For Gianfranco Zola, Troy Deeney’s stoppage time winner against Leicester was the stuff dreams are made of.
The late strike set up a play-off final with Crystal Palace, and it is 66/1 that the diminutive Italian completes a fantastical ascension by getting Watford into the Premier League, before taking charge of his beloved Chelsea next season.
Despite securing Champions League qualification and winning the Europa League, the much-maligned Rafa Benitez remains a disliked figure amongst the Chelsea fans, and is certain to be replaced at the end of this season.
Zola would undoubtedly be a popular choice amongst the Blues’ rabble. With 229 appearances and 59 goals for the club, he holds legendary status around Stamford Bridge, and was voted the club’s greatest ever player by the fans in 2003. If translating half his achievements as a player to managerial success, he would no doubt be a fantastic appointment by Roman Abramovic.
However, the billionaire has previously displayed a penchant for big names and European pedigree. Appointments such as Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari and most recently Benitez have evidenced this.
There have, though, been some appointments that may give the Italian hope he could be next in the hot seat at the Bridge. Avram Grant, Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo have all been in charge under the club’s Russian owner, although none of their stints lasted a full season.
Regardless of how the situation progresses in west London, Zola’s sights will be firmly set on the upcoming fixture at Wembley where the Hornets bid to regain a spot in England’s top flight in the Championship play-off final.
Watford have had the better of Crystal Palace this season, drawing at home and picking up three points at Selhurst Park, scoring five times in the process. They will have to keep a dangerous Palace attack – although devoid of top scorer Glenn Murray – out, but have shown enough this season to warrant favouritism at 11/8.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.