Henderson Liverpool Premier League champions 2019/20

Each top six side’s chances of winning the Premier League

Premier League football has returned with the opening rounds of fixtures having provided plenty of talking points, fans eagerly assessing their side’s strengths following another summer of spending.

The season began with the traditional ‘big six’ clubs all harbouring ambitions of successful seasons, though it has proven a mixed start for England’s elite in the early weeks of the 2020/21 campaign.

Whether hopes of a title charge are a realistic objective remains to be seen in the coming months, but each of the sides will be hoping to at least challenging for major silverware this term.

Tottenham – 50/1

Rank outsiders amongst the top six clubs are Tottenham, who despite a window of notable investment are regarded as long shots to claim a maiden Premier League title.

Jose Mourinho has reshaped his squad this summer ahead of his first full season in charge of the north London side, bringing in Premier League proven performers in Matt Doherty and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg alongside the capture of Sergio Reguilon and exciting return of club legend Gareth Bale.

Bale returns to Spurs after a frustrating period in the colours of Real Madrid and how he fares may prove crucial to the club’s hopes of success, the Welshman having departed as the Premier League’s finest player in a world-record deal seven years ago.

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Few are expecting Bale to return the same player but at just 31-years-old will have plenty to contribute if he can maintain his fitness, a percentage of the player that won two PFA Player of the Year awards still likely to terrorise Premier League defences alongside Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min.

Spurs finished sixth last season and their long odds are justified given their indifferent form under Mourinho, losing their opening fixture of the season to Everton before a much-improved display to thrash Southampton.

How the club juggles the Thursday-Sunday commitment of the Europa League will also have a huge influence on their campaign, one that will realistically be aimed more towards progress as opposed to a tilt at the Premier League title.

Manchester United – 25/1

Manchester United’s start to the season could hardly have been worse following a humbling home defeat to Crystal Palace, the club producing an abject display as former player Wilfried Zaha starred at Old Trafford.

It was a devastatingly disappointing start to the campaign following the success enjoyed over the second half of last season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side compiling a 14-game unbeaten run in the league with Bruno Fernandes the catalyst for their upturn in form.

What promised to be a defining summer has been one of frustration for both Solskjaer and the supporters, a protracted chase of Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho having failed to amount to anything tangible, with Donny van de Beek the only arrival of the window so far.

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Whilst a fine player, the Netherlands international is far from enough to compensate for United’s shortcomings, some of which were woefully exposed against Crystal Palace with the centre-back pairing of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire struggling.

Solskjaer has the basis of a strong side but his squad lacks strength in depth, with a notable drop-off in talent in the absence of several first-team stars including attacking trio Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.

Those concerns are reflected in the club’s odds of 25/1 and although there remains some time before the window closes next month, the club’s track-record in transfer dealings means few will have high hopes of transformative arrivals.

Arsenal – 25/1

Arsenal are ranked alongside Manchester United as 25/1 odds for the title this season, a reflection of the progress the club have made since Mikel Arteta’s appointment last year.

Arteta’s methods have been greeted positively by the north London side and there has been a seismic shift in atmosphere surrounding the Emirates, Arsenal producing displays of grit as well as guile for the first time in several seasons.

Summer signings Willian and Gabriel are likely to instantly improve the club’s starting XI, though the Gunners have a huge distance to bridge to the division’s leading sides after finishing eighth last term, a mammoth 43 points behind champions Liverpool.

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Progress has undoubtedly been made, however, whilst impressive victories over the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea towards the second half of last season have proven Arteta can devise a game-plan to compete at the top.

Back-to-back victories and a new contract for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have further raised positivity to start the new season, but it would remain a huge shock to see Arsenal challenge this season, the Gunners facing their first acid test with a trip to face Liverpool on Monday night.

Chelsea – 16/1

Chelsea issued a statement of intent over their ambitions for the season with a lavish summer spend on new talent, Frank Lampard overhauling his squad by splashing more than £200m on new signings.

Amongst them include exciting Germany internationals in Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, in addition to the creative talents of Hakim Ziyech and a bolstering of the backline with the acquisitions of Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva.

The signings have raised hopes around Stamford Bridge that Chelsea can challenge for the title this season, but it remains to be seen how quickly the marquee arrivals can settle as the Blues attempt to close the gap to the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.

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The west London side were unconvincing in winning at Brighton before suffering defeat to Liverpool, their 16/1 odds reflective of the middling ground they find themselves in at present.

Chelsea undoubtedly possess a squad of strength and depth but success rarely comes overnight, whilst it is yet to be seen how the relatively inexperienced Lampard juggles a squad with increased marquee names.

Liverpool – 6/4

The champions surprisingly sit as second favourites with the bookmaker’s despite their exploits last season, finishing 18 points clear of nearest challengers Manchester City and wrapping up a long-awaited title with a record seven games to spare.

Many expect the title race to be a much closer affair this time around but the Reds’ remain well positioned to defend their title, often referenced as a much more difficult task than winning a first.

Jurgen Klopp has retained the services of his key personnel in addition to strengthening the areas deemed weaknesses by those outside Anfield, Kostas Tsimikas arriving as competition and cover for Andy Robertson at left-back and Diogo Jota signing from Wolves to compete with the club’s fabled front three.

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The key signing of the summer, however, is that of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich, a player who has spent his career at the pinnacle of the game and one regarded amongst the finest footballers in the game.

The Spaniard offers Liverpool yet another dimension with his creativity in an often workman-like midfield, providing the Reds with yet another avenue to victory as they bid to make it back-to-back titles.

After racking up a huge 198 points over the past two seasons it remains to be seen whether Klopp’s side can continue that incredible consistency, though few would bet against them given their achievements during the German’s tenure at Anfield.

Manchester City – 5/6

Manchester City have been installed as the bookmaker’s favourites for the title they relinquished last season, Pep Guardiola’s side predicted to put up a significantly better challenge at the top this time around.

City set all forms of divisional records tumbling over the previous two seasons before stuttering on occasion last season, mixing the sublime and the ridiculous as defensive errors littered their play.

At their best, City remain frightening in full flow but they must show they can produce those levels consistently once more, their summer signings of Ferran Torres and Nathan Ake – whilst sensible – failing to offer significant improvements on their current options.

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Guardiola’s side blew away Wolves in the first half of their season opener before familiar flaws were exposed on occasion during the second half, flaws that will need to be eradicated to sustain a title challenge given Liverpool’s remarkable consistency.

The arrival of a second, dominant, centre-back could also boost their ambitions with the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly having been linked throughout the summer, despite Guardiola insisting he remains happy with his current options.

Read – Five of the greatest back fours in Premier League history

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