At some point or other, someone would have told you that the Premier League is a marathon and not a sprint.
Of course, this is true in almost every situation as the world’s most competitive football league meanders through nine months, four seasons, and makes up 38 grueling games. In this sense, you can see why this is a phrase that is repeated so often when talking about any possible outcome in England’s top flight.
The 2022/2023 season, however, could be over before it ever began which is why it’s perhaps best to disregard this particular one-liner over the summer.
Indeed, Manchester City’s tame opening fixtures will hand them a huge title advantage, which frankly, they probably don’t need as the latest betting markets will indicate with the latest football odds pricing Pep Guardiola’s men at 4/7 to make it a hat-trick of Premier League trophies.
Now, you would have to say that this is a generous price when considering that City could well win the opening six games of the season and incredibly, open up a gap at the top of the table before the autumn solstice arrives.
Our 22/23 @premierleague fixture schedule in full! 📆⚽️
— Manchester City (@ManCity) June 16, 2022
Indeed, City will play West Ham, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, and Aston Villa, before their very first test of the season arrives in the shape of Tottenham Hotspur coming to the Etihad Stadium on September the 10th.
The clash with Antonio Conte’s men aside, you do get the feeling that City could rack up 18 points from their opening six fixtures with no team realistically looking capable of causing the Premier League’s reigning champions too much trouble.
Perhaps, if pressed, you could point to the world’s richest club, Newcastle, potentially giving City a bloody nose at St James’ Park on the 20th of August but then you have to keep in mind that Guardiola’s charges have netted eight goals in their last two trips to Tyneside.
Put another way, they don’t tend to struggle when the Toon host them which, again, means that City are well set up to enjoy a maximum points return before the visit of Spurs.
— Erling Haaland (@ErlingHaaland) June 13, 2022
City’s title challengers set to struggle
By contrast, nearest title rivals Liverpool have to go to Old Trafford on matchday three and you would expect the Red Devils to put up a much-improved fight under the management of new boss Erik ten Hag.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have to host a rejuvenated Spurs on matchday two which will be far from straightforward as a determined Conte returns to Stamford Bridge. Furthermore, at odds of 12/5 on a Spurs win, you do get the sense that this will be a fixture where value can be found with Chelsea a bit at sea following the departure of former owner Roman Abramovich.
In general, however, you can all of a sudden see that City have been handed seemingly safe passage until mid-September which should ensure they enjoy some kind of points advantage after six games. In reality, that may be all the Premier League champions need to ride off into the sunset for the third year in a row.