EPL Predictions, Previews & News - Everything you need to know about English Premier League 2017/18 is right here
Several debutants got their 2017/18 Premier League campaigns underway in style on the opening weekend, with Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku and Huddersfield Town’s Steve Mounie both netting twice.
Mohamed Salah scored on his Liverpool debut, meanwhile, and Alexandre Lacazette took just two minutes to open his Arsenal account.
There were 29 goals scored in all in the opening round, with Manchester United sitting top of the league after their 4-0 win against West Ham, and Huddersfield second after beating Crystal Palace 3-0.
Arsenal enjoyed a thrilling start to the season in their 4-3 win against Leicester, while Liverpool and Watford shared six goals between them.
Favourites Manchester City won 2-0 against newly-promoted Brighton, but defending champions Chelsea enduring an awful first day – Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas were both sent off as Antonio Conte’s side lost 3-2 to Burnley.
The Premier League’s big spending has continued despite the season starting, with two weeks still to go in the transfer window.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s protracted move to Everton from Swansea will be completed this week, with the Icelandic playmaker adding to Ronald Koeman’s summer spending spree. Bruno Martins Indi is back with Stoke, meanwhile, after spending last season on loan from Porto.
Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas were both sent off for Chelsea on the opening day, and so will be suspended for the upcoming fixture against rivals Tottenham at Wembley. Newcastle captain Jonjo Shelvey was also sent off on the opening day, and will face a three-game ban after his dismissal for stamping on Spurs’ Delle Alli.
Crystal Palace suffered a nightmare opening day as they lost 3-0 to Huddersfield, and their woes have now been increased after learning Wilfried Zaha will miss a month after getting injured in that game.
Chelsea’s Diego Costa remains absent from training, with the striker told he had no place in Antonio Conte’s plans for the new season.
Arsenal are set to welcome Alexis Sanchez back, after a slight injury delayed the start to his season, but Liverpool’s want-away star Philippe Coutinho missed their mid-week Champions League win at Hoffenheim.
Romelu Lukaku and Steve Mounie marked their debuts for Manchester United and Huddersfield Town respectively with two goals apiece, while Jamie Vardy scored twice in Leicester’s 4-3 defeat to Arsenal and Sam Vokes scored two as Burnley beat Chelsea.
All four subsequently lead the goalscoring charts after one game, with Lukaku now 5/2 with Bet365, William Hill and Ladbrokes to finish the season as top goalscorer.
Caution should be taken, however – last season’s top goalscorer, Harry Kane, has never scored a Premier League goal in August. He can be backed at 9/2 to win the Golden Boot after his blank on the opening day, despite the fact that once he starts scoring he rarely stops.
Alexandre Lacazette is now 9/1 to finish as top scorer after scoring on his Arsenal debut, meanwhile, and with Alexis Sanchez fit again, the Gunners boast an incredible front three of Sanchez, Lacazette and Ozil.
Mounie could be a good bet as an outsider – he showed his clinical touch in front of goal on the opening day, and is 66/1 to win the Golden Boot with Ladbrokes. Players like Andy Johnson (Crystal Palace) have proved in the past that you do not need to be at a big club to score goals – Huddersfield will create chances, and if Mounie continues his clinical streak then he will score goals regardless of the team’s results.
David Silva set up Sergio Aguero’s opener in Manchester City’s win against Brighton, meanwhile, with a perfect through-ball.
The Spanish magician remains an outsider for Player of the Year, at 25/1 with Betfair, but he will be key to City’s hopes this season – if Pep Guardiola’s side win the league, he will have had an impact.
Everton made a good start to the season, with Wayne Rooney scoring on his return in their win against Stoke, and having added Gylfi Sigurdsson to their line-up, they look a seriously good side now.
Their summer investment could pay off, and they are now 8/11 with Ladbrokes to finish highest without the big six.
This weekend’s Manchester City game will be an interesting indicator of what to expect from the Toffees this season, but a best price of 10/1 with Bet365 on them sneaking into the top four could be worth a look.
If Everton make it, someone else will have to miss out – especially with Manchester United laying down a marker with their opening day performance too.
Liverpool are now 4/6 with William Hill to miss out on the top four, and they almost certainly will if they do not fix the defensive issues which hampered them in their opening-day draw with Watford.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are 5/4 with William Hill and Betfair to miss out on the top four. It is far too early in the season to call their defeat to Burnley a crisis, but with two players sent off, minimal investment – to Antonio Conte’s annoyance – and last season’s top scorer Diego Costa frozen out, things are clearly not right at Stamford Bridge.
A defeat at Wembley to rivals Spurs this weekend would mean the Blues are already off the pace for the season – it is early days though, remember.
Huddersfield’s opening-day heroics proved they have what it takes to stay up, meanwhile – as we said at the start of the year, David Wagner’s side play good football and they are now 4/5 with Ladbrokes, Bet365 and William Hill to beat the drop.
Again, it is very early in the season, but their opening day performance was certainly encouraging.
Manchester City remain favourites to win the league, meanwhile – their 2-0 win at Brighton was laborious at times, but they got the result and clean sheet and can now be backed at 7/5 to win the title with Ladbrokes.
Manchester United’s odds have been slashed to 11/4 with William Hill, Bet365, Betfair and Ladbrokes, but they played a poor West Ham team on the opening day – much bigger tests lie ahead.
Chelsea go into what could be one of the most hotly-contested EPL title races for some time as defending champions, after Antonio Conte’s side finished top of the pile in the Italian manager’s first season in charge.
But the Blues’ biggest rivals have all strengthened this summer, with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City investing heavily as the Spanish boss moulds the team into his image, and Arsenal and Manchester United also making big-money buys.
Only last year’s runners-up Tottenham Hotspur are yet to sign anyone this summer, though Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with a handful of potential transfer targets.
At the other end of the scale, Brighton & Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town are in the Premier League for the first time since its foundation, while Newcastle United are back in the top flight after a year’s absence.
Chelsea stormed to the title last season, winning 30 of their 38 league games under Antonio Conte to ultimately finish seven points clear of second-placed Spurs.
N’Golo Kante, who also won the title in 2015/16 with Leicester City, was pivotal to the title win in midfield, and scooped a hat-trick of end-of-season awards after being voted Player of the Season, PFA Player’s Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year.
Diego Costa weighed in with 20 goals up front, while Eden Hazard was a pivotal figure in attack and Thibaut Courtois kept a league-high 16 clean sheets at the back.
Kante’s former club, defending champions Leicester, fared less well – sacking title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri in February as they briefly flirted with the relegation places before recovering to finish 12th.
Instead, it was left to Spurs to emerge as Chelsea’s closest challengers, led by 29-goal Golden Boot winner Harry Kane and PFA Young Player of the Year Dele Alli.
Tottenham finished the season having scored more goals than any other team (86) and conceded less (26), but paid the price for drawing eight times, compared to Chelsea’s three.
Manchester City, in Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge, led the way early on as they made an unbeaten start under their new manager, but a poor run of form in the middle of the season meant they had to settle for third.
Liverpool pipped FA Cup winners Arsenal to the final Champions League qualification place, while League Cup winners Manchester United were sixth ahead of Everton, but will play in the Champions League next year after winning the Europa League.
At the other end of the table, David Moyes’ Sunderland won just six times as they finished bottom of the league, while Middlesbrough won five and drew 13 as they finished 19th.
Hull City’s leaky defence shipped 80 goals as they too were relegated, despite having started the season by beating the defending champions.
Crystal Palace and Swansea City both put together late runs of form to storm clear of relegation, while Burnley and Watford finished six points outside the drop zone.
Burnley’s 16th-place finish was their highest since the formation of the Premier League in 1992, while Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth – who finished ninth – also celebrated their highest ever league position.
Here’s the full Premier League 2016/17 table:
Three teams will start the new EPL season with new managers – Watford, Crystal Palace and Southampton – with Walter Mazzarri leaving the Hornets by mutual consent, Sam Allardyce retiring from management after leading Palace to safety and Claude Puel getting sacked.
Marco Silva, who was unable to save Hull from relegation last year, replaces Mazzarri, Frank de Boer is the new man in charge at Selhurst Park and Mauricio Pellegrino is now in the Southampton hot seat.
One man subjected to perhaps more scrutiny than any other Premier League manager last season, Arsene Wenger, remains at Arsenal after signing a new deal with the FA Cup winners, however.
The 2017/18 season will see two new teams make their debuts in the EPL, with Brighton & Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town joining Championship winners Newcastle United in getting promoted.
They replace Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull City in the top flight for the new campaign, and will hope to replicate Burnley’s achievements – with the Clarets the only one of last year’s newly-promoted teams to stay up.
The Premier League has also seen plenty of big-money transfers this summer, with Romelu Lukaku the most expensive – Jose Mourinho and Manchester United splurging £75m on a striker he once deemed not good enough at Chelsea.
United have also spent £31m on Victor Lindelof, while rivals Manchester City have splashed the cash this summer, with goalkeeper Ederson, defenders Danilo, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy and attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva all joining.
Alongside the new arrivals, attention will also be on star striker Sergio Aguero, who needs just nine more goals to become City’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Arsenal have spent £46.5m on signing Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, while champions Chelsea have spent a combined £129m on Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Albaro Morata.
The signing of Bakayoko means Matic has been allowed to leave, while Diego Costa is on his way out after the addition of Morata.
John Terry left Chelsea in the summer too, but had become only a fringe player as Antonio Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation last season.
After the success of that system, and with his players on board, they are expected to challenge for the title again even with the added distraction of Champions League football, which they did not have last season.
Everton have also been busy this summer, with Wayne Rooney returning to his boyhood club after leaving United, and Sandro, Davy Klaassen, Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane all also moving to Goodison Park.
Rooney needs just two league goals this season to become only the second player to score 200 times in the Premier League, while team-mate Gareth Barry could also enter the record books this season – he needs to play just five more games to break Ryan Giggs’ all-time EPL appearance record.
Across the city, Liverpool have signed Mohamed Salah from Roma for £34m, while other big-money transfers include Nathan Ake from Chelsea to Bournemouth and Marko Arnautovic joining West Ham from Stoke.
Despite all the spending, last year’s runners-up Tottenham are yet to dip into the transfer market; additionally, Spurs will play their home games at Wembley this season, while their new stadium, adjacent to White Hart Lane, is completed.
Manchester City start as title favourites for the new season, ahead of defending champions Chelsea, thanks to their transfer activity this summer.
They have strengthened every position that was deemed to be a weak link last season, moved long-serving players on and brought in fresh faces who have raised expectations at the Etihad once again.
And after smashing in seven goals in two pre-season games against Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur, it is little surprise to see them favourites for the title.
No team has won back-to-back titles since Manchester United in 2007/08 and 2008/09, and indeed Chelsea finished tenth in their last title defence in 2015/16, but the Blues should also not be discounted.
Antonio Conte struck upon a winning formula in the league last season, and while the added burden of their return to the Champions League means more games
this season, the Blues have invested wisely so far this summer.
Runners-up Tottenham Hotspur have not spent anything yet, by contrast, and
have sold right-back Kyle Walker to Manchester City.
Spurs will play their home games at Wembley this season, where they have a bad record in recent years – including their Champions League fixtures last time out – but if they can achieve a decent home record, they should also not be discounted.
Manchester United have not won the title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, and were far behind the top four last season thanks to drawing 15 of their 38 league games.
They have not finished higher than fourth place since then, and have a huge deficit to make up, but if Romelu Lukaku hits form up front, they will hope at least to secure Champions League football for another year.
The Merseyside clubs will be talked up again this year, but Liverpool struggled last time they had to balance Champions League commitments with the Premier League and it remains to be seen what lessons they have learned.
Everton could be the surprise team of 2017/18, meanwhile, having invested well on paper this summer, with Davy Klaassen, Jordan Pickford and the returning Wayne Rooney all exciting signings for the Toffees. They are very much outsiders for the title, but could threaten the top four at least.
At the other end of the table, Huddersfield Town are favourites for the drop after being promoted through the play-offs, but David Wagner – Jurgen Klopp’s former assistant at Borussia Dortmund – has the ability to keep them out of trouble.
Watford, who ended last season in terrible form, and Stoke City – who have not spent any money this summer despite their own indifferent form in 2016/17 – could well end up looking over their shoulders.
Newly-promoted Brighton are also among the favourites for the drop, and Chris Hughton will certainly have a job on his hand if he wants to keep his Seagulls in the top flight.
Manchester City are favourites for the Premier League 2017/18 title on the back of their spending spree this summer, which on paper has given them a strength in depth most other teams can only dream of.
They are available at a best price of 19/10 with Betfair, while Ladbrokes are offering 9/5 on the 2011/12 and 2013/14 winners.
Defending champions Chelsea are available at 7/2 with Bet365, William Hill and Betfair, meanwhile, and will definitely not be far off after Antonio Conte’s phenomenally successful debut season.
A dual forecast of City and Chelsea is 4/1 with William Hill and Betfair, though will you find little value in backing either team to finish in the top four – City are 1/5 with Bet365, while Chelsea are 1/3 with William Hill.
Liverpool finished fourth last season, but with European commitments back on the cards, and with Arsenal, Manchester United and even Everton all breathing down their necks, Betfair’s best price of 10/11 on them missing the top four is understandable.
Everton are a best price of 10/1 to secure a top-four finish, or a less risky 11/4 – both with Bet365 – to finish in the top six.
At the other end of the table, Stoke City could be surprise candidates for the drop and are 7/1 with Bet365 and William Hill to go down. The Potters won just four of their last 17 games last season.
Watford were also in dreadful form at the back-end of last season, losing their last six consecutive games and ten in 14 in all. The Hornets have a new manager, but Marco Silva has already tasted relegation with Hull. They are 7/4 to go down with William Hill.
If those two were to go down, it would mean at least two of the newly promoted teams staying up.
Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle are a best price of 1/5 to stay up with Bet365, while Betfair are offering 13/10 on Huddersfield.
Though they only got promoted through the play-offs, David Wagner’s style of football is clearly working for the Terriers, and despite being favourites for the drop, they could still upset the odds.
A Stoke/Brighton/Watford relegation treble can be backed at a whopping 175/1 with Betfair.
Player-wise, last season’s top scorer Harry Kane is 3/1 to repeat the feat with Bet365, Ladbrokes and Betfair, while United’s £75m signing Romelu Lukaku is a best price of 9/2 with Ladbrokes.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic departing, Lukaku will be United’s main focal point up front, and that makes him a good shout for Golden Boot winner.
Gabriel Jesus showed flashes of what he could do in front of goal for Manchester City last season, meanwhile, and the Brazilian is 9/1 with Bet365 and Ladbrokes, while strike partner Sergio Aguero is 13/2 with Bet365.
If City are to win the league, they will need both men firing up front but also their attacking midfielders behind them.
David Silva’s constant overlooking for the Team of the Year has been bizarre, despite his incredible passing and assist records in the Premier League. Perhaps a league win will finally earn him the recognition he deserves, at odds of 33/1 to win Player of the Year with Betfair.
William Hill are offering 10/1 on Aguero finishing the season as top scorer and City winning the league, meanwhile.
Favourite for the award is Eden Hazard, at 7/1 with William Hill, who are offering 14/1 on last year’s Young Player of the Year, Dele Alli, scooping the senior prize this season.
Onto the managers, and Stoke will want an early improvement in the form they showed at the end of last season if Mark Hughes is to stay in his job – the Welshman is 4/1 to be the first to leave his post according to William Hill.
Winner: Manchester City
Top four: Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal
Relegation: Brighton & Hove Albion, Stoke City, Watford
Top scorer: Romelu Lukaku
Player of the Year: David Silva
First manager to leave their post: Mark Hughes