Towards the end, football pundits seemed to run out of superlatives to describe the 2018/19 Premier League season. 22 consecutive league victories between Manchester City and Liverpool meant that it was a relentless, pulsating title race like few that have come before. The final day didn’t deliver the drama that perhaps the broadcasters hoped for, but it nevertheless underlined the season of near perfection for the blue half of Manchester, and a season to forget for the red half of the city.
However, City manager Pep Guardiola will be acutely aware that football is a fickle business. By the start of the next campaign, fans will have all but forgotten the end of this one – it’s the price of modern football. Yet, as we are just catching our breath from this season, betting sites have already crunched the numbers for next season, and they make for some good reading for Manchester City. Very good reading.
City odds-on for third successive title
Despite one of the closest title races in recent times, 888sport have priced Manchester City at 4/6 to win a third successive Premier League title. That’s quite the statement given how close Liverpool were to coming out on top. The Reds, meanwhile, have been cited as 3/1 shots to finally put their Premier League hoodoo to bed. Objectively, that looks a decent price for Jurgen Klopp’s men, and you’d expect fans to be even more bullish on Liverpool’s prospects if they enter the new season as Champions League winners.
For Manchester United, the odds of 10/1 tell a different story. On one hand, you could say that it gives them a fighting chance in the bookmakers’ eyes. Yet, then again, it also underlines just how far United are behind Manchester City. The goal was to get closer to Man City this season, but, if anything, it feels like United are drifting away from their cross-city rivals. Indeed, one could argue that United – who finished 32 points behind Man City – should be even higher in the odds.
United must revamp squad in the summer
Still, we know that United will not be afraid to spend in the transfer market, and you would have to assume that the bookies are pricing them up with a view that they will start the season with a markedly different looking team than the one that succumbed 2-0 to relegated Cardiff on the final day of the season. There is much work to be done at Old Trafford, but United fans might take some solace that it finally seems to have been recognised at the board level. Expect plenty of comings and goings at the club over the next few months.
As for City, they will be buoyed by the fact that Guardiola has indicated he will stay on for a while at the club. With the enigmatic Spaniard at the helm, they will always be considered among the favourites, such is his relentless drive towards perfection. One danger for them, however, is if the executives at the club start to demand Champions League success as well. That has hurt other clubs in the past, like Real Madrid, so City must make sure they do not take their eye of the ball on the domestic front. Regardless, the champions will head to next week’s FA Cup Final secure in the knowledge they are once again the team to beat in the Premier League.