Last season’s Premier League relegation candidates Stoke City are 2018- 19’s English Championships were favourites at odd of 6-1 but have now slid down to 20/1! Players like winger Xerdan Shaqiri and mid-fielder Ramadan Sobhi leaving for Liverpool and Huddersfield Town have clearly not helped. The Potters have brought in a new manager Gary Rowett and one of the foremost things he will have to do is mend the defence. Stoke conceded as many as 68 goals in the 2017-18 Premier League season, which is considerably more than the other two relegated teams, West Bromwich and Swansea City’s 56 each. The arrival of Bruno Martins Indi from Porto and Kevin Wimmer from Tottenham for a combined tag of £25 million should address some of Rowett’s concerns at the back. The Potter’s still have English international goal-keeper Jack Butland which should come as a comfort and also names like Ryan Shawcross and Kurt Zouma in defence. The attack isn’t all that bad with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Mame Biram Diouf and Peter Crouch in it. The Potters look a good outsider chance to turn things around and are worth a top 4 or each way bet.
Middlesbrough another contender for the Championship title. Tony Pulis who has been the manager since December 2017 has brought in center-backs Paddy McNair and Aden Flint from Sunderland and Bristol City, acquired for a combined £12 million with a view to shore up the defence. The attack will be spearheaded by strikers Martin Braithwaite and Ashley Fletcher. Middlesbrough’s pre-season hasn’t got off to as bright a start as West Brom’s, losing in three of their six games since July. Bookmakers have wagered odds of 9/2 on Middlesbrough to win the Championship.
West Bromwich Albion are also contenders for the Championship title at 8-1. The exit of players like Jonny Evans, Ben Foster, and Claudio Yacob have dealt The Baggies a severe blow. Under coach Darren Moore, the West Midlands team has had a dream run of sorts. Despite finishing at the bottom of the table in 2017-18, they went through a six-match finishing spell in which they lost just one game. Compare that to the run of 8 defeats under manager Alan Pardew before that. The Baggies have been unbeaten in all of their 5 friendlies this year and won four of them. One of Moore’s most significant signings is goal-keeper Sam Johnstone for £6.5 million from Manchester United. The 25-year-old has not made a senior appearance for United but spent the 2017-18 season on loan at Aston Villa. Center forward, Dwight Gayle, on loan from Newcastle will be a boost to the West Brom attack that already has the likes of Jay Rodriguez, Hal Robson-Kanu and Belgium World Cup participant Nacer Chadli.
Swansea with odds at a huge 40/1 are another ex premier league huge outsider. For coach Graham Potter it will be his first assignment on English soil having spent a stellar stint with Swedish club Ostersunds. The Swans had a terrible finish to the 2017-18 Premier League season, losing 5 games straight under ex-manager Carlos Carvalhal. The Swans have been jolted by goal-keeper Lukasz Fabianski’s exit to West Ham United for £7 million and another blow to the defence in the form of Kyle Bartley’s departure to West Bromwich, sold for £15 million. The attack has Wilfried Bony as striker and backed by Leroy Fer, Tom Carroll and Nathan Dyer in the midfield.
Nottingham Forest coach Aitor Karanka has aggressively gone in for signings roping in mid-fielder Joao Carvalho for £13 million from Benfica, forward Lewis Grabban from Bournemouth and Hillal Soudani from Dinamo Zagreb for undisclosed sums. The advent of Newcastle midfielder Jack Colback on loan will give their Championship campaign a further boost. Forest had begun the year in splendid fashion winning 4 of their 6 friendlies since July, however they have performed poorly at the start of the season and are presently mid-table. At odds of 20-1, Forest are another huge outside bet.
Recommended Tip: Middleborough to WIN @ 5.5 Paddypower
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