 being offered. And Wigan? Last season, they suffered 8-0 and 9-1 beatings and if they repeat a performance like Saturday’s against a top team they could well get further pastings this year. The Latics are 6/5 for relegation.
Wolves currently occupy the fourth spot and if they could finish the season in that position it would be a huge shock. This will be their second season back in the top flight. They finished 15th last season and this win against Stoke 2-1 at Molineux would seem to show that they are set to thrive in the Premier League. Stoke were unlucky to lose and would be a good bet for another mid-table finish.
Blackburn kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 victory over Everton. Bit of a surprise here as some had predicted that Everton could be a real force this season. All three points were gifted to the Rovers after a blunder by Tim Howard.
The away point that Birmingham collected on their visit to Sunderland was enough to push them into 5th place. Sunderland are 7th. Both sides should be capable of avoiding the relegation zone this year.
Money-bags Manchester City got an away point at Spurs after drawing 0-0 at White Hart Lane. Despite this setback the Cheshire side are 7/1 to win the title. Tottenham are 11/4 for a top 4 finish.
Monday evening saw the last of the opening games played when Manchester United beat Newcastle, another of the promoted teams, 3-0. The Red Devils are 2/1 to become Champions this year after narrowly missing out to Chelsea last season.
Early days of course, and there is sure to be many a twist and turn in the course of the new campaign for the managers, the players, the clubs and the fans. It is what makes us keep watching!