Manchester City and Liverpool are again set to be involved in a two-horse race for title glory, according to bwin’s Premier League winner predictions.
Last season’s top two both registered smooth victories over the weekend, whereas Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United all dropped points.
City are 2/5 favourites to complete a hat-trick of triumphs after brushing aside Brighton 4-0 at Etihad Stadium, but that win did come at a cost.
The champions’ lack of cover in the central defensive positions was highlighted as Aymeric Laporte suffered a serious-looking knee injury.
With John Stones also missing through injury, midfielder Fernandinho was pressed into action as a makeshift defender.
Nicolas Otamendi is City’s only other senior centre-half following the departure of former captain Vincent Kompany at the end of last season.
Reflecting on Fernandinho’s versatility, Pep Guardiola said: “He is a typical captain, he thinks for the group more than himself.
“He is a guy who is incredibly respected in the locker room and by our staff and that is why he can do it.
“We have an alternative and sometimes when that happens the team unites better and we are going to find solutions to do that.”
Liverpool stayed two points ahead of the Blues after maintaining their perfect start to the new campaign with a 3-0 victory at Burnley and are 9/4.
Jordan Henderson stated: “We come up against different tests each week, so it’s about giving everything every time we go onto the football pitch and we will see where we are at the end of the season.
“We want to continue that form, keep doing the right things, keep working hard as a team. If we do that, we can put on performances like that.”
Spurs and Gunners slip further back
That result left Spurs seven points off the early pace, while the Gunners are five behind Liverpool.
Mauricio Pochettino said: “Overall, the most important thing for us is not the table, not the points, it’s the performance.
“We have recovered the good feelings after Newcastle and a very tough summer – all that happened in these last four weeks. That is the most important.”
Having fought back from 2-0 down, Unai Emery commented: “I think we deserved more. We controlled the second half better than the first half.
“We created a very good atmosphere. The game was amazing for the football, but for us it’s not enough.
“I am very proud of our work, our players and our supporters. We need to continue working to develop the balance defensively.”
Manchester United are out to 100/1 after being held to a 1-1 draw at Southampton, despite facing only 10 men for the final 20 minutes.
“Another game where we’ve deserved to win,” said Harry Maguire. “We’ve created the majority of the chances and we’ve dropped two points, really. The start of our season has been a little bit like that.”
Chelsea are also 100/1 for the title after letting slip a 2-0 lead when drawing 2-2 at home to Sheffield United.
Frank Lampard commented: “The lack of concentration caused mistakes for the goals, but you defend as a team as much as attack.”
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