The Sack Race 2016/17 Season Predictions

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 08 August 2016, 14:49

The dawn of the 2016/17 Premier League season is rapidly approaching as the 20 top-flight teams and their respective managers frantically make their last-gasp preparations ahead of this weekend's big kick-off.

The Premier League has already witnessed one managerial casualty, in Steve Bruce, but which gaffer will be next to leave their post...?  

Below you will find the opinions of 10 of The Sack Race's contributors, who will also predict who will be crowned the 2016/17 Manager of the Year, while sharing their thoughts on any potential surprise packages in the managerial arena.

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Jack Kitson

Next Premier League Casualty: Alan Pardew @ 14/1 with Bet Victor

There may be a few more obvious managers to select as we head into the new season, but one boss who stands out in the betting is Alan Pardew at 14/1. Last term the Crystal Palace gaffer endured a nightmare second-half of the season, registering just two wins from 19 games, fortunately for Pards the Eagles reached the FA Cup final, which disguesed their faltering league form. However, should the capital club stutter out of the blocks this time around then Pardew's future will be under the spotlight.

Manager of the Season: Antonio Conte @ 8/1 with Bet Victor

The Manchester duo of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are hogging the all the attention in this market, but both could be in for tricky campaigns. Instead, it's the new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte who grabs my attention at 8/1. The master tactician enjoyed a decent Euro 2016 with Italy, while he is a proven winner at club level with Juventus.

Surprise Package: Aitor Karanka

Eight of the 20 Premier League clubs start the season with a new manager, meaning an unpredictable campaign could lie ahead. Middlesbrough may have only just returned to the top-flight, but they have already fired out a massive statement of intent through the signings of Alvaro Negrado and Viktor Fischer. While another "Cladio Ranieri" is unlikely to occur, Aitor Karanka is well worth keeping a close eye on.

Mike Holden

Next Premier League Casualty: Ronald Koeman @ 50/1 with Betway

Things could quickly unravel for Ronald Koeman at Everton, if he doesn't get off to a good start. They moved heaven and earth to get him but the Dutch can be quite volatile and quick to throw blame about when things don't go their way. There were whispers of friction behind the scenes at Southampton that largely went unreported, so this might be an accident waiting to happen.

Manager of the Season: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink @ 66/1 with Betway

From one Dutch manager to another, I like the look of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at 66/1. He had six months to take stock at QPR last season with nothing tangible at stake but the standards he set over 13 months at Burton were truly phenomenal. Pep Guardiola is a solid favourite though, not just for his genius but also his humility and respect towards fellow managers who will be voting for him.

Surprise Package: Claude Puel

Southampton are a model football club and they rarely get the big decisions wrong, so I'm inclined to say Claude Puel. French journalist Philippe Auclair speaks very highly of the work he did at Lyon and Nice, while Saints are probably ready to embrace a new approach that keeps everybody guessing. I see no reason why they can't have a good run in Europe.

Andy Dillon

Next Premier League Casualty: Tony Pulis @ 5/2 with Betway

Tony Pulis at West Brom. Naive and ruthless new owners always fancy a big name to showcase their takeover even if it means ditching the best man for the job - ie Pulis.

Manager of the Season: Jose Mourinho @ 5/1 with Bet Victor

Jose Mourinho will restore Man Utd's fearsome reputation and maybe even the Premier League title - if he doesn't he deserves the sack after being given £100m to spend on one player in Paul Pogba.

Surprise Package: Sean Dyche

Burnley's Sean Dyche is a highly regarded manager who will only get better with time and who thoroughly deserves another shot at the top flight.

Rich Smith

Next Premier League Casualty: Tony Pulis @ 5/2 with Betway

Tony Pulis had a woeful end to last season, with West Brom failing to win any of their last nine Premier League matches. If that form continues in the first six games of the new campaign, which has been kind to the Baggies, expect the trigger to be pulled on Pulis before the start of October.

Manager of the Season: Antonio Conte @ 8/1 with Bet Victor

A hard award to call given that in recent years, managers of teams that have overachieved, have landed this honour. However, in 2016/17, it could be the more obvious choice of going the way of the gaffer that wins the title. Chelsea are 11/2 to win the title with Bet Victor, but new boss at Stanford Bridge, Antonio Conte, is an 8/1 chance to with the LMA Manager of the Year. The two go hand-in-hand, and as such, Conte is the value. With the benefit of no Champions League football this term, the former Italy head coach and his side should have no distractions and a strong title challenge looks to be on the cards.

Surprise Package: David Moyes

David Moyes got a raw deal at Manchester United, as the two seasons under Louis Van Gaal's stewardship proved. However, it should not be forgotten what he achieved at Everton in the league, over the previous decade, to give him the opportunity at Old Trafford. With a point to prove and a wealth of Premier League experience, it would be no surprise if Moyes made a quick and positive impact at The Stadium of Light. A mid-table finish and a cup run would be enough to constitute a surprise during his first full season in the North East, of which he's capable of delivering.  

Harris Simpson

Next Premier League Casualty: Walter Mazzarri @ 8/1 with Sky Bet

After guiding the club to a more than respectable 13th last campaign, Watford inexplicably disposed of Quique Sánchez Flores towards the end of last season, choosing instead to appoint the Italian, Walter Mazzarri. Mazzarri has no experience of English football, and after a largely disappointing spell at Inter, he will know he will have to start fast if he is to appease Watford’s owners, and their clear delusions of grandeur.  

Manager of the Season: Jose Mourinho @ 5/1 with Bet Victor

Jose Mourinho has only been in charge of Manchester United for a little over two months, but the Portuguese coach has already began to implement whole sale changes to the side he inherited from Lous Van Gaal. After a savvy showing in the transfer market, Mourinho has prepared himself well for the up and coming campaign, and if he can be the first man to deliver Old Trafford a Premier League title since the retirement of Sir Alex, he will almost certainly walk away with the Manager Of The Year crown.

Surprise Package: Aitor Karanka @ 10/1 with Sky Bet

Since arriving at Middlesbrough in 2013, Aitor Karanka has done much to establish himself as an emerging force in English football. Karanka has instilled an intense work ethic, and defensive discipline into his side, which has seen Middlesbrough become increasingly difficult to beat, and no one is going to fancy a trip down to the Riverside next season

Chris Knight

Next Premier League Casualty: Walter Mazzarri @ 8/1 with Sky Bet

There have already been a few murmurings from Watford's players about the methods of new man Walter Mazzarri and a desperately difficult opening set of fixtures could ensure that the Italian's stay in England is a short one.

Manager of the Season: Eddie Howe @ 33/1 with Bet Victor

Since the creation of the LMA award in 1993, the winner of the top-flight has won the award only five times. With that in mind, I'll back 2015 winner and best English manager around, Eddie Howe to cap off another stellar year with Bournemouth.

Surprise Package: Claudio Ranieri

No one really springs out as being able to do a 'Ranieri' this season but I fancy it could be poor old Claudio who is surprised by how poor his Leicester City side perform during their title defence.

Mick Bates

Next Premier League Casualty: Tony Pulis @ 5/2 with Betway

Despite all the questions over Tony Pulis' future with the club with the takeover, if WBA cannot achieve decent results in their opening games against the likes of Palace, Boro Bournemouth and Stoke I can see an early exit for the manager, coupled with his lack of activity thus far in the transfer market.

Manager of the Season: Pep Guardiola @ 10/3 with Bet Victor

Because it's Pep Guardiola...

Surprise Package: Mauricio Pochettino

With the big clubs stuttering last season, I can see an established manager like Mauricio Pochettino with his relatively unchanged squad coming together and make a real challenge for either the 1st or 2nd spot and improving on last years' 3rd place finish.

Sean Raymond

Next Premier League Casualty: Tony Pulis @ 5/2 with Betway

Tony Pulis is going to come under pressure with new owners installed at West Brom over the summer. The Baggies have been quiet in the transfer window and the former Stoke gaffer could find himself walking the plank sooner, rather than later.

Manager of the Season: Antonio Conte @ 8/1 with Bet Victor

Antonio Conte was a winner as a player and has been exactly that during his management career thus far. Eden Hazard has looked back to his best in pre-season and without European football this term, Conte can have a massive impact at Chelsea.

Surprise Package: Aitor Karanka

Aitor Karanka has been shrewd in the transfer window so far and the Spaniard can lead 'Boro to Premier League safety in their first season back in the top flight. Karanka has experience at the highest level as a player and it would be no surprise to see 'bigger' clubs sniffing round him in the near future.

Russell Palmer

Next Premier League Casualty: Francesco Guidolin @ 8/1 with Bet Victor

Francesco Guidolin looks to have a job on his hands with Swansea this season and the club aren't one to dilly dally when it comes to making changes, with the Italian perhaps the best bet at 8/1.

Manager of the Season: Mauricio Pochettino @ 10/1 with Bet Victor

Tricky to predict with some big signings still to be confirmed this season but I'll go out on a limb and say Mauricio Pochettino, whose squad is that little bit older and more experienced and have a very settled team. Jurgen Klopp could also have a big season with Liverpool.

Surprise Package: Aitor Karanka

I really like the look of Middlesbrough to do well this season. Aitor Karanka's side are well organised and could be more suited to the Premier League. In Dane Viktor Fischer they have real match winner.

Mark Taylor

Next Premier League Casualty: Francesco Guidolin @ 8/1 with Bet Victor

Francesco Guidolin of Swansea. If the Swans fail to fly from the off, you can see a twitchy board make a change early in an attempt to keep them in the top flight.

Manager of the Season: Eddie Howe @ 33/1 with Bet Victor

If Eddie Howe can continue building at Bournemouth, he seems destined to win plenty more admirers.

Surprise Package: Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes had a good start at Stoke last year but they faded badly. If they can get lucky and avoid injuries, a fit squad could cause a few surprises.

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