Arsenal finished in 3rd place in the Premier League last season, 12 points behind the winners Chelsea but what do the bookmakers think the Gunners chances for next season?
The fixtures for the 2015/16 season have now been released and the action gets underway at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday 8th August against West Ham United in what will be manager Arsene Wenger’s 20th season in the English top flight, a division he has won three times, most recently with his “Invincibles” side who stormed to the title in 2003-04.
Well, at the time of writing, most bookies have Arsenal priced up at around joint third favourites with odds of 5/1 (6.0) available with Ladbrokes for Arsenal to win their fourth Premier League title and make it 14 top division titles in total.
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The favourites are the reigning champions Chelsea at around 6/4 (2.5) who won the league last year finishing eight points ahead of Manchester City. However, they look like they will be losing their long serving goalkeeper Petr Cech to Arsenal as the two clubs are reported to be close to completing a deal for the 33-year old who has been at Stamford Bridge for 11 years but who only played 16 times for Chelsea last season.
Petr Cech made more than 300 Chelsea appearances and has won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one Champions League and one Europa League title. Chelsea have now installed the 23-year old Belgian international Thibaut Courtois as their new first choice keeper after he joined the club in July 2011 from Genk.
Arsenal have been alternating between goalkeepers Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina and Cech will bring plenty of experience and keep things safe at the back.
Last year’s runners-up Manchester City are the 5/2 second favourites with Ladbrokes. City are planning an overhaul of their squad and with £20 billion to spend thanks to club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Man City will be looking to bring in some big signings this summer. They have already had a £25m bid for England winger Raheem Sterling rejected by Liverpool but they should easily be able to attract some top names to the Etihad Stadium.
Liverpool themselves have just snapped up the highly rated England Under-19 international defender Joe Gomez from Charlton Athletic for a fee of £3.5m but he is expected to be put out on loan initially with Derby County showing some interest.
“It’s a dream come true. It’s a bit surreal and it hasn’t really hit me yet. But I’m buzzing and just excited to get started,” said Gomez. The bookmakers still don’t fancy the chances of Liverpool though and Ladbrokes are offering a large 33/1 about The Reds who only finished 6th last time.
Manchester United are a similar price to Arsenal with the 11/2 offered by Ladbrokes currently the best odds on offer. The Red Devils are also looking to do some summer shopping and have already shown interest in Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos as they look to strengthen their squad after they finished fourth in the Premier League last season.
The no hopers
The only other teams with an even remote chance of winning are Tottenham Hotspur who are available at 125/1 and then we have Everton at 400/1. Ladbrokes will then give you at least 3,000/1 or bigger the rest. Basically, no chance!
Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, the favourite teams for the dreaded drop next season are unsurprisingly all the newly promoted teams, namely Watford, Norwich City and AFC Bournemouth.
It’s sure to be another drama filled Premier League season and it’s a tough call to predict which of the “Big 4” of Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Man Utd will win. Who is your money on?