Reigning Premier League champions Chelsea will be lifting the trophy once again this season if the weight of money is right in the build up to the new season.
Jose Mourinho’s men have long been favourites to make it back-to-back Premier League titles, and despite a sketchy enough pre-season campaign the support for the boys in Blue shows no sign of stopping.
Mourinho has spent a significant chunk of his time heaping pressure on the supposed big-spending rivals Arsenal and Manchester United, and playing down expectations on his own team. But off the pitch, the significant effort of Premier League fans has been to back more Chelsea success.
Leading website FreeBetsMate.com report that Chelsea are holding almost a third of the money placed on the winners of the 2015/16 Premier League season. Despite Mourinho’s mind-games, punters are predicting only one winner with almost a third of the total market at leading betting exchange Betfair placed on the Blues once again.
Their biggest challenge, according to the market, will come from Manchester United and Arsenal. It is no surprise, therefore, that Mourinho chose to single those two clubs as the ones he fears most.
The money placed on both Arsenal and Manchester United is roughly the same – around a quarter of the total investment from punters, suggesting there will be little to choose between the old foes in the new season. So, even though they are the third and fourth favourites for the title, we could be set for a fascinating three-way tussle at the top with Chelsea.
We say three-way because Manchester City and Liverpool have been dismissed by the public. City were the leaders of the chasing pack behind Chelsea for much of last season, ending eight points adrift of the champions in the end.
But this time around, in the run up to the new season, Manuel Pellegrini’s side lack support. They may well be the second favourites to regain the Premier League title behind Chelsea, but the money suggests they won’t go close with less than a tenth of the total market behind them.
For Liverpool, who endured a nightmare season last year and begin this one as a new era following plenty of transfer activity, there is even less expectation from punters. Not by much, but they have less money riding on their title challenge that City.
At the other end of the Premier League table, the money suggests it is the three promoted clubs – Watford, Bournemouth and Norwich City – who are most likely to be relegated back to the Championship come May.
Of the established Premier League clubs, Sunderland are most in danger of demotion from the top flight despite the return of Dick Advocaat, who masterminded another survival bid last season. Aston Villa and Leicester City, two of the other clubs who found sufficient form last in the season to avoid the drop, also have plenty of money behind them to suffer a worse fate this time around.