Premier League preview, November 19th 2016

Reds storm to the top of the Premier League with emphatic win

Watford hit for six at Anfield as Liverpool charge on

Liverpool ended round 11 as Premier League leaders following the emphatic 6-1 destruction of Watford at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds took just 27-minutes to turn their dominance into a lead, scoring the opening goal through an eye-catching Sadio Mane header after a host of failed attempts. The hosts never looked back, extending their lead courtesy of strikes from Philippe Coutinho and Emre Can before the break while Roberto Firmino, a second from Mane, and a Georginio Wijnnaldum goal added a bit of sparkle to the result.

Daryl Janmaat hit a consolation late in the day that did nothing to dent the victor’s enthusiasm, but it is worth noting that Liverpool have now kept their opponents at bay just once this season.

Is the long wait for success at an end?

Despite ranking as the second most successful team in Premier League history on 18 top-tier wins, two behind Manchester United, Liverpool fans have not celebrated a league title since way back in 1990. Bookmakers are certainly treating their chances seriously however and they shape as 11/4 second-favourites with Betfair to end 27 years of hurt.

A top-four finish, and return to Champions League football, is a foregone conclusion according to the odds with no more than bet365’s 1/5 currently doing the rounds. Senegalese attacker Sadio Mane is now bang in the mix to be the league’s top scorer following his double last time out and William Hill are offering fans a massive 33/1 on him ending up on top of the pile come the final count.

Blues fans can count on Conte

Done almost under the radar, in stark contrast to the way they handled themselves during the Mourinho years, Chelsea have clubbed together a five-match winning run and now rate as Liverpool’s main challengers in second-place.

The Blues, beaten by Liverpool and Arsenal in September, have returned to form, and then some, beating Hull, Leicester, Man Utd, Southampton and Everton, all without conceding a goal. While keeping things water-tight at the back, the Londoners have opened the flood-gates at the other end, scoring 16 of their own during that period, with a 5-0 cheer over Everton at Stamford Bridge put up before the international break.

Plenty of work still to be done

A double from Eden Hazard, as well as strikes from Marcos Alonso, Diego Costa and Perdro secured the points with plenty to spare, and they can be found on 25-points, one off the pace set by Liverpool.

They travel to recently-promoted Middlesbrough on Sunday and are 29/20 with Coral to bag three points without conceding a goal again, which must be given serious consideration on the back of their recent form. Chelsea to last the pace and win the league? Well it’s not the most likely outcome according to traders who offer a market best price 3/1 (bet365).

Citizens to arrest another title

Pre-season favourites for the Premier League title, Man City, have stuck to their end of the bargain so far, boasting a record of seven wins, three draws and just one defeat, coming courtesy of a 2-0 against Spurs last month.

Pep Guardiola’s men seem determined to do things the hard way however and travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday as 4/7 favourites with Coral to win the match, despite earning just one victory in their last five. Draws with Everton, Southampton and Middlesbrough, as well as a win over West Brom, have all followed that loss to Spurs, and that’s far from convincing form.

It certainly wouldn’t prompt punters to rush out and back them to win the league, especially with 9/4 (Betfair) the best price you will currently find. It’s by no means beyond them, but they don’t look like short-priced favourites to me at present.

Black Cats bad luck continues

At the opposite end of the table and you can’t help but feel for the way David Moyes’ career has gone in recent times. The Scotsman, once introduced as the future of Manchester United, now finds himself in charge of Sunderland who are rock-bottom of the Premier League and 2/5 favourites with William Hill for relegation.

The Black Cats did boost their chances with a 2-1 win over Bournemouth last time out, thanks to goals from Victor Anichebe and Jermain Defoe, despite playing the last half-hour with 10-men following the dismissal of Pienaar for a second bookable offence.

That was their first win of the season and they will target another maximum pay-out when hosting fellow strugglers Hull this weekend at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland have six points to make up on West Ham and safety however and face Liverpool, Chelsea and Man United in their next six.