A lot of the predictions we all made at the start of the season need to be updated based on the evidence of the Premier League’s first eight games, which have brought celebration or frustration, depending on who you support. Let’s look at some of the odds on offer for whole-season bets, searching for the best possible value.
For Chelsea, the game looks to be up as far as retaining the Premier League title goes. Of course there is a long way to go in the season, after the team’s nightmare start, but it is ten points behind leader Manchester City. Of course, ten-point deficits have been overcome before, but this Chelsea team looks out for the count at the moment, and the signs are that Jose Mourinho has exhausted his squad’s patience in his methods.
There’s little value to be had in betting on City for the title; the runner-up from last season is the clear favourite with every major bookmaker. Instead, look to Arsenal for a mixture of healthy risk and good value. At 11/4 with Betfair, Unibet and a host of other bookies, Arsene Wenger’s in-form side is at least worth a try, and seems to be the only team with sufficient strength and financial backing to challenge the Blues.
If you want to place a bet on Manchester City, go for 9/1 with Unibet for Manuel Pellegrini’s men to romp to a domestic double (Premier League and FA Cup victories). It’s certainly a possibility.
Next Premier League Manager to Leave Post
We’ve already said goodbye to Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool and Dick Advocaat at Sunderland, but even so, it’s almost a certainty that at least one other Premier League club will change its manager before Christmas; this most often happens because of the fear of either relegation of of finishing outside the lucrative Champions League places, depending on the team’s pre-season expectations.
It’s an interesting bet whether the first club (except Liverpool and Sunderland) to blink will be a club in the top half, or bottom half, of the Premier League. Experience suggests it will be the latter, with a club’s board getting nervous if in danger of dropping down to the Championship. This becomes an increased problem for teams given that next season, Premier League TV money increases dramatically.
First, the promoted clubs. Although occupying 15th, Bournemouth is almost certain not to dispense with Eddie Howe this season. The manager enjoys a god-like reputation at the south-coast club, and the club’s owner and chairman seem to accept that they can owe much of the club’s rise to him. Similarly, Norwich does not have a reputation for dropping the guillotine on a manager until deep into the latter part of the season; Alex Neil has shown enough promise as a manager to be given time to prove himself at the top level.
More likely to change manager is Watford, the club which is run by the Pozzo family, Italians who have shown with their willingness to swap bosses frequently that they do not like to wait for a change to come, rather they enact the change they want to see. Quique Sanchez Flores has his team at 12th, just above Norwich, but any mid-season slump will be punished. Flores is 20/1 with Paddy Power to be next to leave.
Tim Sherwood will not get a great deal of patience from Aston Villa if he cannot find another win soon – the club views it as imperative that Premier League status for next season is secured, and may decide to bring in fresh ideas. 8/1 with bwin says Sherwood will be next to go. There is also an interesting paradox at Stoke City: Mark Hughes has not yet overseen the improvement that investment was supposed to bring, but he is 40/1 with bwin to leave next.
Of course this is all assuming that Jose Mourinho does not crack under the enormous pressure being placed on him by fans and the media, as well as by his own actions this season, and leave Chelsea soon. It is looking increasingly difficult for Mourinho to rescue the season at Stamford Bridge, and he may decide on a rest from football. He’s 4/1 with bwin to do just that.