Bookmakers have wasted no time in slashing their odds about Manchester City winning the English Premier League but some of them are listing big prices about Pep Guardiola receiving the League Managers Association Manager of the Year award.
Five wins from five English Premier League matches have put Manchester City two points clear at the top of the ladder and bookmakers have reacted by promoting the Citizens to odds-on favourites. Cynics will point out that Manchester City has vanquished the teams ranked seventh, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th – Manchester United, Bournemouth, West Ham, Sunderland and Stoke – but Guardiola’s side has been extremely impressive in defeating its domestic foes.
Manchester City has won each of its three UEFA Champions League games without conceding a goal, beating Steaua Bucaresti 5-0 on the road before a 1-0 home victory and kicking off its Group C campaign with a 4-0 mauling of Monchengladbach at Etihad Stadium. Monchengladbach had qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage by thrashing Young Boys 9-2 on aggregate and it has posted German Bundesliga home wins over Leverkusen and Bremen.
Guardiola is a coach with no shortage of confidence in his own managerial ability but one gets the impression that even he is surprised at the speed at which Manchester City stars have implemented their leader’s ideas. John Stones has been tremendous since making the move from Everton to Manchester City for an mind-boggling fee, Kevin De Bruyne has been the English Premier League’s standout player in its first five rounds and Sergio Aguero was scoring goals for fun until he collected a three-match suspension for violent conduct.
If one agrees that Manchester City should odds on to win the English Premier League for the third time since England’s top flight was rebadged – one is respectful of Liverpool because its attacking power is almost on a par with that of the Citizens – then one must be interested in taking odds of +200 with BetVictor and SkyBet that the League Manager Association honours Guardiola with its main prize.
Guardiola has picked up no fewer than 19 awards for his coaching achievements since he started Barcelona B in the 2007-2008 season – Barca’s reserve team topped its Spanish Tercera Division pool to qualify for the Segunda Division B playoffs and, ultimately, gain promotion. Managers around the world are in awe of Guardiola and, if Manchester City takes out the English Premier League, then one cannot see the England-based bosses voting for anyone other than him.
Also, Manchester City has a shot at UEFA Champions League glory, whereas the English Premier League second and third favourites, Liverpool and Chelsea, are not active in UEFA tournaments this season. Neither Liverpool nor Chelsea has the opportunity to impress on the continental stage but Manchester City has given every indication that it will progress deep in Europe’s most prestigious club event.
The League Managers Association Manager of the Year award has gone to just two English Premier League-winning coaches in the last five terms – Alex Ferguson in 2012-2013 and Claudio Ranieri in 2015-2016 – so its members do have the propensity to think outside the box. But one suspects that Guardiola’s peers have fallen in love – at least in a football sense – and that his individual prize odds should be similar to those about Manchester City winning the English Premier League. Basically, if Manchester City is trading at odds of -143 to finish the English Premier League on top then Guardiola should be no bigger than odds of +100 to be the League Managers Association Manager of the Year.
Pep Guardiola to Win LMA Manager of the Year
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