To Finish in the Bottom Half - Leicester City

Football - Barclays Premier League - 21 May 15:00

An outright tip for the coming season, I'm backing Leicester to finish in the bottom half of the league come the end of the 2016/17 season at best odds of 3.75 with Betfair.

No disrespect to Leicester, what they did last season was unbelievable and a great example of what can be achieved through teamwork. However, I was always keen to oppose them this season due to the bookies inevitable 'knee-jerk' reaction. Let's be honest, imagine bookeis offering this price at the start of last season, it would be snapped up. I don't think Leicester will be able to emulate last season's success.

They are around 33/1 to win the league this season. I really hope no one has backed them at that price. From 5000/1 to 33/1 is some variance, and in no way is it value.

One of the main reasons I'm keen to oppose them is the Champions League. Playing those high intensity games midweek will no doubt take its toll on Leicester's players. Given how much of a big deal this is for Leicester, I have no doubt that Ranieri will play his strongest teams for these games. I don't think Leicester have anywhere near enough depth to try and compete in this competition and the Premier League.

A perfect example of this is Newcastle United. When they finished 5th in the 2011/12 season they qualified for the Europa League. During the campaign in the 2012/13 they had to travel to Russia and all over Europe. Even though Pardew often played a rotated squad, he bemoaned the number of air miles his players picked up over the season and it was no coincidence that we finished 16th that season.

Leicester will go into this as a top seeded team, which means they will avoid the likes of Barcelona, Bayern etc. However, even if they do compete - there is the possibility of finishing 3rd and dropping into the Europa League, yet more air miles. I really think they will struggle with these extra games, last season they were solely focused on the league. It wouldn't surprise me if Mahrez and Vardy burn out at some point, especially if they both represent their country throughout the season - as would be expected.

I know some of you will be thinking, well surely Leicester know that they need more depth, so they could sign a load of players between now and then. This is true, but again there are question marks over this. They've lost Kante to Chelsea for £32m, which is a massive loss - I don't need to sit here and tell you how influential he was because all fans know that already. It's a big plus that Mahrez and Vardy have committed to Leicester. However, as I write this, Everton have just signed Leicester's Steve Walsh, who was an assistant and head of recruitment. He played a major role in signing Drinkwater, Mahrez, Kante, Fuchs and Vardy - all absolutely vital to their league win. With him gone, there's no guarantee that they will have the knowledge to sign such quality players again.

So far they've signed Ahmed Musa from CSKA (ST), Mendy from Nice (CM/CDM), Zieler from Hannover (GK) and Hernandez from Gijon (CB). So although they've signed some cover in every position, the majority are unproven. You never know what you will get from the Russian and French leagues. Doumbia scored for fun at CSKA, and was impressive in the Champions League. He went to Roma and was awful - his fitness wasn't up to scratch for a top European league. Even when he was at Newcastle he wasn't fit enough to start a single game in about 4 months. These players could come good, or they could flop. They're unproven.

Last season was a bit of a fluke. There was a bit of a power vacuum at the top of the table, and one which Leicester took advantage of. Chelsea were dire under Mourinho, Pellegrini's days were numbered at Man City, van Gaal never looked inspiring at Man Utd, Spurs couldn't quite keep their run going, Arsenal never look a real threat to the title anymore under Wenger and Liverpool were also in managerial no-mans land for a large part of the season.

This season however, looks the most competitive ever. Mourinho has a fresh start at United, already made some big signings in Ibrahimovic and Pogba on the cards. Conte has taken the reigns at Chelsea, a tactical master who showed his class with Italy at the Euros. Pep Guardiola to City - a man who's won titles for fun at Bayern and Barca, and Klopp looking to make his mark on Liverpool with a full pre-season behind him. And then there's Spurs who are still solid, and West Ham who have moved to a new stadium and on the verge of signing a goalscoring striker (Carlos Bacca). So if you include Arsenal in that list, there's 7 teams you'd be very surprised not to see in the top 10.

After that you've got the likes of Stoke (interested in signing Berahino and Joe Allen), Everton (new manager), Southampton, and even Crystal Palace who have made waves already in this transfer market by signing French keeper Mandanda from Marseille, Tomkins from West Ham and Townsend from Newcastle. With all the TV money that's come in, teams are spending big and it looks the most competitive season ever. Even teams like Middlesbrough have made some big signings in Negredo, Victor Valdes and Barragan - don't be surprised to see them shock a few. All of this makes me really happy to oppose Leicester.

I don't think one season defines how good a team is. There will be a lot of hype around Leicester this season, in both the PL and the CL - I will be really interested to see how they get on, but I will take odds of 3.75 all day for them to finish in the bottom half. Max stake for that reason. As short as 2.62 with Skybet.
SDPW +1025.55
Stake: 30 3.60BoyleSports
Bets Placed

SW (+10,164.29) bet £30.00 on this tip.


CJ (+2,883.52) bet £20.00 on this tip.


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