This article was going to cover the next manager to leave his post but as it was being written there was news that Manchester United had sacked Jose Mourinho. The club will appoint a caretaker manager and then recruit the next permanent boss in the summer. United are sixth in the table after their worst start since the 1990-91 season. Zinedine Zidane is the favourite to be the next manager at Old Trafford.
Christmas and the turn of the year mark the mid point of the Premier League season and Manchester City are the odds-on favourites to win the title again. They had a record breaking season in 2017-18 and they might have to take things to a new level to finish above Liverpool this time. The current league leaders are now the only unbeaten side and they have a great chance of being the top dogs in England for the first time since 1990. However, City can defend the title this season.
The latest betting suggests the Premier League is two-horse race. Indeed the combined price for City and Liverpool to be the champions is about 1/50 which makes the field 33/1. Tottenham and Chelsea are the teams fancied to fill the other two Champions League qualifying spots and then we are talking about the also-rans. Manchester United are 1000/1 to win the league which is a massive indictment of the state of the club at this stage of the season. The breaking news is that the club have reacted by sacking Mourinho.
Manchester City have won the Premier League three times in the last seven seasons but never won back-to-back tiles in the current era. Despite a few injury disruptions the squad looks as good as ever and even with Liverpool in the mix scoring 100 goals and winning 100 points again does not look beyond them. After 17 matches ahead of the holiday programme City have scored 48 goals and won 44 points. In the 38-match season they are on course to pass the century mark for goals and points.
Liverpool are one point ahead but they have an inferior goal difference of eight. Last season the forwards did the damage and the defence was adequate. Roles have been reversed but 37 goals in 17 matches is a good return. However, numerically Liverpool have the best defence in the league and have conceded just two goals in eight league fixtures at home. City are a perfect nine from nine at the Etihad while Liverpool have dropped just one point at Anfield, against their great rivals. Manchester City should just edge it and win the 2018-19 Premier League.
Four teams are odds-on to be relegated but only three go down so there is some value in identifying who will survive. Southampton, Newcastle and Crystal Palace could be dragged into the mire with a poor run of results over the next two weeks. However, the bookmakers believe there are four poorer teams so that group look relatively safe. That means any three from Huddersfield, Burnley, Fulham and Cardiff face the nightmare scenario of a drop into the Championship. Burnley are fancied to survive relegation because they have the edge in terms of playing staff and management. You can stake £10 to win £20 at the current lay price.
The market to be the top scorer is dominated by Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah. Kane won the honour in the two seasons before last with 25 and 29 goals and Salah was the top scorer in 2017-18 with 32 goals. Sergio Garcia scored 26 times four seasons ago which meant he was the leading marksman in the Premier League. Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang leads the current chart with Salah and is the outside bet to win the Premier League Golden Boot. The market to be the next manager to leave is up in the air after the sacking of the not so Special One.
Today’s Sports Betting Preview – By Rick Elliott
Commercially Manchester United are top dogs in Europe so they could afford to get rid of Jose Mourinho and pay for his permanent replacement. The club will appoint an interim boss and then make a long term appointment in the summer. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the favourite to be the caretaker manager but there is a different betting market for who will be in charge on the first day of next season. Mourinho had been the favourite to be the next Premier League manager to lose his job.
He was sacked after United’s worst start to a Premier League season and in the end the straw that broke the camel’s back was the display against Liverpool at Anfield last Sunday. The favourite to be the United manager at the start of the 2019-20 campaign is Zinedine Zidane but he has no experience of the Premier League. With money not being too relevant the club can afford to recruit MAURICIO POCHETTINO and the current Tottenham manager is 10/3 with bet365 to have the job next August.
Pochettino will have other things on his mind tonight because Tottenham are away to Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup. Arsenal are unbeaten at home this season but the visitors can qualify for the last four without beating their local rivals in 90 minutes. If the scores are level after normal time the tie is decided by penalties and there is no extra time. Team selection and motivation will be key to the outcome. Both clubs have injury concerns and there could be a goal feast.
The managers have said they will respect the competition and match by picking strong squads. However, Arsenal have defensive issues and are better going forward than preventing goals at the other end. Tottenham should select a strong team and that could include a starting position for Harry Kane. There were six goals in the recent Premier League fixture which Arsenal won 4-2 and the home team are the favourites to progress. The best bet is OVER 3.5 GOALS at 7/5 with Ladbrokes.
There is £100,000 in prize money on offer at Ludlow today which is a great effort for the small track in the market town in Shropshire. The richest race is the handicap chase over two miles at 1.25. CAPELAND has not finished outside the first two in six races this season and on ratings is the horse to back at 5/2 with William Hill.