Last week we brought you news on the start of the new Football League season and the Community Shield, but after a dramatic summer of World Cup action, this coming weekend sees the start of a brand new Premier League season in England, and after the excitement of the summer in Russia, it promises to be an enthralling race.

Last season, Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City team opened up a huge lead over their main rivals in the early part of the season and then just maintained that gap over the second half of the campaign to win the title with ease. City lost just two games during their record-breaking season (away to Liverpool and then at home to Manchester United) and they amassed a new record of 100 points in the process, scoring 106 goals (another Premier League record) and conceding a Premier League low of 27.

However, in the second part of the season there were signs that City were not unbeatable, although it took until Liverpool beat them at Anfield early in the year for anybody to beat them domestically. Manchester United followed suit in the league and then League One Wigan Athletic stunned them in the FA Cup too, to ensure that City did not have a clean sweep of domestic titles.

It is also worth noting that City fell short in Europe too, after reaching the Champions League quarterfinals, they were beaten 3-0 by Liverpool at Anfield and then lost the return leg 2-1 at the Etihad to depart the Champions League.

However, they remain the team that all the other teams want to catch in the Premier League this season, so lets take a look at the odds on who will win the Premier League 2018-2019 from bet365 Sport (odds correct at time of writing).

Premier League Outright Winner betting

  • Manchester City – 4/7 favourites
  • Liverpool – 5/1
  • Manchester United – 7/1
  • Chelsea – 12/1
  • Tottenham – 16/1
  • Arsenal – 28/1
  • Everton – 200/1
  • Wolves – 250/1
  • Leicester – 300/1
  • Southampton – 400/1
  • Burnley, West Ham, Newcastle United – 500/1
  • Crystal Palace – 750/1
  • Brighton, Bournemouth, Watford, Huddersfield, Fulham – 1000/1
  • Cardiff City – 2000/1

Looking at the odds, it is clear that the bookmakers think the only realistic challengers to Manchester City this year will be from five teams, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Liverpool are the second favourites and it is easy to see why. They lost 5-0 to Manchester City at the Etihad in the Premier League last season, but in that game had Sadio Mane sent off early on and after playing City with 10 men away from home they paid the penalty. However in the three other games between the teams that season, Liverpool won them all (4-3 in the league and 3-0 and 2-1 in the Champions League) and with some strong summer signings including Naby Keita and Fabinho already confirmed, plus new contracts for Firmino and Salah, Liverpool will be in good shape this season, especially if they can reduce the amount of drawn games and turn them into wins.

Manchester United though could well be City’s strongest challengers. Jose Mourinho has improved United a great deal since taking over and I think this year he will feel it is time to challenge their ‘noisy neighbours’. With Diogo Dalot and Fred already signed, United could well add a few more big names to their squad before the transfer window closes and I think they’ll push hard.

For me, I think Chelsea’s chances are somewhat slim given that it took Roman Abramovich so long to make up his mind what to do with his manager. With rumours that Belgian duo Thibault Courtois and Eden Hazard want to leave, it’s not a happy place to be at the moment and with their new ground development delayed, I think Chelsea won’t be amongst the runners this season.

The same can be said for Arsenal and new boss Unai Emery who takes over from Arsene Wenger. He has a talented squad but he has done little to address the fragilities in the Arsenal squad that were so evident last season.

So for me, the only other main challengers to Manchester City this season will be Tottenham and once again, I feel Spurs need to sign a couple of key players to make them realistic title prospects, but whether Daniel Levy will loosen the purse strings to allowe Mauricio Pochettino to bring in players of that calibre remains to be seen.

For me, I think City will win the title again, but I think Liverpool and Manchester United will push them much more closely, while Tottenham could also enter the mix, but I think it is going to be tough season for both Chelsea and Arsenal.

Who is for the drop?

Cardiff City are the favourites for the drop at 8/11 with bet365 Sport at the moment, but I think that is a very short price for a team managed by the experienced Neil Warnock, who will know precisely what he needs to keep his team in this league. I think Huddersfield (6/5) are likely to struggle this season, while I also feel that Brighton (2/1) could also be in trouble. As for the third spot, Cardiff and Fulham (6/4) I think will be battling it out to avoid the drop and I would probably just shade Cardiff as the favourites to stay up given the experience in their team and management team.

Premier League Opening Weekend FixturesCoral Sports UK Premier League promotions

The Premier League gets underway on Friday 10th August with the full 10 games played across the entire weekend until Sunday, including an absolutely thrilling matchup on the opening weekend of the season on Sunday. The full list of fixtures below (kick off, 3pm Saturday 11th August unless stated)

  • Manchester United v Leicester City (Fri 10th Aug -7.45pm)
  • Newcastle United v Tottenham – (Sat 11th Aug – 12.30pm)
  • Bournemouth v Cardiff City
  • Fulham v Crystal Palace
  • Huddersfield Town v Chelsea
  • Southampton v Burnley
  • Watford v Brighton
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton (Sat 11th Aug – 5.30pm)
  • Liverpool v West Ham United (Sun 12th Aug – 1.30pm)
  • Arsenal v Manchester City (Sun 12th Aug – 4pm)

The big game of the weekend sees Arsenal take on Manchester City at the Emirates in what should be a cracking game and a real test of how far Arsenal have improved (or have not) since Unai Emery took over from Arsene Wenger. It will also be a clear indicator of how much Manchester City have improved from last season and if City get a strong win here, then that could be an ominous warning to the rest of the Premier League for the season ahead.

My Premier League opening day fourfold

Here’s the fourfold bet I’d make using Premier League games from the opening weekend of action.

  • Newcastle United v Tottenham – Tottenham win
  • Fulham v Crystal Palace – Draw
  • Watford v Brighton – Watford win
  • Arsenal v Manchester City – Man City win

A £10 bet on this with Bet365 at the current odds (at time of writing) would return you £261.36.