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Who Will ‘Win’ The EPL Sack Race This year?

July 28, 2016

- Grant Whittington

They say that no awards are handed out in August, but this fails to account for the prestigious ‘prize’ that is awarded at the end of the so-called sack race. Every year, bookmakers offer odds on the first top-flight manager to be sacked, and this season is no exception despite the ongoing speculation concerning the identity of the next England manager.

A total of 13 EPL managers left their roles last season, with seven officially and Jose Mourinho leaving then-champions Chelsea by ‘mutual consent’. The stakes have been raised considerably by Leicester City’s unprecedented success last term, however, meaning that the current crop of managers are under more pressure than ever to deliver.

While this betting market is still in its infancy as pre-season continues, it is never too early to consider the formative favourites in the sack race. Here are our three picks at the Bet Hut…

Alan Pardew, Crystal Palace

When former Magpies boss Alan Pardew arrived at Selhurst Park, Palace looked to set emerge as one of the league’s most ambitious clubs. Despite spending millions and recruiting top talent such as French international Yohan Cabaye, however, the Eagles endured a miserable end to last season as they endured a 16-game winless run and lost the FA Cup final to Manchester United. After further investment in the summer window, Pardew will be expected to deliver and should have little room for error when the season starts.

Claudio Ranieri, Leicester City

Success breeds expectation, but it is hard to envisage Leicester repeating their title success this time around. In fact, the Foxes may struggle to compete for a Champions League place given the amount that has already been spent by Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs, while the loss of N’Golo Kante and the potential departure of talisman Riyad Mahrez will hardly aid their cause.

With the fans and the board expecting more of the same, however, the affable Italian manager Claudio Ranieri could find himself out of favour if he cannot achieve results during the first phase of the new season.

Arsene Wenger, Arsenal

Despite their financial strength and allure, Arsenal continue to showcase a breathtaking disregard for the transfer market. This could prove fatal this summer, however, with the £1 billion barrier set to be breached for the first time and the Gunners’ main rivals investing heavily and strategically in new players. While Wenger’s refusal to yield to inflated transfer prices is to be admired in some respects, his team run the risk of being left behind in the new season as the race for Champions League places become more competitive than ever before.

As a result, this could finally be the season where Wenger’s caution catches up with him, forcing the board to make a difficult and in some respects unthinkable decision regarding the EPL’s longest-serving manager.

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