Despite being the most-watched football league in the world (and the self-proclaimed most exciting), there hasn’t been a lot of parity in the Premier League since its formation in 1992.
However, the tide seems to be shifting as no longer is simply splashing the most cash for superstars enough to win a title. While it’s too early to tell if this year is an anomaly or not, what is certain is that this season has had more shocks and surprises than any other in recent memory (particularly for punters) With the season coming to an end soon, we all know that there will be even more shocks! A lot of football betting will be going down in the last few weeks. If you want to join in and find out more on how to get started, check out this guide to mobile sports betting from OnlineCasino.co.uk.
West Ham United and Watford
Of course Chelsea and Leicester’s City’s places in the standings are big surprises (we’ll get to the latter in a bit), but some shock performances that haven’t been getting as much attention belong to West Ham United and Watford. The Hammers have already succeeded in improving on last season’s 12th place finish, and are now right in the midst of a battle for a Europe spot. While new signing Dimitri Payet wasn’t exactly a nobody before signing at Upton Park, few expected the Frenchman to become the club’s highest-scoring and most dynamic player so quickly.
Conversely, the hopes for any newly-promoted side are simply to avoid going back down to the Championship your first season back in the Premier League, and Watford being 11 points from the drop at the end of March is usually a good sign. Perhaps even more surprising than their wins against sides like Liverpool and West Ham is the emergence of Odion Ighalo. Leading the club in goals in all competitions with 16, his FA Cup goal against Arsenal helped put the Hornets into the semi-finals of the competition.
Every Premier League season there are a slew of unexpected upsets and results. Gamblers and casual fans alike have had an especially difficult time predicting results this season, as so far we have seen unpredictable trends such as Manchester City losing five matches at home, Everton losing eight at home but just twice on the road, and Remi Gardi having the lowest win percentage (10%) of any non-interim Aston Villa manager in EPL history (OK, maybe that’s not that too surprising).
Every single weekend there seems to be an unexpected upset of one of the top-table teams. For instance, Norwich City has won at Manchester United; Newcastle United at Tottenham Hotspur; AFC Bournemouth against Manchester United and Chelsea; and West Ham United has won at Everton, Manchester City, and Arsenal while losing to sides like AFC Bournemouth and Newcastle United.
Newcastle United’s Struggles and New Manager
Having three managers in 14 months generally isn’t a good sign. Newcastle United were hoping to improve on last season’s 15th-place finish by bringing in Steve McClaren who promised to change the “culture and environment of the club.” Flash forward to nine matches into the new season and McClaren finally recorded a win with his new club. Less than five months later, he would be sacked after a 3-1 home loss to Premier League rookies Bournemouth.
While big off-season signings Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovi? have combined for 17 goals, they’ve received little support elsewhere on a squad that has only had one other player contribute more than two. So when a manager who in the past six years has managed the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard, Wesley Sneijder willingly inherits the Magpies’ relegation mess, colour us shocked. It’s too early to tell exactly what kind of effect Rafa Benitez will have given the talent he is inheriting, but it’s safe to say that last August nobody in the world expected him to be on the touchline at St. James’ Park.
Leicester City’s Storybook Season
What is there to wax about Leicester City that hasn’t been already? The Foxes are pulling off what many are calling the greatest season ever in English football and possibly in the history of sport. With 5,000-1 odds to win the title before the season now down to 2-7 a handful of punters that believed in this football miracle before anyone else did are going to be made very happy if Spurs and Arsenal can be held off for the title.
With a total payroll that’s less than what some individual players make at big clubs, two unheard of players becoming some of the league’s top scorers overnight, and a recent, scandalous past that includes playing third-tier football as recent as recently as seven ears ago, Leicester’s story is truly one stranger than fiction.