The Favourites For The EPL Title: How Are They Performing So Far
August 09, 2016
While romantics will be dreaming of another Leicester title success, or hoping that a team with a similar stature can claim the Premier League crown this term, all portents are pointing to the resumption of normal service this time around. More specifically, the big three of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have all been reinvigorated by new managerial appointments, while their summer recruitment has also left them well-placed to compete for the title after a year in the wilderness.
The bookmakers have clearly made these sides their favourites for the Premier League, but fans will remain wary after the events of last season. To help add some context to the odds, we have taken a look at how each side performed in pre-season to determine who is more likely to hit the ground running…
The Citizens have been busy this summer, both in terms of recruiting new players and comprehending new manager Pep Guardiola’s philosophy. This may have caused a slight distraction during a disjointed pre-season, which has seen City lose to Bayern Munich and Arsenal while also having a game against local rivals United cancelled. In fact, City won just one of their four pre-season outings, with new signings such as Nolito noticeably quiet.
So although former Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph has starred this summer, City may take a little time to acclimatise to Guardiola’s unique and demanding playing style.
Similarly, United’s own pre-season has been lacking in activity and cohesion, particularly after the aforementioned cancellation of the game with City in Beijing. The Reds have performed slightly better than their rivals, however, beating Wigan and Galatasaray while also winning the first trophy of the season with a 2-1 win over Leicester in the Community Shield. With the arrival of Paul Pogba adding some crucial momentum before the season starts, United may have an opportunity to streak ahead of their rivals early on.
Out of the three favourites, Chelsea have enjoyed the most effective and successful pre-season. They played a total of seven games, winning five and plundering 21 goals in the process. These were spread around the squad, with forgotten man Loic Remy scoring three and new signing Michy Batshuayi contributing two.
The Blues’ only defeats came early on against Rapid Vienna (with a weakened team) and Real Madrid, where an encouraging second-half display augured well for the Antonio Conte era. Make no mistake; an organised and disciplined Chelsea side will be firmly in contention for the title this season.