Premier League Betting: Which manager will be the first to leave?

Is Antonio Conte's position a little less secure following Chelsea's penalty defeat to Arsenal
Is Antonio Conte's position a little less secure following Chelsea's penalty defeat to Arsenal

The Premier League returns this weekend and one thing that is certain is that a manager will be leaving his post before too long. Who will be the first to go? Alex Keble assesses the likely candidates...


"He must rediscover the quick-tempo attacking football of 2015/16 within the first two months or face the boot, but with Hughes and Benitez teetering on the edge Bilic is not likely to leave first."

Rafael Benitez


One of the bookies' favourites to leave his post, Rafael Benitez's departure would be just another woeful chapter in Mike Ashley's much-derided tenure as Newcastle United owner. The former Real Madrid manager, a remarkable coup for the club, is understandably popular with the fans but is increasingly frustrated with the club's transfer strategy. It's a familiar story for Magpies fans.

Benitez was reportedly close to walking away from the club at the beginning of June, and although he has finally won his personal battle for control with Graham Carr - the chief scout has resigned from his role - Benitez isn't much happier. Just two summer signings leave them in a difficult position, and if things don't improve before August 31 the Spaniard might leave.

The 57-year-old resigned from his posts at both Valencia and Napoli, suggesting he won't hesitate to walk away from Newcastle. If the Magpies make a slow start to the season and recruitments aren't forthcoming, Ashley will be searching for a new manager before long. Don't back him to be the first, but that doesn't mean he'll make it to Christmas.


Mark Hughes


Things are not looking good for Mark Hughes. The loan signing of Kurt Zouma aside, this has been a dreadful summer for Stoke City - and Hughes is already on his last legs. A run of nine points from 11 games at the end of last season saw many Potters fans lose faith in their manager, whose dull brand of football has failed to lift them to the next level over the past four years.

Marko Arnautovic's departure to West Ham United only increases the likelihood Stoke will continue where they left off and start the campaign badly, a situation made worse by their horrendous fixture list. Hughes's team play five of last season's top six in their opening eight games.


Slaven Bilic


Slaven Bilic's difficult second season at West Ham has put him on the brink before a ball has been kicked, and the pressure on the Croat is only increased by the quality of their signings. Joe Hart, Arnautovic, Pablo Zabaleta, and Javier Hernandez are four superb acquisitions that really capture the glamorous spirit the Hammers were built on.

They are fitting purchases for a swanky new stadium, but may not align with the dogged, counter-attacking philosophy of their current manager. He must rediscover the quick-tempo attacking football of 2015/16 within the first two months or face the boot, but with Hughes and Benitez teetering on the edge Bilic is not likely to leave first. Those new signings, all with Premier League experience, should do enough to get the Croat the early results he needs.


Craig Shakespeare


Leicester City have had to dramatically recalibrate their ambitions following their disappointing - though realistic - mid-table finish in 2016/17. Craig Shakespeare always seemed like a stop-gap appointment, more likely to oversee a short-term revival than anything more substantial, and thus any hiccup in August and September could see him swiftly depart.

They travel to Arsenal and Manchester United in their first two away fixtures before hosting Chelsea on matchday four, meaning Shakespeare's side - by then without Riyad Mahrez - could be in the bottom three very quickly. The Leicester board, so ruthless with Claudio Ranieri, won't hesitate to pull the trigger. It's definitely worth predicting another dip in morale and change in manager; and Shakespeare would be my bet in the Next Manager to Leave market.


Antonio Conte


The wildcard on this list is Antonio Conte, whose odds have lengthened following Chelsea's £58 million capture of Alvaro Morata. Having signed a new two-year contract just over a fortnight ago it would appear the Italian is settled; surely not even Conte is volatile enough to walk away now?

However, following Chelsea's Community Shield penalties defeat to Arsenal, and if things are stable at the above four clubs come October and the Blues are only just challenging for a top four finish (Chelsea's players have previous when it comes to being unmotivated following a title win), then Conte might reassess things. For now however, it isn't worth backing the current Premier League holders to part with their manager before anyone else.


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