The 2012-13 season isn’t over yet, but already our thoughts turn to next year after Man United officially wrapped things up last week and the team had a big night out at the casino as usual. Such is the nature of football; it’s not so much as a case of you’re only as good as your last game, but you are only as good as your last season. After all, it’s only six months since Arsene Wenger’s job looked under threat and now Arsenal are fourth and firing on all cylinders.
Next season will be the tenth anniversary of Arsenal’s “Invincibles” season when they managed to go undefeated for the entire Premier League. That year, they managed to regain their champion’s status from two seasons earlier, having been dethroned by Man United in the 2002-3 season, when The Gunners finished as runners-up.
Now what’s interesting here is that Arsenal’s Invincibles were red-hot favourites at the start of the 2004-5 campaign. The only realistic threat was perceived to be coming from Man United, as ever, but Chelsea had this new man in the hot seat who had recently won the Champions League with FC Porto, by the name of José Mourinho.
The rest is history; Arsenal were going great guns, stretching their unbeaten games to 49 and comfortably leading the title race when they went to Old Trafford in late October and controversially lost 2–0. The Gooners’ form then dipped badly, but Chelsea’s went the other way and they won the title with an all-time record 95 points, from Arsenal in second and Man U third.
So can this tell us anything about next year’s likely winner? Well what we can learn from history is that the Premier League can surprise us – and new management can be a real catalyst for that change.
Of the top clubs, only Chelsea look likely to be under new management next season with one José Mourinho odds-on to be back in the Stamford Bridge dugout next year. But Chelsea remain in the third favourite’s position at 7/2 to win next year’s Premier League – whose betting is still dominated by the Manchester clubs with City at 2/1 and United favourites yet again at 13/8. Arsenal are third favourites at 14/1 with Tottenham and Liverpool at 20/1 and 25/1 respectively.
You can expect to see Chelsea’s odds dip markedly if Mourinho is appointed – but Arsenal look the value for money bet if Wenger really has got them playing again. Either way, these two London clubs are the “dark horses”.
Any other winner looks highly unlikely unless AVB turns out to be another Mourinho. If you bet on the exchanges, like Betfair, it may be worth backing Arsenal now at a big price and laying them back if they start as well as they’re now finishing. Similarly, a bet on Chelsea may pay dividends if Mourinho is appointed as you’ll be able to lay it back at a lower price and get a bet to nothing.
An easier way of achieving the same thing with Betfair, though, is via its casino. The sign-up bonus makes this a bit of a no-brainer and you could use any free winnings to have a punt on your fancy; click here for more info on Betfair casino.
While we’re on the subject; if you’re a football fan who likes a game of chance, then the Betfair Casino also has a fun casino scratch card game – either for fun or real money. The casino’s “Football Mania Scratch” scratch card has football related symbols each with different prizes. If one of your footie symbols matches the symbol in the prize box, you could win you up to £100k depending on the size of your stake. But if you prefer, you can play this – or any other Betfair Casino game – for free on demo mode.
Back in the real world, though, it looks as if the Premier League title will find a home in Manchester again next season – and it will probably go to the team in red – unless Mourinho is back and can work his magic. Happy hunting!