Premier League 2016-17 – A classic in the making?

Classic in the making?

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A late flurry of activity is a given on transfer deadline day and anymajor signings could yet prove to be a game-changer with regards to the titlerace, but to date it’s been an impressive start by the two Manchester clubs andChelsea, with all three having maximum points after three matches.

Those three teams also lead the Premier League betting.

It’s been a more mixed start from the rest of the ‘Big 6’, but it’searly days yet and Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur still haveeverything to play for. With no European football to distract them,Chelsea could be the value pick for the title.

It always looked unlikely that lightning would strike twice fordefending champions Leicester City, but a 2-1 win over Swansea City before theinternational break has ensured that they have had a reasonable start to thenew campaign. With Champions League football on the horizon, the Foxescould struggle with the additional fixtures and travelling. A top 10finish really wouldn’t be disastrous under the circumstances.

Stoke City are an attractive 3/1 with Coral to finish in the top half ofthe table. They’ve had a fairly sluggish start to the new season, buthaving finished 9th for three consecutive years and with Mark Hughes having adecent squad at his disposal, that looks a decent bet.

Sergio Aguero is already looking like the man to beat in the TopGoalscorermarket, although fitness issues are always a proviso that has to be taken intoconsideration with the Argentinean striker. Aguero is the market leaderat 5/2, but that injury record and a possible looming three-match suspension for elbowing WinstonReid just makes him too much of a risk.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is next in the betting at a best price of 9/2 withCoral, but the value could be Harry Kane at 16/1 in places. Kane, likemany of his Tottenham team mates, currently appears to have something of ahangover from last season’s exertions and being part of England’s humiliatingEuro 2016 campaign. However, he’s proven himself over two seasons asbeing a top drawer striker now and it’s surely only a matter of time beforehe’ll be finding the back of the net on a regular basis again.

The battle to avoid relegation looks likely to be every bit as tight asthe title race. Hull City have made a fantastic start to the season and almostheld out for a point against Manchester United after winning their first twogames. However, they were ludicrously slow to secure any new signings toaugment a squad that is perilously short on depth and quality.

A late splurge in the transfer market has seen Hullrecruit goalkeeper David Marshall (Cardiff City), midfielder Ryan Mason(Tottenham Hotspur) and striker Will Keane (Manchester United), but they stilllook woefully short of being able to compete over the long haul as thingsstand.

Widely available at 7/2 to finish bottom of the table, the Tigers goodstart to the campaign could quickly become a distant memory and that pricecould prove to be excellent value.

Burnley can be backed at 10/11 NOT to be relegated. They have aseason’s top-flight experience from two years ago (when they certainly didn’tdisgrace themselves) to call upon and the Clarets arguably have a strongersquad this time round.

There are two what could retrospectively be seen as crucial gamesaffecting both ends of the table immediately after the international break,with a Manchester derby at Old Trafford that is sure to be built up as the‘English el clasico’ given the history of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola at RealMadrid and Barcelona.

There is also a potential relegation six-pointer between Burnley andHull at Turf Moor later that same Saturday afternoon.

We could just have a slightly better idea as to the way in which theseason will unfold after those two matches.

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    Senad Trtak
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