Rafa Benitez refused to rule out getting the sack from his temporary post at Chelsea following his sides’ 3-1 defeat to London rivals West Ham.
That was the third game in succession that Benitez has failed to win since taking over from Roberto Di Matteo and with Roman Abramovich’s notoriously short fuse burning away, the Spaniard simply must record his first Premier League win at Sunderland next weekend, which is priced at 4/5 with Ladbrokes.
Sacking the former Liverpool boss after three games would be a frankly unprecedented display of rashness on the Chelsea owners’ behalf, but the 12/1 that says he won’t be under the Blues employ by Christmas indicates that the bookies don’t want to take too much of a risk with the Russian’s volatility.
With a view to acquiring the services of Pep Guardiola in the summer, Chelsea are clearly only interested in a manager for the short-term before going all-out to convince the former-Barcelona coach on why he’d benefit from a move to west London.
There are not a great deal of coaches with world class CV’s currently in search of employment at the moment, however, so axing Benitez would leave them in a bit of a situation.
They would surely rather avoid having to pay compensation for another clubs’ coach and, even if it came to that, it would be incredibly difficult to get someone to leave the job they are currently doing well in knowing they’d only be in charge at Chelsea for a few months before a pursuit of Guardiola began.
Getting rid of Benitez early would mean Abramovich would have to ditch his long-lasting ambition of installing the highly sought after Spanish coach to the Stamford Bridge dugout and move for a less-fancied second choice.
By the time he’d got fed up of the new guy, Guardiola is likely to have been snapped up by another Premier League giant and Abramovich’s desperation to be exactly like Barcelona would be forced to continue.
Still, if Chelsea’s poor run doesn’t soon cease he could be left with no choice to replace Benitez.
They’re now 10 points behind in the title race, seven games without a league win and just 1/5 to qualify for next season’s Champions League having been a shoo-in following the way they began the campaign under Di Matteo.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date