2018/19 Premier League Sack Race: Javi Gracia and Mark Hughes the early favourites to depart first

by Jack Kitson / 13 July 2018, 12:03

The 2018 World Cup may still be awaiting a winner, but the dawn of the new Premier League season is now exactly one month away.

The build-up and with it feverish levels of anticipation will really start to rev up in the upcoming weeks, with every man and his dog giving their predictions on the title winners, top-4 contenders and relegation strugglers.

But, here at The Sack Race the focus is obviously on those men in the dugout, and Bet Victor have got involved in the party by releasing the 2018/19 Premier League Sack Race Market.

Before we delve into the market, the current 19 top-flight managers - plus Maurizio Sarri who is likely to join Chelsea soon - will be hoping they don’t suffer the same fate as poor old Frank de Boer who was sacked just four league games into the 2017/18 campaign, which is the shortest Premier League managerial tenure of all time (in games).

Click here for the 2017/18 Managerial Casualties

Right, enough of the past, let’s look ahead to what the betting says ahead of the rapidly approaching 2018/19 season…

Watford manager Javi Gracia and Southampton boss Mark Hughes have been installed as the early favourites to depart first, with both gaffers handed odds of 6/1.

Gracia replaced Marco Silva in the early days of 2018, although he went on to win only four of his 15 matches through to the end of the season, with the Hornets finishing 14th. A stuttering start to the upcoming campaign would see his job come under threat.

Hughes rescued the Saints from the dreaded drop last season, and was subsequently rewarded a three-year contract.

The Welshman spent five years in his previous post at Stoke, but didn’t fare well at QPR, while he opted to leave Fulham after one season. But from the outside at least it appears that Hughes and Southampton are a decent fit, so unless they endure a wretched start, it would come as a surprise to see the parties split.

Next up, perhaps surprisingly, is Brighton boss Chris Hughton (8/1) who is an icon on the south coast after leading the club into the Premier League, before preserving their top-flight status. It’s difficult to see him leave anytime soon, but in their opening seven games they do come up against Man Utd, Liverpool, Tottenham and defending champions Man City...yikes.

You’ll also find Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez priced at 8/1 in the next manager to leave market.

Benitez, who this summer was linked with West Ham and Spain, constantly crops up in next manager markets, but for now at least he appears committed to the Magpies, with whom he led to 10th last term.

Roy Hodgson made a cracking impact at Crystal Palace and should therefore be safe for the time being, although Leicester boss Claude Puel is definitely worth keeping an eye on at 10/1, odds which will instantly be slashed should the Foxes start the season slowly.

Confidence is high in the Cardiff camp following their promotion up to the Premier League, which was remarkably Neil Warnock’s eighth promotion as a manager - a record.

Although it’s worth noting that the last time the veteran gaffer worked in the top-flight he became the first managerial casualty of the 2014/15 campaign, and is priced at 12/1 to once again be first out the exit door four years later.

The new Arsenal head coach, Unai Emery, is a 50/1 outsider, while the likes of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino, and Chelsea’s new boss Sarri are all around the 33/1 mark.

Everton went through three managers last season, so the latest incumbent Marco Silva (20/1) is by no means safe, although he’s expected to be given time to shine, whereas West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini is a tad shorter at 16/1.

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Antonio Conte
(Chelsea)
13th July
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