Premier League Review: Leicester benefit after leaders slip up

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers' Leicester are one point behind the leaders

With Tottenham and Liverpool both dropping points, Leicester were the biggest winners this weekend and they lead Charlie Mullan's Premier League odds review...

"In Leicester's title-winning season, they had 25 points after 12 games. This season they have 24 and are right in the middle of the title race and they can be backed at 42.041/1 to win their second Premier League title in six seasons"

1) Maddison double has Leicester back in title race

The good thing about playing in the final fixture of the weekend means players and managers know how their rivals have done. Leicester knew joint-leaders Tottenham and Liverpool dropped points on the road to Crystal Palace and Fulham respectively, and a win for the Foxes would move them to within a point of their rivals. 

By half-time of Leicester's home game against Brighton, the three points were secured. Two goals by James Maddison either side of Jamie Vardy's tenth league goal of the season left the Seagulls with a mountain to climb. Vardy remains in the mix for the Golden Boot award and can be backed at 5.39/2 to be the league's leading scorer.

When Leicester shocked the football world to win the Premier League as 5,000/1 outsiders in 2016, it was meant to be the start of a golden era for the Foxes. However, the burden of being champions wore heavy on their shoulders and their title defence quickly fizzled out. 

In Leicester's title-winning season, they had 25 points after 12 games. This season they have 24 and are right in the middle of the title race and they can be backed at 44.043/1 to win their second Premier League title in six seasons. 

2) Fulham show spirit to suggest they can stay up

Scott Parker's Fulham came within 11 minutes of pulling off the biggest shock of the season so far. Bobby Decordova-Reid looked set to be Fulham's latest matchwinner against Liverpool at Craven Cottage for the first time since Clint Dempsey netted the only goal against the Reds in December 2011. But a Mohamed Salah penalty in the 79th minute spared the champions' blushes. A Fulham/draw double was 19/1 prior to kick-off.

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Fulham will feel this was a game they could and perhaps should have won, but it showed Parker's men are capable of competing against the better teams in the league. The win moved them out of the bottom three for a couple of hours before Burnley's win at Arsenal which returned the Cottagers back to the drop zone. 

The next two fixtures for Fulham are games Parker will feel they can win. On Wednesday, they host Brighton three days before they travel to Newcastle. But a lot will depend on how much the effort put into playing the champions took out of the players.

Parker now has a benchmark in terms of the standard his players should perform at and if they can reach that level more often than not, then they should be able to climb their way to safety. Ahead of their clash with Brighton, Fulham are 6/5 to stay up and they are trading at 1.738/11 to be relegated

3) Arsenal's ill-discipline is punished by Burnley

Burnley need all the help they can get between now and the end of the season to ensure they find a way of staying out of the bottom three. After the curtain came down on the weekend's fixtures, the Clarets worked their way out of the relegation zone following their 1-0 win at Arsenal. 

And they were given a massive helping hand by an ill-disciplined Gunners side that played the final 32 minutes with 10 men. Fifteen minutes after Granit Xhaka's red card for violent conduct, Burnley scored through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's own goal to give the visitors a 1-0 win. 

Burnley won't play against 10 men every week and their opponents won't score in their own net on a regular basis, but when gifts come their way, they have to accept them like they did in north London. Burnley are 5/6 to stay up and Sean Dyche's side are now as big as 2.3811/8 to be relegated back to the Championship after five seasons in the top flight. 

As for Arsenal, their Jekyll and Hyde season continues. The team that turns up to play league games is a shadow of the side that cruised to six straight wins in the Europa League. The struggling Gunners, who have scored just two goals in their last eight league games, are only five points clear of the drop zone and layers may fancy taking them on for a top 10 finish; they're currently 1.784/5 to lay.

4) Saints keep top four hopes alive

Southampton's 3-0 win at home to Sheffield United is the latest piece of evidence to silence the doubters who said their early-season form would not last. Well, with almost a third of the season played, the Saints are very well placed to record their best ever finish in the Premier League.  

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In their previous 21 campaigns in the top flight, sixth is the highest position Southampton's side has managed. Ahead of their trip to Arsenal on Wednesday, Ralph Hasenhuttl's side are fourth, two points off top spot.  

Since opening the season with back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Tottenham, Saints have picked up 23 points from a possible 30. Southampton missed Danny Ings for a month and while that might have been a problem last season when he contributed 44% of his side's league goals, others are now chipping in with goals. 

Southampton are making a name for themselves across Europe and if they can continue their impressive form, Hasenhuttl could march the Saints into the Champions League if they can secure a top four finish,which can be backed at 16.5.

5) Plenty of optimism for Wolves despite Villa loss

Wolves supporters shouldn't be too disheartened to see their side in the bottom half of the table. A second successive defeat on Saturday at home to Aston Villa was their fifth of the season, but a closer look at the numbers reveals there is no need for Wolves fans to panic just yet. 

This is the Molineux side's seventh campaign in the Premier League and after 12 games, their total of 17 points is the most they have accumulated. In each of their last two seasons in the top flight, they had 16 points from their first 12 fixtures and they went on to finish seventh both times.

Wolves are having a tough time lately with a loss of form and a fractured skull side lining leading scorer Raul Jimenez for the foreseeable future. Nuno Espirito Santo is believed to be interested in signing Salomon Rondon who is currently playing his football in China. 

Signing Rondon, who scored 11 league goals for Newcastle during the 2018/19 season, could kick start Wolves' season and help them secure a top six finish which can be backed at 9.617/2.

English Premier League: English Premier League (Winner 2020/21)

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Saturday 12 September, 12.30pm

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