Tue, Jan 2, 4:05pm by Staff Writer
A busy weekend of football over New Year’s saw several teams play twice in a short space of time. At a traditional time in English football for calls for a winter break to surface. Importantly, however, the main focus was on the action in the stadiums.
Heading into 2018, Manchester City look like dominating the race for the Premier League title. Although they did slip up, dropping points for the first time in 18 games against Crystal Palace. A resolute Palace side battled to a goalless draw against the league leaders. City will be more concerned about injuries to Gabriel Jesus and Kevin de Bruyne. City slipped slightly to $1.02.
Manchester United ended 2017 with a third consecutive draw against Southampton. They struggled to get past a battling Southampton side searching for a point at Old Trafford. The run of draws means that Chelsea and Liverpool have gained ground on United, with the Red Devils relinquishing second place to Chelsea briefly before the New Years Day victory over Everton. Ahead of that win though United dropped to $76 in the title race.
A fine run of form for Chelsea has seen them keep the pressure on United and they can retake second spot on the ladder with victory over Arsenal on 3rd January. Their emphatic win over Stoke ensured they entered 2018 as the closest rivals to City. Chelsea opened the scoring after just three minutes in what was eventually a 5-0 hammering of Stoke. Chelsea stand at $36 for the title.
Meanwhile Liverpool quietly went about continuing their impressive form to finish out the year. Successive 2-1 victories over Leicester and Burnley mean that they remain in the hunt for a first ever Premiership title. A big money move for Virgil van Dijik has now been completed with hopes that he can shore up their leaky defence to combine with their deadly attacking combo. Liverpool are priced at $56.
At the other end of the table, Swansea City breathed life into their hopes of surviving the drop. Two late goals saw new manager Carlos Carvalhal kick off his tenure in winning ways over Watford. They remain favourites for relegation though at $1.22.
Consecutive draws for West Brom may well boost their chances of survival but they are in desperate need of a win. With only two wins this season, they need to start turning draws into victories if they are to be an EPL side throughout 2018. At $1.91, they could well be playing Championship football by the end of the year.
Stoke City’s dramatic decline has seen them plummet into the relegation scrap. Manager Mark Hughes is under increasing pressure as his side shortened to $3.10. The loss to Chelsea was followed up by a home defeat to fellow strugglers Newcastle who remain at $4.
Man City $1.02
Man Utd $76
To Be Relegated
West Brom $1.91
West Ham $4.50
Crystal Palace $4.50
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