The start of the 2017/18 football season is almost on us, and so it’s now time to select the winners of all four divisions in England. An obviously easy task – not!
The Premier League has a very open feel to it this season, and making judgment calls before the close of the transfer window won’t be easy.
Defending champions Chelsea will obviously be a threat, but their strength of a largely unchanged side will be tested by Champions League football this season. The same applies to a Liverpool side which has looked strong in preseason games. The transfer saga surrounding Arsenal’s key player Alexis Sanchez creates doubts over this North London giant, while their local rival Tottenham hasn’t really strengthened so far. This leaves the two Manchester clubs. United have spent a lot of cash trying to boost last season’s lacklustre offensive play, but doubts still remain. Manchester City are the favourites, and have turned to the transfer market to try and rectify the defensive instability which hurt last season. That said, they should score for fun. We’ll side with the blue half of Manchester to be celebrating in May.
Turning to the Championship, we like the look of Middlesbrough. Relegated last season, Boro have spent large sums to solve the lack of goal scoring which plagued their doomed campaign in the Premier League. New manager Gary Monk knows how to get teams promoted, and we have high hopes. The 15/8 on offer for Boro to be promoted looks good, but we’ll take the 13/2 that they win the division.
Hot favourites to win League 1 are Blackburn. However, we don’t feel able to trust our money on a club which has been so badly run of late. Instead we are going to take an each way punt on Fleetwood Town at 20/1. This club is highly progressive, having only entered the league for the 2012-13 season. They finished fourth last season, and in Uwe Rosler have a manager destined for bigger things.
In League 2 we are going to side with Mansfield. Manager Steve Evans has been backed to a substantial degree in the transfer market by the club’s owner John Radford, and there is clear ambition here. We’ll take the 11/2 that the Stags win this league, but will be keeping a careful eye on both promoted sides Lincoln and Forest Green.
Man City to win Premier League, 1 pt, at 15/8
Middlesbrough to win Championship, 1 pt, at 13/2
Fleetwood 0.5 pts each way in League 1 at 20/1
Mansfield to win League 2, 1 pt, at 11/2
Man City, Middlesbrough & Mansfield, 1pt win treble, approx. 140/1
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