The Premier League ‘Sack Race’ betting is something that has enthused punters for several seasons but there looks to be an obvious bet in ‘The Next Manager To Leave’ market where walkouts count as winners and it’s hard not to take the 7/1 about Rafael Benitez. The Spaniard has been at war with Mike Ashley all summer long over transfers and whilst there have been new arrivals, the six new players are a great deal less than what he wanted and only one new defender has arrived.
Benitez asked, and had presumably been given permission, to sign a centre-back and left-back but was rebuffed by Newcastle on Deadline Day by Mike Ashley, who has just brought House of Fraser for £90 million. If something has to give, it’s highly likely to come on Tyneside and the 7/1 with Sky Bet looks a big price.
Advice: 2 pts Rafael Benitez (7/1 SkyBet)
Top Assister: Manchester City had the first four home in this category last year and whilst scoring 106 goals looks to be a very high benchmark for this season they can once again score a bucketful and there are options running through their side to set up goalscorers. Leroy Sane was left out of Germany’s World Cup Squad but should be raring to go once again here and whilst he didn’t make a big impact in the Community Shield last week, but he’s got way too much class not to be seriously involved through the season and 9/2 appeals. From City, it might also be worth backing Riyad Mahrez, who set up 10 goals last season and has hit the ground running judged on the Community Shield. Arsenal don’t lack for attacking options and Henrikh Mkhitaryan is interesting. He assisted nine goals and will have moving targets to hit in the shape of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
Advice: 2 pts Leroy Sane (9/2 188Bet), 1 pt Henrikh Mkhitaryan (20/1 188Bet)
PFA Player Of The Year: We haven’t backed Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang for the Golden Boot but this looks to be a solid method of insurance. The Arsenal man scored 10 goals in 13 appearances for Arsenal after a mid-season move from Dortmund. He had scored 13 in 16 appearances for Dortmund before then, a return of 23 goals in 29 appearances, a strike rate good enough to match the likes of Kane and Salah. Should he in it then he’d have to be a big player. Eden Hazard is a past winner of this award and if he stays at Chelsea then there’s no telling what he could achieve under the most attack-minded coach he’s played under and he did win this in 2015.
Advice: 1 pt Eden Hazard (12/1 general), 1 pt Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang (22/1 Paddy Power, Betfair)
PFA Young Player Of The Year: Leroy Sane took this sward last year, pipping Raheem Sterling to the vote, and he could once again take the beating here. He assisted 15 teams last year and was chosen by his peers – should City retain their title it looks likely he’ll have had a big part. It might also be wise to play Gabriel Jesus, who has scored 20 goals in just 39 appearances. If he can stay fit, the Golden Boot could be a possibility and that would make him a serious player.
Advice: 1 pt Leroy Sane (7/1 SkyBet) 1 pt Gabriel Jesus (8/1 general)