We’re tracking the Premier League outright winner odds for 2018/19 and will continue to update our power rankings for the top six contenders.
Managerial changes, transfer moves and form shown by key players at the World Cup all affected our pre-season views on the leading fancies for title glory, but now the action is under way.
This is how we believe the big guns will be placed next May:
The Reds won the last of their 18 titles way back in 1990, but that barren run could be about to end judged on some shrewd summer signings and an opening 4-0 demolition of West Ham.
Mohamed Salah got the ball rolling in the 19th minute, Sadio Mane added a double either side of half-time and substitute Daniel Sturridge wrapped things up late on with his first touch of the ball.
Of the new recruits, goalkeeper Alisson Becker had a gentle introduction, while midfielder Naby Keita looked a force to be reckoned with even at this early stage.
Jurgen Klopp said: “We know about our expectations and we know there is a really positive atmosphere around us in the pre-season. That is good.”
Pep Guardiola’s side picked up where they left off at the end of last season’s record-breaking title triumph with a dominant display as they prevailed 2-0 at Arsenal.
Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva hit the target at Emirates Stadium, while Riyad Mahrez went close to scoring on his league debut.
According to Guardiola, the key to City’s bid for continual improvement is the competition in the squad which requires the players maintain high standards.
“They have to feel and be at a high level, and know the team-mates will be in their position,” said the manager, who started with Kevin De Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane on the bench.
“Everyone is going to play a lot of minutes and, in every moment, they have to be ready.”
The Red Devils were less impressive in beating Leicester 2-1 at Old Trafford but Jose Mourinho was delighted with a “monster” performance from World Cup winner Paul Pogba.
Luke Shaw also got on the scoresheet and new arrival Fred was busy in midfield, so there were several plus points for United.
Romelu Lukaku was only introduced after 67 minutes and will add more bite up front, but Mourinho’s side still lacked the attacking zest of the two teams ahead of them in bwin’s Premier League outright winner odds.
Spurs started brightly at Newcastle and early headers from Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli proved enough to secure a useful 2-1 triumph.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team had to ride their luck at times in the second period, though, with the Magpies twice hitting the woodwork.
Even so, it was a gutsy display as Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris, Alli and Harry Kane all started so soon after returning from World Cup duty.
“It was a short preparation for some players,” said Pochettino. “The guys who played in the World Cup and in the semi-finals, they looked after their bodies well.”
Chelsea were found wanting in the Community Shield defeat to Manchester City, but enjoyed a 3-0 win over Huddersfield, despite leaving World Cup stars Eden Hazard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Olivier Giroud on the bench.
Record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga had little to do between the posts on his debut as the Blues cruised to victory through goals from N’Golo Kante, new recruit Jorginho via a penalty and Pedro.
Following Maurizio Sarri’s maiden Premier League match, defender Antonio Rudiger said: “We’re happy because, to be honest, our pre-season games were not that good.
“It’s not always easy to adapt because it’s a new style of play, but I think we did well. We moved the ball well and to have a good bench is always good.”
Saturday’s Stamford Bridge clash with Arsenal will be a good early test of Sarri’s side.
It’s obviously too early to assess the impact made by replacing Arsene Wenger with Unai Emery but the Gunners have a long way to go before becoming title candidates again judged on their loss to Manchester City.
Arsenal looked nice going forward at times, but they often struggled to cope with City’s high-pressing game and are already on the drift in bwin’s Premier League outright winner odds.
“I am happy with the players,” Emery said. “The team, for 90 minutes, they ran, they tried, they pushed, but we need to improve all collective and individual aspects.”
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