A glance at the teams contesting the Premiership raises an interesting issue.
Does the fact that each London team has to play ten “Derby Games” this season affect the betting odds when it comes to the outright winner of the league or a top four finish, not forgetting relegation?
Supporters of the Capital’s teams have often suggested that their sides are at a disadvantage compared with their northern counterparts who face fewer potentially high-octane matches with the chance of shock results.
Prior to West Ham’s emphatic win at Watford in the third round of matches, we have had little time to assess the odds, but the fourth round of games threw up Arsenal v Spurs in the North London showdown which ended in a 2-2 stalemate, meaning Spurs have still not won the derby in September for 50 years!
After the game, Spurs had hardened slightly for a top four finish whilst the Gunners had drifted on some exchanges.
Spurs remain shorter than their neighbours, reflecting the current shift in power in North London, but perhaps not by as many points as expected.
In terms of their chances of winning the title, however, their odds hardly shifted, given the performances of Manchester City and Liverpool who are streets ahead in the book, with the Citizens odds on and Liverpool generally available at 5-2 to 11-4.
Both Spurs and Arsenal can be backed for the title without last season’s top two.
The odds on Spurs are shorter but there was little change after Sunday’s game ended honours even.
The argument that the number of London derbies affects the outcome of the title chase is an old one, but does not seem to have much impact on the bookmakers’ prices.
This is because the gap between Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea and their Capital rivals has been maintained in the Premiership era either through spending power or sound managerial appointments.
The big three, are then, expected to gain points in the majority of the derby games.