The most popular domestic league in world football is back, bringing with it a whole host of expectant fans dreaming of a successful season. Success means different things for each club, but here are three teams who could well defy the odds and overachieve this season.
Aston Villa in the Ascendancy
As the football bets roll in ahead of a fresh campaign, Unai Emery’s Villa find themselves as eighth favourites to win the Premier League at 50/1, trailing only the traditional ‘Big Six’ and Newcastle. The Villans are currently at 9/2 to clinch a top-four spot, while their odds of relegation are 80/1. There are a lot of people expecting an impressive season at Villa Park, and for good reason.
Emery has done some masterful work in the window, bringing in the European experience of Youri Tielemans and Pau Torres to bolster Villa’s chances of competing at the top. When you add these two talents to an already promising squad that had begun to click toward the end of last season, you can’t blame Villa fans for having high hopes. It is crowded at the top, and although a top-four finish might be beyond Emery’s side, there is no reason they can’t breach the top six.
Vincent Kompany’s High-Flying Burnley
For anyone looking to place Premier League bets on relegation, Burnely are tied as the seventh most likely team to drop straight back into the Championship at 10/3, along with Fulham. Everton (11/4), Nottingham Forest (23/10), Wolves (23/10), Bournemouth (11/5), Sheffield United (4/6), and Luton (4/11) are all viewed as more likely to finish in the bottom three.
The odds are still relatively damning given Burnley was widely regarded as one of the best Championship teams ever last season. Vincent Kompany has performed a remarkable turnaround at Turf Moor since his arrival from Anderlecht, completely shifting the club philosophy from direct, effective tactics to free-flowing, liquid football. As well as leaning on his knowledge of Belgian football to acquire the talents of Manuel Benson and Josh Cullen, he has since added the class of Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge, significantly weakening Sheffield United in the process.
The top flight of English football will prove an entirely different prospect for Kompany, but having won 34 and lost just five of his 54 games in charge prior to the season commencing, it appears the Manchester City legend has every attribute to elevate Burnley even further.
Bournemouth to Cruise to Safety
Nobody really knows how Andoni Iraola will get on in his first season in English football, but he has managed some big clubs including AEK Larnaca and Rayo Vallecano. If his business in the transfer window is anything to go by, the Spaniard will be just fine. He has snapped up some eye-catching youngsters from top European clubs, and perhaps more importantly, has managed to keep hold of Philip Billing and Dominic Solanke, two standout performers last season.
Bournemouth are third favourites priced at 11/5 to be relegated, which looks to be seriously undervaluing the work the new manager has done this summer. The Cherries could shock a few this season, and although a top-half finish is slightly unrealistic, they have the squad to comfortably avoid the drop.