Bookies favour Manchester City to win EPLAugust 17th, 2012 - 8:08 pm ICT by IANS
London, Aug 17 (IANS) The English Premier League (EPL) kicks off its 2012-13 edition Saturday and holders Manchester City start as the bookies favourite to retain their title.
EPL Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has no doubt that the Premier League will continue to capture people’s imaginations around the world when the 21st season kicks off Saturday.
“It will have its critics, but it will have more people following it, there’ll be more debate in workplaces on Monday morning, and it’ll be football again,” he was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.
The Premier League had a thrilling title race last year, going down to the wire before Manchester City clinched it in the stoppage time of their last game against Queens Park Rangers after trailing 1-2. They needed a victory to stop Manchester United, who had already beaten Sunderland, from snatching the title to extend their record to 20 titles.
City are the 5-4 favourite, with William Hill and Ladbrokes, to retain its title, meaning a successful $4 bet will bring in $5 plus the original stake. Manchester United is the 9-4 second choice ahead of European champion Chelsea at 5-1.
The programme begins with seven games but the champions City start with a game against newly promoted Southampton Sunday, with United completing the opening round of games at Everton Monday.
The biggest news on the eve of the league is that Dutch striker Robin van Persie, the league’s top scorer last season with 37 goals, has quit Arsenal to join United for a reported fee of 24 million pounds ($36.2 million).
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he had to trade the 29-year-old because he only had a year remaining on his contract and he had refused to sign a new one.
Arsenal though have already made some key signings. They brought in German striker Lukas Podolski from Cologne and also last season’s French league top scorer Olivier Giroud from Montpellier.
The Gunners, who are also expecting to lose midfielder Alex Song to Barcelona, have roped in Spanish international Santi Carzola.
Chelsea have also made changes to their squad. They would be without their prolific striker Didier Drogba, who left in the summer to join Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua. The London club though made some big buys.
Belgian Eden Hazard joined the Blues in a deal worth 32 million pounds. He will be joined by German Marko Marin and another promising Brazilian youngster Oscar dos Santos Emboaba.
In the last ten years, Manchester United won the title five times, Chelsea thrice, Arsenal once and Manchester City their first last year.
The last 10 winners of the English league:
2011-12 - Manchester City
2010-11 - Manchester United
2009-10 - Chelsea
2008-09 - Manchester United
2007-08 - Manchester United
2006-07 - Manchester United
2005-06 - Chelsea
2004-05 - Chelsea
2003-04 - Arsenal
2002-03 - Manchester United
- French striker Olivier Giroud joins Arsenal - Jun 26, 2012
- Manchester United stay in hunt as Chelsea suffer setback - Dec 27, 2011
- Man City ready to give 30 million pound to get Sanchez - Apr 16, 2011
- Chelsea aims to finally win Champions League this season: Anelka - Aug 07, 2010
- Arsenal agree 12.8m pound deal for Giroud - Jun 19, 2012
- Chelsea posses best attack of Premier League: Ancelotti - Apr 02, 2011
- Nicolas Anelka signs with China's Shanghai Shenhua - Dec 12, 2011
- Chelsea must win 15 of 17 games left to stay in Premiere League title hunt: Ancelotti - Jan 15, 2011
- Ferguson at risk of another FA rap over referee 'conspiracy' comment - May 02, 2011
- Blackburn Rovers to play Pune FC in exhibition match - Jul 13, 2011
- Shanghai Shenhua confirms contract with Drogba - Jun 19, 2012
- Chelsea get tricky draw; Madrid, City in group of death - Aug 31, 2012
- Ancelotti refuses to speak about his Blues future - Apr 21, 2011
- Blackburn's Yakubu set to join Chinese club Guangzhou - Jun 19, 2012
- Anelka's Chinese league debut ends in loss - Mar 17, 2012
Tags: arsenal manager arsene wenger, bookies, daily mail, english premier league, european champion, french league, gunners, ladbrokes, last game, lukas podolski, manager arsene wenger, manchester city, queens park, queens park rangers, robin van persie, scudamore, second choice, seven games, stoppage time, william hill