SO, HERE we are again at the start of another Premier League season and, if the 2018/19 campaign is anything to go by, we should be in for another thrilling nine months.
The title race looks set to be a battle between Manchester City and Liverpool again, with a 25-point gap surely too much for the chasing pack.
You’d have to fancy City for a third consecutive title, especially with the addition of Spanish midfielder Rodri, who impressed in the Community Shield last weekend and looks a more than capable understudy to the ageing Fernandinho.
In contrast, Jurgen Klopp hasn’t really dipped his toe into the transfer market, but the Reds showed in their successful Champions League campaign they can beat anyone on their day and City will certainly need to be at their best to deliver another Premier League title to the Etihad.
At the other end of the table, you’ve got to fear for newly-promoted Sheffield United and Norwich.
Both sides are operating on lowly budgets by modern-day standards and are almost guaranteed to be scrapping for their lives right from the get-go.
In recent seasons, it has become fairly usual practice for one side to be the Premier League’s whipping boys and I’m confident this year that unenviable title will be given to Sheffield United.
Manager Chris Wilder has spent north of £30million in the transfer window, but given his marquee signing Oliver McBurnie has only scored one Premier League goal, I’m not convinced they have anywhere near enough firepower to stay up.
Spread betting firm Sporting Index predict the Blades will be the league’s basement boys, but still expect them to rack up 33 points, a figure that looks well worth selling.
In the past nine seasons, every bottom- placed team except West Ham in 2010/11 has finished with a points tally of less than 33, many of which were better than this current United side.
McBurnie didn’t do anywhere near enough to save Swansea two seasons ago and I fancy Wilder’s side to suffer a similar fate this time around.
My other bet in the long term markets is Arsenal to better the firm’s prediction of scoring eight more goals than London rivals Chelsea.
Based on their transfer dealings this summer, Arsenal appear to be putting almost all of their eggs in one very an attacking basket.
Unai Emery has brought in talented Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan, while the Gunners smashed their transfer record to sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille.
Alexander Lacazette and Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang notched up 50 goals between them last season and the addition of Pepe, who netted 23 in Ligue 1 last campaign, means you can expect Arsenal to have plenty of success in front of goal.
Chelsea’s transfer ban means they’ll have to rely on the goal-shy Olivier Giroud and the unproven Tammy Abraham.
Gonzalo Higuain has returned to Italy, Callum Hudson-Odoi is resigned to a stint on the treatment table and it’s hard to have much confidence in Michy Batshuayi’s goal scoring ability.
In short, Frank Lampard looks lacking in offensive options and given the Blues trailed their London rivals by 10 goals last season, it’s hard to see that gap narrowing.
Sell Sheffield United Points 32.5 (Sporting Index)
Buy Arsenal/Chelsea Season Goals 8 (Sporting Index)