There have been some League Managers Association Manager of the Year shocks in previous seasons but surely BetVictor is making a grave error in quoting odds of +110 that this term’s award goes to Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri.
It is easy to forget how the football world reacted to the news that Leicester had replaced Nigel Pearson, who led the Foxes to the English Championship title and English Premier League survival in back-to-back seasons, with Ranieri after the working relationship between the King Power Stadium club’s board and the Englishman broke down. Ranieri did not win a major honour in his four years at Chelsea during which time he earned the nickname of Tinkerman due to his changes. Ranieri went on to coach Valencia, Parma, Juventus, Roma, Internazionale, Monaco and Greece, winning only the UEFA Super Cup and French Ligue 2 in seven managerial stints that did little to improve his reputation. Former Leicester star Gary Lineker reacted to Ranieri’s appointment negatively, calling it an uninspired choice and saying that the same old names kept receiving chances even after numerous failures.
Lineker, who was a prolific striker for Leicester in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has eaten several servings of humble pie as Ranieri’s Foxes have maintained the most unlikely of English Premier League title pushes. Leicester is three points clear at the top of the English Premier League ladder following 23 rounds, although it has to visit second-placed Manchester City and third-placed Arsenal. The latest round of English Premier League matches, in which Leicester won and its nearest challengers dropped at least two points, prompted bookmakers to quote the Foxes at single-digit odds for their first-ever championship – the closest that they have come to glory in the past was when they finished second to Sheffield Wednesday 87 years ago.
With 15 English Premier League rounds remaining, Leicester is on track to post the most remarkable campaign in the 24-season history of the competition – Norwich had a nine months to remember in 1992-1993 but the Canaries fell away after leading the ladder on Christmas Day, their defensive deficiencies resulting in Manchester United and Aston Villa leapfrogging them in the second half of the tournament. If Leicester does end up posting the English Premier League’s most remarkable campaign – the Foxes are well into odds-on territory to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, which would be in an incredible achievement in itself – then surely the League Managers Association Manager of the Year trophy will end up on Ranieri’s mantlepiece in May. It does not make any sense that BetVictor is offering odds of -278 about Leicester finishing in the English Premier League top four but Ranieri is available at +110 with the same firm to be the League Managers Association Manager of the Year.
Ranieri does have a couple of League Managers Association Manager of the Year dangers – Arsene Wenger and Mauricio Pochettino – but one would argue that the Arsenal boss has underachieved for several seasons and that the Tottenham coach would have to win the English Premier League to trump the Italian. Some bookmakers rate Leicester as more likely to take out the English Premier League than Tottenham. In summary, surely Ranieri is more likely than not to win the League Managers Association Manager of the Year and that BetVictor’s odds of +110 represent obvious good value.
One does have a note of caution, though. The League Managers Association Manager of the Year voters found a way not to honour Tony Pulis, then of Crystal Palace, in 2014, choosing to give the award to Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers in a big upset. However, the League Managers Association Manager of the Year voters did make the right call last season when they honoured Bournemouth coach Eddie Howe for his stellar work in steering the Cherries through the divisions. With Paddy Power listing Ranieri at odds of -175 to win the League Managers Association Manager of the Year, BetVictor will not be able to lay its price forever and a day.
Ranieri to win LMA Manager of the Year
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