Chelsea slipping to third, with Arsenal taking the title conceivable

As Premier League fever grips the nation the BBC have mobilised their army of football pundits to play the prediction game and the overwhelming consensus is that Chelsea will achieve back-to-back titles for the second time under Jose Mourinho.

Out of the 29 experts asked to select the top four as they will stand in the final 2015/16 table, 21 of them went for the Blues.

This standpoint is shared by Ladbrokes, who make Mourinho’s men the 7/4 favourites to retain their crown.

Despite the Arsenal bandwagon rolling along nicely, the 4/1 title-shots were only selected as winners four times across the board, though this was twice more than either Manchester club.

In fact, using all the forecasts across the board, 11/4 second-favourites City actually ranked fourth, behind 11/2 chances United.

The final rundown was 1.Chelsea 2. Arsenal 3.Man United 4. Man City

Without wishing to miss out on the fun, we’ve had a little go ourselves at news.Ladbrokes towers, though it really is a very tricky task and hardly anyone could agree!

1. Arsenal

Petr Cech’s capture cannot be underestimated for Arsene Wenger and looking at a squad that already has a strong cohesion, as shown by an excellent pre-season, the Gunners finally look ready to go to the wire again. They have a solid defence, an embarrassment of riches in midfield and if they can nail down another top striker to supplement the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott, they’ll be hard to stop.

2. Man United

Louis van Gaal has been forced to make a lot of changes at Old Trafford, not least in letting record signing Angel Di Maria skulk off after just one season. However, the Iron Tulip is learning from his mistakes and recruiting some big names this off-season who will fit his system far more snugly. With all the Dutchman’s title-winning experience across the continent and the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger on board, the Red Devils will be far, far stronger.

3. Chelsea

This prediction is sure to be met with huge resistance and understandably so, after all Chelsea strolled to the title last season. However, they have some genuine concerns and as history shows, retaining the Premier League title is a very difficult feat indeed. There’s a slight risk of complacency in Mourinho’s recruitment policy this summer and up front particularly there could be trouble brewing. Diego Costa’s dodgy hamstrings continue to plague him, there is no guarantee Radamel Falcao will rediscover his form and Loic Remy is decent back up but not a title-clinching striker. It’s also surprising that other areas of the squad have not been strengthened while others have left.

4. Man City

Again, Citizens fans will have reason to be outraged, but then again this was the same position that the two-time champions occupied after 29 experts had their say. Up front the prospect of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and David Silva tearing things up is whistle whetting for sure. Nevertheless, it’s in defence where alarm bells sound. Vincent Kompany is no longer at his peak, Martin Demichelis is well past his and Eliaquim Mangala is best described as a bull in a china shop. A pre-season where goals have been leaked for fun is a bad omen, though things will still be uber tight at the top.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.