As 2012 turns into 2013, Manchester United are the clear, strong favourites for the Premier League title, ahead of Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. At the other end of the table, Reading and Queens Park Rangers are odds-on for the relegation, with Southampton, Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa also short prices for the drop.
A comfortable 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford means Sir Alex Ferguson’s men remain seven points clear at the top of the Premier League and extremely strong favourites to win the title.
The Red Devils are 9/25 to regain the title they lost last season to rivals Manchester City, who are second in the table after their 4-3 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road. The champions are now 7/2 to retain their crown.
Chelsea are in third after a 2-1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park gave Rafa Benitez a fourth straight league win as Blues boss and the European champions are 7/1 to win the division. Benitez’s side are 11 points behind Manchester United with a game in hand.
Arsenal remain fourth favourites despite being in fifth position, 16 points behind United, albeit with a game in hand. A 7-3 win over Newcastle United at the Emirates means the Gunners are now 80/1 for the title.
Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur are 150/1 for the title despite being above the Gunners in fourth and a 2-1 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light has put Spurs 13 points behind the leaders.
At the other end, the bookies at bwin predict a grim 2013 for Reading and Queens Park Rangers, both of whom are long odds-on shots for relegation.
Reading are the shortest price at 9/50 despite winning their second game of the season at the weekend, a 1-0 win over West Ham United at the Madejski Stadium. The win put the Royals on 13 points, five shy of safety.
Things look even more precarious for QPR, despite them being priced up a tad shorter than Reading at 1/4. Rangers are rooted to the bottom of the league with just one win all year after a 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool left them eight points adrift of 17th-placed Aston Villa.
Southampton are the third team in the drop zone after a 3-3 draw against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium and you can get 23/20 on the Saints making an immediate return to the Championship.
Villa, for their part, are out of the drop zone by just one point and one place after going down 3-0 to Wigan Athletic at Villa Park.
The result leaves Paul Lambert’s team an 8/5 shot to be relegated, while the win for Latics puts them above the Villans and they are now 9/4 to be playing second-tier football next season.