Manchester United may have relinquished their Premier League crown last season to local rivals Manchester City, but history suggests they will reclaim the trophy this campaign.
The last five times Man United have finished second in the league, they have won it the season after. A repeat performance this term can be backed at 2/1.
However, the last time the previous season’s champions failed to finish in the top two in the next campaign was Man Utd in 2003/04 (3rd), and Roberto Mancini will be hoping to avoid that pitfall this time around.
The two Manchester clubs start as favourites to take the league’s top two positions, and at 5/4, look worth a bet on the dual forecast.
Since 2004/05, there has only been one instance of a team finishing in the top four despite not being in the top five the season before (Tottenham in 2009/10 – eighth previous campaign).
That makes Liverpool’s task of breaking back into the Champions League spots all that much harder, having ended last term eighth despite conceding the fewest shots on target (132).
The Merseyside club also hit the woodwork 33 times in 2011/12, and only league winners Man City had more than Liverpool’s 515 shots.
If Brendan Rodgers’ side manage to get the rub of the green this season, they could be in line for a top four spot – which can be backed at 19/10.
Manager Arsene Wenger may frustrate fans with his claims that a top four finish is akin to winning a trophy, but it cannot be denied that Arsenal’s record of staying within that leading group since the 1994/95 season is impressive.
A similar ‘triumph’ for the Gunners this season is priced at 8/13, while making the top two looks a tad unrealistic considering the North Londoners have finished outside those places in each of their last seven campaigns.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Stats supplied by Opta