The first half of the English Premier League season has been filled with surprises, and if things continue this way, we should be in for a ton of transfer fun when the market opens again in just over a month. Defending champions Chelsea have been, by far, the biggest disappointment this year, sitting 16th in the table, just two spots away from the relegation zone. While picking on the Blues has become old hat, let’s be honest, the narratives between Jose Mourinho, his players, the press, and the fans will never get boring.
But we’re not here to dwell on the disappointments. With the cold of winter just around the corner, let’s have a look at the hotter teams in the EPL and reset the odds to win the 2015-16 tourney. (If juxtaposition is your jam, go here to compare and contrast with the odds from last time.)
2015-16 EPL Title Odds (as of Nov. 18, 2015)
Manchester City (10/11): The Citizens (8-2-2, 26 points) are on top in the standings and haven’t lost since late September, when they were routed 4-1 by Tottenham. City have shown they can win the EPL title but need striker Sergio Aguero back. The Argentinian is the ultimate difference maker for the team.
Arsenal (7/4): Arsenal (8-2-2, 26 points) are tied atop the table with City, and most people are surprised that the Gunners are still in the mix after two months. Balanced and well-coached, Arsene Wenger’s team will begin to convince the doubters if they can stay level with City into the New Year. The team has almost been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League already; when they are, the EPL will become the sole focus. It remains to be seen whether that is a benefit in the long run.
Manchester United (6/1): Manchester United (7-3-2, 24 points) are only two points behind Man City and Arsenal in the standings despite only scoring 17 goals in 12 matches. Manager Louis Van Gaal is proving to be a defensive mastermind who plans games as if the survival of mankind depends on it. His team has given up an EPL-best eight goals, just 0.6 per game, but three of those came in a crucial 3-0 setback to Arsenal last month. Going forward, they’ll need to get the better of the teams above them to have a real shot at the title.
Tottenham (50/1): Spurs (5-6-1, 21 points) are filled with talented young players who have extremely bright futures. But, sadly for the Tottenham faithful, their biggest impacts will probably come a few years down the road … while wearing new jerseys. Just like Manchester United, Tottenham emphasize defense, giving up just ten goals in 12 matches (while scoring 20). The stellar defense has kept the loss column pretty clean (Spurs have lost just one game this season), but they’ve had to settle for a single point six times already, by far the most among the top teams in the standings.
Liverpool (66/1): Liverpool (4-5-3, 17 points) hit the jackpot after parting ways with manager Brendan Rodgers, as the team was able to lure German manager Jürgen Klopp. However, Rodgers was only let go because the Reds already dug themselves a nine-point deficit in the standings. That’s not an insurmountable lead, but they’ll need a monster effort in the next few weeks to keep themselves within striking distance in the second half of the season.
Chelsea (80/1): It’s crazy to look at the table and see Chelsea (3-2-7, 11 points) in 16th spot, only three points above 18th-place Bournemouth. Jose Mourinho will find himself out of a job if he doesn’t fix things quickly. It’s unlikely owner Roman Abramovich expects a Champions League ticket for next season, but “Mou” needs to show his players still believe in him.
Leicester (250/1): Like Southampton at the start of last year, Leicester (7-4-1, 25 points) are the surprise team of the year so far. While they likely won’t be able to sustain their current pace, they are in third place at the moment, just one point behind the Citizens and Gunners. That’s good enough to get a mention in the EPL futures. The Foxes have been dynamic on offense in the early going, averaging over two goals per game (25 goals through 12 matches), second only to City.
- Southampton: 500/1
- West Ham: 500/1
- Everton: 750/1
- Crystal Palace: 1000/1
- Stoke City: 1000/1
- Swansea: 1000/1
- West Brom: 1500/1
- Aston Villa: 3000/1
- Newcastle: 3500/1
- Bournemouth: 4500/1
- Norwich: 4500/1
- Sunderland: 4500/1
- Watford: 4500/1
(Photo credit: Stuart Grout (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)