The World Cup is happening. If you’ve seen the front of a newspaper or caught five minutes of a news broadcast recently, there’s no way you could have missed that fact. The world’s biggest football tournament only happens once every four years, and although Qatar is considered to be a controversial venue for the contest, the eyes of the sporting world are currently on it. Several websites, ours included, have offered their thoughts and insights about who’s likely to win and who’s likely to struggle. We won’t do that again in this article.
Instead, we’re looking at a competition that’s been placed on pause while all of this is going on. This is the first time the English Premier League has ever had a winter break, and it seems like a good point to take stock of what’s happened so far and what’s likely to happen for the rest of the season. The English Premier League is the globe’s most popular domestic football competition, but who’ll be lifting its famous trophy in May? Let’s look a the runners and riders.
The surprise package of this year’s Premier League is Arsenal. The London club is riding high, and because of the break in play, the club will be top of the Premier League at Christmas for the first time in fifteen years. Historically, clubs that lead the pack at Christmas end up fishing on top more times than they don’t. Both history and statistics are on Arsenal’s side. What’s happening at the Emirates Stadium is a credit to both the manager and the board, who’ve stuck to their guns through fierce criticism and are now reaping the rewards. Players like Saliba and Zaka are growing up in front of our eyes, while Gabriel Jesus has given the Gunners the cutting edge up front they’ve been missing for years. Football pundits are waiting for the wheels to fall off the Arsenal bus, but thus far, there’s no sign of it happening.
Manchester City is the team that everybody expects to win the Premier League. That’s understandable. They’ve been champions four out of the past five seasons, and in Pep Guardiola, they have arguably the best coach in the world. They’re the reigning champions, and they’re even more potent in attack this year than they were last year, thanks to the addition of the goalscoring sensation Erling Haaland. The Norwegian striker has scored more goals than he’s played games for the Citizens thus far, prompting pundits to speculate that the tall striker may not be human. In a normal season, City’s form would put them at the top of the league. The problem for them is that they’ve had a couple of minor hiccups, and Arsenal are not having a normal season. The smart money says City will catch and overtake Arsenal in the end, but the smart money isn’t always right. Need we remind you of Leicester City?
Yes, we’re talking about Newcastle United as title contenders. We have to because they’re third in the table and only two points behind Manchester City. The transformation that Newcastle has been through since the club was bought by a Saudi Arabia-based investment firm last year has been nothing short of incredible. It’s easy to say the money has made a difference, but the truth is that Newcastle hasn’t bought any world-beaters. The best signing they’ve made in their new era is that of their manager Eddie Howe, who’s made some incredibly shrewd moves in the transfer market. Bringing in veteran right-back Kieran Trippier and making him captain has lifted the dressing room, and former Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson is banging in goals up front. Bruno Guimaraes is the new star player on Tyneside and looks like a world-beater now, but it’s not like big clubs were looking at him before Newcastle brought him in. Newcastle won’t win the league, but they might qualify for the Champions League – and that would be a huge achievement.
Tottenham Hotspur goes into the Christmas break in fourth position in the table and two points behind Manchester City. That’s about as much as can be expected of Spurs, who aren’t seriously fancied for the title. Antonio Conte was brought in as coach to turn Spurs into title contenders, but this is his first full season in charge, and it’s a time of transition at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Spurs are, undoubtedly, better under Conte than they were before he arrived. Their upturn in form is probably enough to persuade star striker Harry Kane to sign a new contract, and so long as Kane’s kept and Conte sticks around, we could see Spurs becoming a threat next time. This season is likely to be a bridge too far, but like Newcastle, they would be thrilled to secure a place in the Champions League.
If you haven’t checked in on the Premier League for a while, you’re probably wondering where Liverpool is. We can answer that. They gambled, and they lost. That’s a little ironic for a football club that has an official online slots game, but there’s even a lesson in that, because casino comparison websites say that the official Liverpool FC casino game isn’t as popular as it used to be. Liverpool’s owners FSG have been trying to make a low-investment model work for a few years now, but their refusal to spend big money to replace Sadio Mane when he departed over the summer has cost them in a big way. Liverpool’s squad is getting old and in need of reinforcements. If it really were a casino game, you’d walk away from it. The only good news for Liverpool fans is that the club is now for sale, and new, more generous owners may come in for it. The club sits sixth in the table.
The title race is likely to come down to a two-horse race between Manchester City and Arsenal, and although the romantic in us would love to see Arsenal make it, cold, hard reality says City will overhaul them in the long run. Manchester City is our pick for yet another title victory. Coming back to what we said earlier about casino sites when we were talking about Liverpool, it would be City that we’d put our money on if we were making a bet. If you’re making a bet of your own, don’t forget to compare casinos and betting sites by using Sister-Site.co.uk before laying your money down – that way, you can be sure that you’re getting the best odds. A lot of fans like to put their money where their mouth is when they’re predicting football results, but make sure you’re getting the best deal when you do!
As for those of you wondering why we haven’t mentioned Manchester United, who sit fifth, that’s because there’s no chance of a Red Devils title win this year, and it’s a miracle they’re above Liverpool at all. New boss Erik Ten Hag will be given time to stamp his authority on the team, and the ugly split with Cristiano Ronaldo is a sure sign that the board is backing its manager rather than big-name players with equally big egos. Like Liverpool, Manchester United is for sale. The turmoil at Old Trafford will continue for a while, and finishing in the top four would be considered a good result in the circumstances.