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Premier League in 2021: How is the season shaping up?

With the Premier League 2020–21 season about to hit a halfway point, Peter Watton, from matched betting experts , takes a look at how the table is starting to take shape and which sides are odds-on for success and failure.


The 2020–21 Premier League is almost half-done, and we’re at the point where some teams begin to emerge as real candidates for the title, European qualification, and relegation. So far, there have been a lot of surprises, both positive and negative, in what has been an unprecedented season unfolding under global pandemic conditions.

As we move into the second half of the season, there will certainly be a few teams to watch as they work hard to either continue their fantastic form or try to turn a sinking ship around. With this in mind, I’m going to take a look at a few key areas in the League table to see how things are shaping up.

Who is challenging for the title?

  • Man City — 5/4
  • Liverpool — 7/4
  • Man Utd — 7/1
  • Tottenham —16 /1
  • Leicester — 40/1

The title race is starting to hot up, but it’s not turning out to be the one-horse race it was in 2019–20. After their fantastic performance last year, Liverpool are again leading the pack, though in mixed form when you compare their points tally to how they progressed in 2020. After 16 games (at the time of writing), the Reds sit on 33 points — 13 fewer than they had picked up previously. The main cause of this that many people will point to is the huge injury crisis the club has been dealing with that has seen various key players side-lined, particularly in defence.

At the moment, the bookies are actually giving the edge to Man City in the title race, who — after a shaky start — are in a rich vein of form. They simply haven’t faced the same level of disruption as the reigning champions, and also still look leaps and bounds ahead of the chasing pack. Man Utd are the side that have improved most this year, and actually have a sliver of a lead over Man City, but most experts are tipping them to fall away at some point thanks to their still unconvincing defensive record.

Tottenham and Leicester are the outsiders the bookmakers are backing in their top five picks, and both are certainly capable of putting together a good run of form. The biggest disappointment so far has definitely been Chelsea, who are currently stuttering in 8th place despite outspending every club in the league over the summer. The pressure is now on manager Frank Lampard to steer them back towards the top of the table.

Who is going to be the best of the rest?

The top half of the current Premier League table is still very tight, with just 3 points separating Spurs in 4th from West Ham in 10th. At this precarious point, it’s going to be common for those teams in and around the European spots to switch places on a regular basis until one or two drop away. The surprise packages around these positions are definitely Aston Villa and Southampton, who’ve both shown great form to put past season’s relegation battles behind them.

In the mid-table mix, typically strong sides like Arsenal, Chelsea, and Wolves are looking to improve in the back half of the season, so I would expect at least one or two of these sides to put together a strong run and edge out a few of the teams above them. If things don’t improve for these clubs, we may see a change of management before the summer.

The real wild card in mid-table is Marco Bielsa’s ultra-offensive Leeds side in 12th, who seem to play every single match on a knife edge of winning spectacularly or disintegrating defensively. On their day, they’re good enough to beat anyone in the league, so if they hit upon a strong run of form, they could easily begin to trouble the European places. However, they could just as easily implode and end up in a serious relegation battle.

Who is heading for relegation?

  • Sheffield Utd — 1/16
  • West Brom — 2/11
  • Fulham — 5/6
  • Brighton — 7/2
  • Burnley — 7/2
  • Newcastle — 4/1
  • Crystal Palace — 10/1

At this point in the season, there’s usually a prime candidate for relegation. This year, that team is Sheffield Utd. With just 2 points from seventeen games, the Blades are adrift by 12 points already, and they’ve looked hapless when trying to avoid defeat in recent matches. It is a long way to fall from the giddy heights that the club was experiencing before lockdown last year, but they’ve been woeful since the Premier League returned and that poor form has continued over the summer. Without even a single win, they are overwhelmingly tipped by the bookies for relegation this season.

West Brom are another struggling team that are sitting 6 points adrift in 19th. The bookies certainly fancy them for the drop, but they’ve recently hired Sam Allardyce, who has an outstanding record for revitalizing out-of-form teams and dragging them out of relegation, so some fans hold out hope. Also in some trouble are Fulham, Brighton, and Burnley, who are expected to battle it out to avoid that last relegation place. Newcastle and Crystal Palace are considered outside chances but are expected to do what each club does best — getting just enough points to avoid trouble.

So, with half of the Premier League season gone, there’s still clearly plenty to play for before the summer. While it’s looking like it could be a two-horse race at the top and bottom respectively, there may be some twists and turns to keep us all entertained through the winter and spring.