EPL Specials: Can Ranieri Achieve Another Title Win? Which Manager Will Be Fired Next?

Kim MacCormack

Sunday, November 18, 2018 3:56 PM UTC

Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 3:56 PM UTC

Fulham has been heavily backed at 5,000/1 to win the Premier League title after hiring Claudio Ranieri, while the sack race is heating up.

A flurry of bets has gone on Fulham to win the Premier League at odds of 5,000/1 after the Cottagers brought in Claudio Ranieri as the new manager. The Italian’s last Premiership job was at Leicester, when he defied odds of 5,000/1 to win the title in 2015-16. He will have his work cut out, as Fulham sits bottom of the table with just five points from its opening 12 games. Meanwhile, champion Man City is still unbeaten and has 32 points to its name, but bettors are hopeful that Ranieri’s magic can overcome a 27-point deficit.

Fulham became the first Premier League team to fire its manager this season after Slavisa Jokanovic presided over a run of six straight defeats. Owner Shahid Khan immediately announced that Ranieri would take over, and the Italian seems likely to improve the team’s fortunes. This is Fulham’s first season back in the top flight and Khan spent a fortune in the summer to ensure it did not suffer relegation straight back down to the Championship. Only Liverpool and Chelsea outspent the Cottagers, who invested an impressive £105.3 million ($135.2 million) on new players.

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Claudio Ranieri is keeping it real for Fulham fans. pic.twitter.com/ukAQ05m3lF

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 16, 2018
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That saw it bring in Jean Michaël Seri, André Zambo Anguissa, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Alfie Mawson and several other players, while Andre Schürrle, Calum Chambers, Luciano Vietto and Tim Fosu-Mensah were signed on loan. Throw in exciting players like Ryan Sessegnon and Tom Cairney that were already at the club and Fulham was expected to challenge for the top half of the table. But defensively it has been woeful, conceding 31 goals in 12 games. In that time it has only win once, with two draws and nine defeats to its name. New managers often galvanise teams, and Khan will hope that Ranieri can tighten the defense and introduce the sort of free-flowing attacking football that defined Leicester’s unlikely title triumph in 2016.

Backing Fulham at +500000 to overhaul Man City and Liverpool feels like a novelty option, so you might be better off looking at other markets. Bet365 has +138 on Fulham to stay up, and that looks like a much more sensible option. The team is only three points below 17th placed Southampton and 16th placed Crystal Palace, and Ranieri has plenty of time to turn things around, so that looks like a really good bet. If you really want to push it, Bet365 has +5000 (50/1) on Fulham to finish in the top half, while smaller books have +6600 on that outcome. Leicester is currently in 10th place, 12 points ahead of Fulham, and that seems more realistic than usurping Man City.

Speaking of Southampton, beleaguered boss Mark Hughes is the outright favorite to be the next manager sacked from his post. When one team fires its manager, it typically sparks a domino effect in the Premier League as trigger-happy owners start fretting about relegation. The Saints have been pretty woeful this season and Hughes has not led them to victory since September 1. He is -120 with Betfair and Paddy Power to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post and that looks like a good bet.

Former England manager Roy Hodgson is next at +1000 with William Hill to be fired by struggling Crystal Palace. A more interesting option could be Jose Mourinho at +1200 with William Hill. Man Utd lost 3-1 to Man City last time out to leave it in eighth place, 12 points behind the league leaders. Mourinho has been walking on thin ice all season by publicly lambasting his players, railing against the board for not backing him in the transfer market and meeting poor results with utter defiance, so his days at Old Trafford could well be numbered.

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