Over the years, the English Premier League has seen many thrilling title races. Last season, however, it wasn't much of a race at all. Liverpool officially secured their long-awaited and very first Premier League title shortly after play resumed in June, but it was all but sewn up well before COVID-19 stopped play in March.
This season stands to be much more of a contest if early results are any indication. A number of the expected contenders, including the reigning champions, are in the hunt. There are also several other sides in good form early on and they could make things interesting if they can keep it up through the turn of the year.
Odds to Win the English Premier League 2020-21
Odds via FanDuel as of November 17
- Manchester City +135
- Liverpool +150
- Chelsea +800
- Tottenham +900
- Leicester City +2600
- Manchester United +3200
- Arsenal +6000
- Aston Villa +11000
- Everton +12000
- Southampton +13000
- Wolves +13000
- Leeds United +16000
- West Ham +25000
- Crystal Palace +50000
- Brighton +25000
- Newcastle United +25000
- Burnley +25000
- Sheffield United +25000
- Fulham +25000
- West Bromwich Albion +25000
Liverpool (+150) and Manchester City (+135) have been the top two clubs each of the past two seasons, with City coming out on top in 2018-19 and Liverpool flipping the finishing order last season. The chances are high that they will be one and two for the third season in a row. Both teams have issues that will need to be dealt with it, however.
On talent alone, Manchester City has few equals in European football, if any. But there is reason to wonder how much further Pep Guardiola can take them. And with the Champions League still missing from City's trophy case after yet another disappointing exit, is Europe the bigger priority? They're off to a fast start in the Champions League with three wins in three games. In the Premier League, results are less stellar: three wins, three draws, and a 5-2 home defeat to a top of the table Leicester City. As a result, they are currently 10th, six points off of the top.
There's no question how dangerous Liverpool are in attack, but will that vaunted attack have to continue to bail them out with Virgil van Dijk sidelined? Perhaps not. Since shipping seven in their 7-2 defeat at Aston Villa, Jurgen Klopp's side has given up only seven goals in seven games in all competitions. They are only one point adrift at present, so if things are indeed improving at the back, the top spot could be theirs soon.
It's tough to see anyone being able to touch City or Liverpool if they hit their best form. But if anyone does, Chelsea (+800) and Tottenham (+900) appear to be the likeliest challengers.
Chelsea had a couple of horror shows defensively early on in 3-3 draws against West Brom and Southampton. But they come out of the international break unbeaten in their last six in the league and are only two points behind Liverpool. It remains to be seen if Frank Lampard can turn his talented team into a serious contender, but the pieces are certainly there.
Tottenham has been predicted to crash the party for several years now. Could this finally be the year? It didn't look too probable after they opened the season by losing at home to Everton. Since then, they have not lost in the league and notched a stunning 6-1 win at Old Trafford.
Spurs are only a point back for now, but where will they be when the calendar flips to 2021? How they fare in an upcoming stretch that sees them face City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Leicester, and Wolves before January will show if a real challenge could be in the cards.
The top spot currently belongs to Leicester City (+2600), but can the Foxes stay there? Last season started well, but they faltered badly and missed out on the top four on the last day of the season. Their away wins against City and Arsenal show that Brendan Rodgers' boys aren't afraid of anyone, and Jamie Vardy is as hot as he was when Leicester shocked the world four years ago. Can they keep it up?
Who else could emerge as a contender? Aston Villa (+11000) has two of the season's most impressive results, a 3-0 win at Arsenal to go with their rout of Liverpool. It's still too early to proclaim them contenders, but they do sit only three points behind Leicester and look to be a far cry from the side that was fortunate last season. If they can perform well in their upcoming stretch of winnable games, their odds may shrink.
Southampton (+13000) rounds out the current top four, two points behind Leicester. Their form is certainly impressive, and it could land manager Ralph Hasenhuttl a big job soon. But as with Villa, it is still too early to hype them up too much.
Can Arsenal and Manchester United Enter the Race?
Arsenal's odds (+6000) look rather generous, given that they have four defeats in eight games. A title challenge seems beyond their current facilities. But the Gunners have played Leicester, Liverpool, and the two Manchester clubs already.
There is too much talent at Manchester United for the Red Devils to be eight points behind already, but that talent is why they still sit at only +3200. How can a team that beat a Champions League finalist and a Champions League semifinalist in the span of a week look so bad in other games? It's mind-boggling and could eventually cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job. But if United can find some consistency, they could muscle their way into the mix.