For Leicester City, repeating their title-winning heroics of 2015/16 will be a near-impossible feat.
It’s a something their manager has admitted and echoes the sentiments of the general consensus.
In losing 2-1 to huge relegation favourites Hull City, they reaffirmed widespread belief that their miraculous efforts of last season cannot be replicated.
The result also meant the Foxes became the first team since the turn of the millennium to start a Premier League title defence with defeat.
Only four champions have began campaigns that took place in the 21st century and failed to prevail, with Chelsea (15/16) and Manchester United (1999/2000, 2007/08 and 2008/09) all sharing the curtain-raising spoils in the outlined seasons.
For the former, their stalemate with Swansea City started a nightmarish year in which ultimately finished tenth, but United were able to recover on each occasion to retain their crown.
It’s largely thanks to the Red Devils’ antics that the average finishing position for a champion who fails to start with maximum points this cenrtury is third, but it should keep Leicester optimistic nevertheless.
The Foxes drifted out to 7/1 to finish in the top four this term following their KCOM defeat, which definitely lends favour to the punters.
Given the resilience Claudio Ranieri’s men displayed in the final weeks of the previous campaign, in which they went 11 unbeaten after losing what was deemed a pivotal match in the title race at Arsenal, rising odds with so much of the season left to play are ideal for making good value.
Robert Huth was sorely missed in the Hull loss, but he’ll back to renew his effective partnership with Wes Morgan against Arsenal next weekend and, once Nampalys Mendy settles, he’ll be able to slot into the anchorman berth vacated by N’Golo Kante.
Not a lot has changed at Leicester in terms of personnel, so their successful formula from last season won’t need much doctoring.
They’re perfectly capable of recovering from their first-day setback so the bigger their top-four price gets the better.