Aston Villa next manager betting madness

The saga that is the race to become the next Aston Villa manager shows no sign of coming to an end soon, and Alex McLeish’s resignation from Birmingham City earlier today has just increased speculation that he is the man to take over after Gerrard Houllier’s resignation/sacking.

McLeish was odds on favourite a couple of hours back and both he and Mark Hughes have traded below even money on Betfair. On top of that Rafa Benitez has traded down as low as 2.00, Roberto Martinez down to 2.12, Steve McClaren has been as short as 3.05 and Claudio Ranieri 3.10.

Most of these have also been odds on with the bookmakers as well, it has been a layers delight for the bookies and punters on the exchanges.

If my opinions are correct, this is set to continue as I can’t see Alex McLeish getting the job. There are good reasons to back this up, although the lack of a convincing reason (so far) for McLeish’s resignation has got me slightly questioning myself.

First, Randy Lerner does things properly and doesn’t involve himself or his club in underhand behaviour. As a result of this it is widely regarded that Mark Hughes ruled himself out of the running by quitting Fulham in the manner he did.

If Hughes won’t be appointed because of this, then why on earth would Randy Lerner employ McLeish if he has pulled the same stunt as Hughes did?

Also, Randy Lerner is supposed to have ruled out Steve McClaren because of a potential fans backlash.

So surely the prospect of employing a Blues manager would be a total no go with the fans, and not just any Blues manager, but one who has just overseen his team get relegated. What chance that? It seems highly unlikey to me.

Unless Lerner is running out of options and is getting desperate that is, in which case maybe it could happen. But the rational thinking is that this is a total no goer.

So who could it be? I did think that after what happened with Roberto Martinez that the chance of another Premier League manager coming to Villa Park was very unlikely. Who would want to be seen as second or third or fourth choice behind the Wigan manager? Would Owen Coyle or David Moyes consider the job after that? I’m not too sure.

I did think it would be an out of work manager or a foreigner, but now the name of David Moyes doesn’t seem to be going away. He has a proven track record and the fans will surely approve.

One problem could be his club though. I can’t see Everton giving in easily over this and if Lerner sticks to his Mark Hughes principles, then he won’t employ him if he walks out on Everton.

At times last season Moyes cut a frustrated figure on the touchline with Everton. Could he have decided he has taken Everton as far as he can on the current budget? Maybe he has been told he has to sell to balance the books this summer? I now think there could be a number of reason why Moyes might consider the job.

He now seems to be the name on the move, as I write he’s joint favourite with McLeish at Skybet and is closing in on favouritism on Betfair, it will be interesting to see what Monday brings.

Are Everton in the Relegation Battle?

According to David Moyes they are after Sunday’s 2-0 defeat away at Bolton. I don’t think that the bookies agree with Moyes’ view though.

Depending on who you bet with, there is 9 or 10 teams all at shorter odds than Everton are to be relegated. Although Everton are not having their greatest season, they are surely too strong to go down – or to put it another way, there are far worse teams than Everton in the premier league.

There are differing views in the world of the layers though, Bet365 have Everton at 25/1, while Sky Bet are as short as 11/1 for Moyes’ team to go down. On the whole, the price is around the 16 – 20/1 mark.

Personally I think 11/1 on Everton going down is a joke, it is way too short and dosen’t represent good value, especially when you compare it too the 25/1 on offer – which I also wouldn’t touch.

For me there main weakness is obvious, their lack of goals. They have a serious lack of strikers and this weakness is further exposed by the fitness record of their main striker, Louis Saha.

His dodgy record was again highlighted last week with him straining a hamstring and looking like he will be missing for another 2 weeks.

For Everton fans I suppose it’s a good thing that Moyes is taking their current form and league position seriously. Too say that they are in a relegation battle shows that he isn’t taking anything for granted and isn’t just relying on the fact that there are some awful teams around them.

There comes a point in the season when to hit a run of bad form could be terminal for your chances of survival – and that time is fast approaching. To get into a bad rut now would be disasterous and I think that judging by his remarks, Moyes recognises this.

Fulham and Villa have started to pick up, Birmingham are starting to pull away with their late goals and even West Ham seem to have started to turn the corner. Wigan and Wolves also look capable of getting big results on their day, but they don’t seem to be consistent enough.

On a brighter note for Everton, Blackpool seem to be heading towards the relegation zone and there is always a chance that Newcastle could find themselves down there too.

With 11 teams only seperated by 6 points it does look like it’s going to be an exciting relegation battle.

Allardyce does a Fergie

Sam Allardyce is the latest manager to try to put pressure on a referee prior to a match with his advice to ref Andre Marriner that he needs to keep a close eye on Everton’s Tim Cahill when the teams meet this weekend.

In suggesting that Cahill gains an unfair advantage when attacking set pieces, Allardyce is clearly challenging Marriner to penalise Cahill’s combatative style.

It is yet another blatent example of intimidation towards match officials that has been pioneered and perfected over the years by serial ref basher Alex Ferguson. It is also yet another perfect example of how the FA do nothing, or very little to assist the refs.

Ironically one of the best examples of this technique was pulled off by Everton’s, David Moyes when stoked up press suggestions that Mike Riley might be a Manchester United fan ahead of their 2009 FA Cup semi-final.

Riley then went on to deny United a clear penalty after a foul by Phil Jagielka on Danny Welbeck, leaving the pioneer fuming and claiming Riley had been influenced by the remarks from Moyes.

Talk about getting shot with your own gun.