There probably isn’t a pundit in the country who didn’t reckon that this season’s Premier League would quickly and inevitably turn into a two-horse race between the country’s best two sides over the last few seasons. Looking at the schedules for both teams, it would have been realistic to predict nine points from a possible nine at this stage of the season for City and Liverpool alike. Almost nobody betting on football would have predicted that they’d have nine points between them at this point. And while the bulk of that underperformance is on Liverpool, we ought not to forget that only a physics-defying pass from Kevin de Bruyne rescued a point for City at Newcastle.
Nonetheless, it’s certainly good news that the champions already have a five-point gap between them and their closest rivals of recent years. Liverpool have already dropped seven points. For reference, City dropped just twice as many points as that in the entirety of the 2017/18 season, so it’s no surprise that Premier League betting has narrowed the odds already on a third consecutive title. But in this topsy-turvy season, is it maybe a good idea to pump the brakes and snuff out any trace of complacency?
No, genuinely, maybe this IS Arsenal’s season
If we’re being honest, since Arsenal last won the league in 2004, the Gunners have seen more false dawns than a Vicar of Dibley lookalike convention. That’s why even the most hardened football betting masochists won’t be leaping in to back them just yet, but let’s not blind ourselves to the reality that Arsenal have won their first three games and, in doing so, have not resembled the tentative, nervy mess that they’ve been in previous seasons.
Any City fan knows what Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus are capable of, and both have looked extremely focused given starting roles in the Arsenal side. Fábio Vieira looks a canny acquisition too, and Martin Odegaard is looking better with every game. Let’s just say that Arsenal are likely to keep this good form up for longer than we’d usually expect.
Let’s not assume the chaos won’t affect us
It’s a bad idea to get carried away, and some facts remain unchanged after three weeks of chaos. You’ll probably win something by betting on City to win the Premier League, but It’s a bad idea right now to think far beyond the next match. A home game against Crystal Palace usually promises three points, but Liverpool found out to their cost that the Eagles are determined to soar this season. Their 3-1 win over Aston Villa was flattering only to Steven Gerrard’s side, and honestly, with the results we’ve seen across three weekends, we can’t rule out the idea that there may just be something in the air this season. Maybe it’s the upcoming mid-season World Cup, but something… just isn’t right.
At least United are still awful - or are they?
Across the first two games of the season, it looked like Erik ten Hag would need at least season, a blank chequebook and perhaps an exorcist to get anything resembling a football team out of what he’s inherited at Old Trafford. However, in beating Liverpool 2-1, Manchester United looked … okay. Not brilliant, nothing more than a shadow of the teams of the 90s and 00s, but they pressed, they passed with purpose and they looked like they believed they could win. If they can convince another team to take Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s oldest teenager, off their hands, then they might get somewhere. Thankfully, most football betting sites reckon he’s staying put with his permanent sulk in full effect.