Sheffield United will have an uphill battle as they are the 67/100 favourites in bwin’s Premier League relegation odds.
The Blades, Championship winners Norwich and Aston Villa head into the season with plenty of optimism following promotion as their fans found out who they will face ahead of their return to England’s top-flight.
All three teams start their campaigns away from home and a strong start will be pivotal if they are to retain their Premier League status.
Sheffield United fan Chris Wilder has done wonders since arriving at Bramall Lane as manager, guiding the club from League One to the top flight inside three seasons.
He faces his biggest challenge as a manager when the Premier League powerhouses come to town and their home form will be a huge factor in their fight for survival.
They start their campaign at Bournemouth before Bramall Lane host Crystal Palace and Leicester, with a trip to Chelsea to follow.
Wilder will need to improve the depth and quality of his squad without overhauling it – like Fulham did last season – and with a tight budget, that could prove quite difficult and that is factored into the short odds.
Norwich are in similar situation and open up the season by travelling to Champions League winners Liverpool.
They had one of the smallest budgets in the Championship but Daniel Farke’s attacking brand of football and faith in youth paid dividends as they were crowned league champions and are priced at 83/100 to go down.
And the German was optimistic after the fixture list was released on Thursday, saying: “We are not scared. We want to play against the best teams. We’ve worked extremely hard for his opportunity.”
Aston Villa are deemed to have the best chance to survive – valued at 8/5 – of the three promoted teams but they will have to find replacements for loan stars Axel Tuanzebe, Tyrone Mings and Tammy Abraham, who have all returned to their respective parent clubs.
Potter magic or Brighton to fall?
“The start’s not too bad – you always want to get points on the board as early as possible,” said former Brighton favourite Gary Chivers on the club’s Premier League fixtures.
Chris Hughton was dismissed as Brighton boss following a disappointing campaign which almost resulted in relegation.
It turned into a head-to-head battle between Albion and Cardiff to see who will join Huddersfield and Fulham in the Championship next season and the Seagulls retained their top-flight status courtesy of three draws in the final five matches.
The style of football came into question and, as a result, appointed the highly-rated Graham Potter from Swansea.
His attacking brand will excite Brighton fans but they could only manage 35 goals in 38 matches last season and they could struggle if the untested Potter is out of his depth in the Premier League.
Albion are 2/1 to go down and could be threatened if Villa and Norwich pick up early points. They also face Liverpool and Manchester City in the final five games of the season so a strong start is paramount.
No takeover, no Rafa, no Premier League?
Newcastle were overjoyed at news that owner Mike Ashley was in talks with Dubai-based Bin Zayed Group about selling the club, but it has gone quiet since the initial statements broke out.
In addition, manager Rafael Benitez has yet to sign a new contract – which expires on June 30 – and at the start of the season could be without the Spaniard or new owner.
Benitez has over-performed to get the best out of his Newcastle side and is set to walk away if money is not available to bring in new players.
If that is the case, the Magpies could be an intriguing outside bet to play Championship football next season at a hefty price of 6/1.
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