F365 predict the winners of all four divisions…

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Ahead of the 2020/21 kick-off, Football365 writers gaze into their crystal balls (or stick in some pins?) to choose their winners of English football’s top four divisions. .

 

Premier League: Liverpool
Championship: Norwich
League One: Portsmouth
League Two: Cheltenham

Accumulator odds (with Paddy Power): 2382/1

There is no reason to suspect that Liverpool will fail to deliver a title defence worthy of the name – they have lost nobody significant, they have had a longer rest than their rivals and they are motivated by the very difficult but doable task of back-to-back titles. I have no idea why they are not favourites and are available at relatively fancy prices.

Right now, I would add Norwich to this slip as this is exactly the scenario they have planned for – relegation with a strong, young team. Even if they lose two or three players in the coming weeks, they are perfectly set up for a return. And those parachute payments are going to be more valuable than ever this season.

There’s no chance of me going anywhere near the traditionally batsh*t Sunderland in League One but Portsmouth look a good pick under the sensible Kenny Jackett, while Cheltenham are inexplicably calling me in League Two (really not my area of expertise).

 

Premier League: Manchester City
Championship: Swansea
League One: Charlton
League Two: Mansfield

Accumulator odds (with Paddy Power): 4103/1

Pep Guardiola doesn’t tend to take too kindly to not being able to win domestic league titles by 427-point margins and Manchester City have strengthened in important areas thus far. Liverpool will be close whether they sign anyone or not, having kept the core of a successful team. But City will have too much this time.

As for Swansea, Steve Cooper did an excellent job last season, with a really well-balanced squad being complemented by astute loan signings. Woodman, Gibbs-White and Guehi are great additions to what they already have.

Peterborough are contractually obliged to finish there or thereabouts under management’s greatest-ever Ferguson, while Mansfield Town are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen. And have Nicky Maynard.

 

Premier League: Manchester City
Championship: Watford
League One: Sunderland
League Two: Bolton

Accumulator odds (with Paddy Power): 427/1

I’ve been flip-flopping over this for some time, but ultimately I think Manchester City’s superior strength in depth will see them win it. Liverpool are an injury away from really struggling; the pressure on their youth team back-ups will prove to be too much. Chelsea won’t be miles away.

Even without two or three players that will surely be snapped up in the transfer window, Watford will be a Premier League team in the Championship. While this could mean the players become too big for their boots, in new manager Vladimir Ilic, they’ve got a boss that won’t abide any nonsense. He’s renowned for being a bit of a hard nut.

Every bone in my body is telling me not to plump for Sunderland, but who listens to bones? Bolton will go straight back up after signing Eoin Doyle, who was banging goals in for fun in League Two last season.

More from Will Ford: Premier League stars in the last-chance saloon

 

Premier League: Liverpool
Championship: Brentford
League One: Oxford
League Two: Cheltenham

Accumulator odds (with Paddy Power): 3363/1

It’s pretty staggering to see Liverpool are 15/8 second favourites to retain their title having just won the league by 18 points but that’s the situation and despite Man City’s improvements, the Reds still look the team to beat. And this coming from an Everton fan.

In the Championship, Brentford look well worth another go after their near-miss, both in the regular season and the play-offs. They’ve added Ivan Toney to an already-strong squad and as long as they don’t ‘do a West Ham’ and start getting scared about playing at a new ground, they should contend. At least the fans won’t be there to moan. Yet.

In the two lower divisions, I like teams who finished the truncated 2019/20 season well. Oxford put a bad start behind them to push right into contention before the season was halted, and in Karl Robinson they have a boss who knows this division well. And Cheltenham, who had the tightest defence in League Two when lockdown arrived, look more than capable of building on that effort.

 

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