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Can City Bounce Back From Opening Day Loss to Retain Title?

Charlie Mullan for Bookies.com

Charlie Mullan  | 4 mins

Can City Bounce Back From Opening Day Loss to Retain Title?

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Premier League Title Odds

Tip Odds
Manchester City 11/10 with bet365
Chelsea 7/2 with William Hill
Liverpool 9/2 with 888
Manchester United 6/1 with Spreadex

The Premier League returned with a bang last weekend with Manchester City getting their title defence off to a losing start with a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham. It was the third time in the history of the league that the champions opened their campaign with a defeat after Leicester in 2016 and Chelsea the following season.

Pep Guardiola’s side started the season as 4/6 favourites to win back-to-back titles for the second time in five seasons, and despite their loss and impressive wins by their rivals, City remain favourites for the title at 11/10. City were on course for a quadruple last season before settling for the Premier League title and the Carabao Cup. Can City land the quadruple this season?

Champions League holders Chelsea are second-favourites at 7/2 with William Hill to win the title after starting their campaign by beating Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. Liverpool, boosted by the return of Virgil van Dijk, cruised to a 3-0 win at Norwich and can be backed at 9/2 while Manchester United are 6/1 following their emphatic 5-1 over Leeds at Old Trafford.

Son Heung-Min’s only goal in north London on Sunday was the perfect start for new manager Nuno Espirito Santo who returns to Wolves this weekend where Spurs are favourites to make it back-to-back wins. Tottenham prevented City from registering a record 11th successive opening day win and they will hope to buck a trend that has emerged in the Premier League in recent seasons.

Champions Tend To Start With A Win

Before City’s loss at Spurs, the previous eight Premier League champions got their title-winning campaigns up and running with a win and that includes all five seasons in which City top of the table. 

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This is the 30th Premier League season and only three times has a team recovered from losing their first game to be crowned champions. On each of those three occasions - all away from home - it was Manchester United who bounced back to claim the title.

Bounce Back Champions:

  • 1992/93 Manchester United lost 2-1 at Sheffield United
  • 1995/96 Manchester United lost 3-1 at Aston Villa
  • 2012/13 Manchester United lost 1-0 at Everton

The most famous of those defeats came in August 1995 when Aston Villa beat a youthful United side 3-1 at Villa Park. The loss led to Alan Hansen’s famous quote on Match of the Day that “you can’t win anything with kids”. Those kids, who included David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, made the pundit eat his words by winning the title by four points from Newcastle.

There have been 29 champions crowned in the Premier League era and 68.9 per cent of them have got off to winning starts. Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Leicester City hope they can be the ninth champion in a row to win their first fixture.

Pep Won't Panic Just Yet

City won’t be pressing the panic button following a rare opening day defeat and will hope to pick up their first three points of the campaign in their home opener against Norwich on Saturday.

City will hope to avoid the start made by their neighbours United in 1992 when after three matches, the Red Devils had just one point on the board. However, one defeat in their final 16 games meant it was Manchester United’s name that was the first to be engraved on the new trophy.

The champions are still hoping to sign Tottenham's Harry Kane before the transfer window closes at the end of August. If Kane does make the switch, he will be the fifth City player to be involved in the final of Euro 2020 along with Kyle Walker, John Stones, Raheem Sterling and fellow new signing Jack Grealish.

Once they get up to full match fitness, Guardiola will hope normal service resumes. City's matches before the end of September are ranked as the seventh most difficult based on last season's final league positions.

About the Author

Charlie Mullan for Bookies.com
Charlie Mullan
UK-based stats man Charlie Mullan brings previous expertise from the Press Association, DraftKings, Betfair, SportPesa, Hull Daily Mail and more where he has crunched soccer data for many seasons, creating content to support odds providers and market makers in the European betting industry. Charlie has more than a decade of experience using in-depth stats to make informed picks across the biggest games in the EPL and European soccer leagues.