Leicester still Premier League betting leaders because of rivals’ midweek losses
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | March 3, 2016
If this midweek teaches us one thing about Premier League football, then it’s how much can change in 24 hours.
Leicester luck holds as results go their way
Leaders Leicester City were held 2-2 at home by West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday with Coral moving their odds in the outright betting out to 11/4.
Title rivals Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham all failed to capitalise the following night, however, losing their respective games with Swansea City, Liverpool and West Ham United.
And that has meant the Foxes are once again installed as 13/8 favourites to lift the Premier League trophy, with record pre-tax profits of £26.4m for the year ending May 2015.
Claudio Ranieri’s men see their Cinderella story continues and there are now just 10 games remaining, though the run-in is tough as Leicester face Manchester United away, Everton at home and go to Stamford Bridge to play title holders Chelsea in their final three matches.
Wenger “worrying about results”
Losing 2-1 at home to the Swans has left 10/3 outright chances Arsenal six points adrift of the leaders, and that is cause for concern for Gunners gaffer Arsene Wenger.
“I am worrying about our results,” he said. “We don’t dream. We have to be realistic and come back to what we do well… the basics. The players are very down but we have to respond. We have to focus on our job and remind ourselves that we have some quality as well.”
This season has presented Arsenal with their best chance to end a dozen-year drought without a Premier League title, yet they are now on a four-match winless run in all competitions since thwarting the Foxes 2-1, losing three in a row.
Going forward, the Gunners will be without first-choice stopper Petr Cech because of a hamstring problem. A north London derby date with Spurs is next for Wenger’s men, but they too missed a big opportunity…
Pochettino progress checked by Hammer blow
Had Tottenham taken the spoils from another cross-capital clash with West Ham, then they would be sitting pretty at the top of the table. In-form Hammers winger Michail Antonio had other ideas, however.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team are now 2/1 chances to take the title, but he could not hide his disappointment at Spurs losing ground on the Foxes. “I think we made some mistakes that we normally don’t make,” he said.
“We are very disappointed. The Premier League is very competitive, with no easy games. You need to be 100 per cent mentally and physically.”
Tottenham are a young team packed full of talent, which if unmolested by summer swoops, finally look capable of being consistent challengers at the business end of a Premier League season.
Manchester duo now level
While Man City saw their Capital One Cup penalty shoot-out triumph emphatically avenged by Liverpool, rivals Man Utd moved level on points with the Etihad outfit courtesy of Juan Mata’s winning free-kick against Watford.
City are notably shorter to regain the Premier League title at 15/2 than the 25/1 price available for the Red Devils in the outright market. Both have a 10-point gap to bridge on Leicester, and retain European commitments, however.
“I could see the team was not recovered from the last week,” said outgoing Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini after his team lost 3-0 to Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.
“We played in the Champions League and League Cup final. The Premier League continues exactly the same all season. Not one team makes the difference.”
This is a season that defies description, leaving pundits’ reputations in tatters, so in the 10 games that remain continue to expect the unexpected.