Reading manager Brian McDermott has significantly shortened in the next manager to leave market to 2/1, yet a win over Arsenal could well see his odds inflate once more.
Not long ago, McDermott could’ve been backed as high as 16/1 even when his side remained winless. Time changes quickly in football and he now finds himself as the second-favourite to go behind Martin O’Neill and with his side rooted to the foot of the Premier League table having lost crucial games to Wigan, Southampton and, most recently, Sunderland he needs three points now more than he ever has.
Arsenal visit the Madejski next and, should McDermott mastermind a famous victory over the struggling Gunners – which would be the first in Reading’s existence – then he would surely be afforded more time to prove his worth in the top flight.
It would be an incredible injustice were he to lose his job given the mountains he moved in winning the Championship with the Royals last season. Furthermore, after minimal investment in the playing staff, the Reading hierarchy could not have upheld sky-high ambitions for the current campaign when they were to mix it with the Premier League big boys and their financial exuberance.
A win over Arsenal would see them move to within three points of safety and they definitely have a chance of getting the job done against a side who, with many of their first team stars on display, could not beat League Two’s Bradford in their last outing.
They need to stand strong defensively while making the game as gritty as possible and, if they can do that, there’s no reason why they can’t claim the spoils.
Should Reading win the game, this would see the heat turned up even higher on under-fire Arsene Wenger and his price of 8/1 to be the next Premier League manager to vacate his post would move in the opposite direction to McDermott’s.
It’s unfathomably unlikely that the Arsenal board would give such a loyal, reputable and decorated coach as Wenger is the boot midway through the season, if at all, but there is a chance that supporter pressure may play a part in convincing the three-time Premier League winner that time is finally time.
It seems more and more as though that this season could be the Frenchman’s last and a defeat against the Royals could well accelerate his Emirates departure.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date