Premier challengers fluff their opening lines
PUNTERS who thought the Premier League title race would be all about the two Manchester colubs and Chelsea will have felt vindicated as a host of hopefuls fluffed their lines on opening day.
Arsenal, still reeling from Robin van Persie’s defection to Manchester United, were left frustrated with a goalless home draw against Sunderland and Tottenham were beaten at Newcastle after a late Hatem Ben Arfa penalty sealed a 2-1 win for the Magpies.
Liverpool started life under Brendon Rodgers with a dismal 3-0 defeat at West Brom.
Ladbrokes reacted by trimming Manchester City’s title odds from 5-4 to 6-5 and Manchester United’s from 2-1 to 7-4.
There was an immediate drift in Arsenal’s outright price from 14-1 to 16-1, not helped by the news that the north London club have agreed a fee with Barcelona for midfielder Alex Song, while Liverpool were pushed out from 16-1 to 25-1.
It was a disastrous start for Brendan Rodgers, who has been cut from 8-1 to 4-1 with Ladbrokes to have left Liverpool before Christmas.
But his former club Swansea got off to a stunning start under their new gaffer Michael Laudrup, winning 5-0 at QPR.
The Swans were eased from 7-4 to 5-2 in BetVictor’s relegation betting, while Norwich were cut by the same firm from 6-4 to 6-5after suffering a 5-0 reverse at Fulham.
West Ham carried their momentum from last season’s Championship play-off success by winning 1-0 at home to Aston Villa but fellow top-flight new boys Reading needed a late penalty from Adam Le Fondre to rescue a 1-1 draw against Stoke.
Leicester are the new 7-1 favourites for the Championship after a 2-0 victory at home to Peterborough.
They have replaced Bolton, who were eased to 8-1 to 7-1 after they lost 2-0 at Burnley.