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Everyone and their dog will be glued to the action in the World Cup over the next month, but you can guarantee that the people behind-the-scenes of Europe’s top clubs will be making preparations for the kick-off of the domestic season in mid-August. We know, of course, that there will be plenty of big transfers after the business has been wrapped up in Russia, which will obviously result in a few expensive flops. However, we can still make a few bold(ish) predictions for the new season ahead. Here are five that could fit the bill:
While that might not seem like such a bold statement, it should be when you consider Los Blancos have won the last three and four out of the last five Champions Leagues. Madrid are favourites with some bookmakers (4/1 Sportingbet), but Manchester City have been given the nod by the majority of betting companies (5/1 with several major bookies). Despite having bags loads of talent at his disposal, new coach Julen Lopetegui. may have a rebuild on his hands. Ronaldo, Benzema, Modric and a few others are getting on in years - a transition period could be on the cards at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Manchester City are odds-on with every betting company (best-priced 4/6 with William Hill) to win the Premier League next season. Indeed, it’s the first season in recent times that sees the bookies go so firmly on a favourite. Liverpool, however, were at times spectacular last season and look like a steal at 5/1, especially considering the shrewd transfer business they have already completed this simmer.
While Liverpool were rightly lauded as one of the most exciting attacking forces in Europe last season, but they still couldn’t match Lazio’s haul of 89 league goals. Lazio, who effectively threw away a Champions League spot by not winning any of their last three games, look a decent shout for the Europa League (25/1 odds with Bet Victor). The key is keeping hold of Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. If can do that, plus add a few savvy signings, they could be back in the European elite.
Last season, Norwich struggled in the EFL Championship, but they always give the impression of being a much better team than their league position showed. They have already stolen a march on some of their Championship rivals for next season, bagging Emiliano Buendia from Getafe who could prove to be a bargain. Bet365 go 7/1 that Norwich get promoted next season (25/1 to win the Championship) - watch the Canaries fly next season.
A year ago, this prediction would be nowhere near a shock. The Clarets confounded the odds and pundits by finishing 7th last season. The problem is, however, that all the metrics suggest Burnley should have finished lower in the table than they did. Luck usually evens out over the course of a season, but Burnley did ride theirs at times last year. They also have to cope with a Europa League schedule this season. A small squad could struggle, even under someone as competent as Sean Dyche. 4/1 (Bet365) they say goodbye to the big time.