Managerial Predictions for the 2015/16 Premier League Seasonby Jack Kitson / 21 July 2015, 11:11Tweet
There is now just over two weeks to go until football fans across the world sink their teeth into the new 2015/16 Premier League season, which explodes into action on Saturday 8 August, but of course you knew that already, the date has been stamped in the diary for weeks now.
As the upcoming campaign draws closer The Sack Race has had a little look at a couple of managerial markets, including the Premier League Sack Race, those gaffers in the mix for the top-flight title, while we pluck out a potential managerial dark horse.
First Manager To Depart
The Favourite: Brendan Rodgers @ 5/1 with Paddy Power
The immensely popular Premier League Sack Race is always a difficult market to predict at the start of the season, as the ante-post frontrunner for the chop is very rarely the same manager who crumbles first.
At the time of writing its Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers who remains the 5/1 favourite at the summit of the betting table. The Reds are desperate to bounce back from a simply woeful 2014/15 campaign, however the Merseyside outfit have been handed a very nasty start to the upcoming campaign: they face the likes of Stoke, Arsenal, and Man Utd in their first five games.
Rodgers has once again been significantly backed in the transfer market, having splashed the cash on Roberto Firmino, Nathaniel Clyne and Danny Ings so far, while Christian Benteke is expected to join for a fee in excess of 30m.
With this in mind the Ulsterman is under significant pressure to roar out of the blocks and mount a serious title challenge, but if results don't improve then you can bet your bottom dollar that he will be out of a job before the first Christmas advert erupts onto your TV.
Best Bet: Quique Flores @ 6/1 with Sky Bet
Given the rapid turnover of managers at Vicarage Road it's difficult to look past Quique Flores at 6/1 with Sky Bet. In June Flores became Watford's fifth manager in the last 10 months after he replaced Slavisa Jokanovic in the dugout.
The former Atletico Madrid boss has been charged with leading the Hornets into their first top-flight campaign since 2006/07, but a poor start to the season could result in the club's trigger-happy owners giving him the boot.
Outside Bet: Roberto Martinez @ 20/1 with Sky Bet
For those of you looking for some value, Everton boss Roberto Martinez could be worth pondering at 20/1. The Spaniard is currently working under one of the most loyal chairman in the game, Bill Kenwright, however the Toffees' disastrous 2014/15 domestic campaign means Martinez heads into the new term under pressure, meaning he is only a couple of nasty results away from peril.
Title Winning Manager
Favourite: Jose Mourinho @ 13/8 with Paddy Power
Given the ease in which Chelsea won the 2014/15 Premier League it's difficult to look past Jose Mourinho. Yes, the Blues are no doubt in for a tough test to retain their title, however the Londoners are a step above the rest at this moment in time.
Best Bet: Arsene Wenger @ 9/2 with Sky Bet
Could this be Arsenal's year? It's become a reoccurring theme over the last 10 odd years since the Gunners last hoisted the Premier League trophy. On each occasion, for whatever reason, the north London club has faltered, but there is renewed hope this year, given the calibre of their squad.
Will Arsenal win it? Probably not. But at 9/2 the capital club are a decent bet at this stage.
Outside Bet: Brendan Rodgers @ 28/1 with Sky Bet
Liverpool's main focus is returning to the top-4, but you never know, if Rodgers can get his troops firing early on, then they could have a chance of ending their lengthy wait for Premier League glory. Again, this outcome appears very unlikely right now, but stranger things have happened in football....
The Dark Horse
In recent years a number of managers have unexpectedly lit up the Premier League. For instance both Ronald Koeman and Garry Monk enjoyed stellar seasons last term, while the season before that Mauricio Pochettino and Tony Pulis exceeded all expectations
While Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is worth keeping an eye on next season, the main man to watch out for is Norwich City's Alex Neil, who has had a staggering impact at Carrow Road since his surprise appointment in January. The former Hamilton boss went on to lead his troops up to the top-flight, via the play-offs, and now the world is his oyster.
The Premier League's youngest manager (34) will be tasked with keeping the Norfolk club in the league, but you never know, if they can rustle a few feathers early on then he could put himself in the running for the LMA Manager of the Year award (currently priced at 33/1 with Paddy Power).