Chelsea are third favourites behind Manchester City and Arsenal to retain their Premier League crown but could be worth supporting at 6/1.
It’s a couple of years since Chelsea were quoted as big as 6/1 to win the Premier League, but the current champions are out on a limb after a shocking start to the season.
With two defeats to their name already – against new favourites Manchester City and London rivals Crystal Palace – the Blues are reeling and need to regroup quickly after the international break. Their pre-season quote of 7/4 was quickly revised to 3/1 after the defeat to City, and the moneymen took an even dimmer view of their surrender at home to Palace, which saw the Blues ease to their current 6/1 quote.
Arsenal are as short as 9/2 despite failing to sign an outfield player during the transfer window, while Manchester United are fourth favourites to climb back to the top of the pile at a general 14/1. Liverpool are fifth favourites.
Jose Mourinho has a couple of weeks to ponder what exactly has gone wrong at Stamford Bridge so far, and the public but ultimately unsuccessful move for Everton centre-back John Stones suggests the Portuguese boss has already identified where the problem lies. Defenders Papy Djilobodji and Michael Hector have been brought in, with the latter being immediately loaned back to Reading, but the ready-made long-term replacement for John Terry has so far evaded the Blues.
Mourinho has also brought in another defender in Ghana international Baba Rahman, while Spain forward Pedro has been added to the squad, which is in need of some inspiration. Mourinho will make sure there is no stone left unturned as he bids to get their title defence back on track, but the question is whether the 6/1 on offer is worth backing?
Looking at the club’s recent Premier League history, they do have the pedigree to put their early-season woes behind them. Chelsea have won the title four times in the last 11 years, and only Manchester United can better that record. Mourinho’s managerial record is even more impressive with eight title triumphs in just a 13-season managerial career. That’s a phenomenal achievement, and you can almost guarantee that Chelsea will be back, but can they afford to give up eight points to leaders Manchester City?
City odds-on for title glory
City have a 100 per cent record after four games and the manner in which they brushed Chelsea aside at the Etihad Stadium suggests they are not in any frame of mind to take on the role of minnows in this season’s title race. The layers have Manuel Pellegrini’s men chalked up at 1/2 after they opened the season as 11/4 shots and it’s hard to argue criticise their credentials after their 3-0 demolition of Chelsea last month.
Sergio Aguero will obviously be a key figure for City. and if they can keep the Argentinian frontman fit they will take plenty of stopping, especially if new boys Nicolas Otamendi and Kevin De Bruyne follow the lead of fellow new recruit Raheem Sterling and hit the ground running.
Another major factor will be City’s ability to deal with their Champions League programme. Pellegrini’s men are favourites to win their group, which will pit them against Juventus, Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach, but City have failed to progress beyond the round of 16 in the last three seasons, although they did win the Premier League in one of those terms.
Meanwhile, Chelsea, under Mourinho, are experienced in running two efficient campaigns and in the last few years have managed to balance their squad rotation from domestic to Premier league action. And they have a far easier job on paper after being drawn with Porto, Dynamo Kiev and Maccabi Tel Aviv. That may be telling as the season develops.