Troubling Times Ahead for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle

The Premier League 2018/19 season is fast approaching and in anticipation for the big kick-off bookmakers offer a flood of exciting markets to give punters a long-term interest.

Think it’s your club’s year? There is outright Premier League betting available, a market headed by Manchester City who are odds-on favourites. If you’d prefer a bit of a safety net, it’s possible to back your selection to finish in the top four, top six or even top half.

Not so optimistic regarding your boys’ chances, or perhaps you’re rubbing your hand in glee at the torrid year in store for those from the other half of the derby that matters most in your household? Bet on a club to be relegated or even finish bottom of the division. There are so many possibilities, with anything possible between now and next spring. No wonder we call it the beautiful game.

rafa benitez
Source: BBC Sport via Twitter

There’s another market available that no one wants to win and that’s the sack race. Gaze into your crystal ball and predict which manager will be the first in the English top flight to lose their job. Profiting from misery, perhaps, but there’s some fantastic value to be had.

A ball hasn’t been kicked in the Premier League so far but Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is already feeling the strain at St James’ Park. The 58-year-old former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss led The Magpies to a tenth-place finish last term – not a bad effort by anyone’s standards – but the early signs suggest all is not well in the camp.

Newcastle suffered a humiliating 4-0 friendly thrashing at the hands of Braga earlier this summer and Benitez took to the press to tell fans they had every right to be worried on the back of that result.

Goals from Ricardo Horta, Joao Novais, Fransergio and Dyego Sousa completed the rout but it seems that worrying defeat was only the tip of the iceberg. With issues at boardroom level, it seems there’s a cloud hanging over the North East club that’ll be difficult to shift.

Benitez didn’t pull any punches when addressing the media, admitting things are not going well off the field and a reflection of that can be seen on the pitch.

rafa benitez newcastle
Source: The Magpie Group via Twitter

Upon hearing that, traders moved swiftly to price Rafa up at 6/1 – market best price – to be the first Premier League manager to be sacked. That quote means the experienced Spaniard is level with under-fire Leicester City leader Claude Puel.

Surprisingly, backers flicking through the list will find The Special One, Jose Mourinho, third in line at 7/1 with the top-five made up of Javi Garcia and Mark Hughes.

It’s little surprise to see Newcastle written off in the outright market, with a whopping 750/1 available. That call positions them behind the likes of Crystal Palace, Wolves and West Ham. Relegation is much more likely in the eyes of oddsmakers, with the Toon Army scratched up at 5/1 to return to the Championship at the final tally.

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