Belfast Telegraph

Jose's Chelsea have the Luka champions

By Robert Fenton

Only three teams can be considered for the Premier League crown, current champions Manchester United, neighbours City and Chelsea.

The rest can be forgotten about with Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Everton engaged in their own battle for the other top four place.

In each of the last 21 years, the title has been won by a team from the first three of the previous season.

That's not going to change and hence odds of 1/8 on one of the three obliging is actually a good price, although for most of us the profit margin is likely to be so small that it's not even worth a negligible risk.

On the other hand, a 12 per cent return on investment is very tasty for 'heavy hitters.'

All three can be backed at 9/4, although United are 5/2 in places and that's decent value in what is a three-horse race where the odds should be 2/1 your pick.

In the expectation that Wayne Rooney will be at Chelsea come next month, the London Blues should be taken. If they come away from Old Trafford with at least a share of the spoils on August 26, those current odds will not be available. In fact, they are likely to be clear favourites at around 15/8.

United have no 'gimme' in the opening trip to Swansea on Saturday while Jose Mourinho's boys are expected to stroll home against newly promoted Hull City who are a bankers (4/6) to be back in the Championship next season.

It's essential that City's new boss Manuel Pelligrini makes a winning start at home to Newcastle on Monday.

The Citizens are predictable for inconsistency and their defensive lapses were still apparent in the 3-1 defeat by Arsenal in Helsinki last Saturday.

The Magpies shouldn't be a difficult hurdle but odds of 4/11 make little appeal though 2/5 the Gunners to be firing on all cylinders against Aston Villa looks solid. And so does 4/6 for another top-four place.

Chelsea have the classy 20-year-old striker Romelu Lukaku back from a loan spell at West Brom and he's not known as the 'new Didier Drogba' for nothing.

He hit 21 goals for the Baggies last season including a hat-trick in that 5-5 closing day draw with Man United. Already among the goals pre-season, the rising Belgian star is worth an each-way bet at 33/1 to win the Golden Boot for top goalscorer.

Belfast Telegraph


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