The news that Southampton have sacked Nigel Adkins and replace him with Mauricio Pochettino has caused a shake up in the latest relegation betting. The announcement has been greeted with a mixture of disbelief and uproar as Adkins was shown the door after successfully guiding the club back to the holy grail of the Premier League before seemingly steering the ship towards safety this term.
However, the owners have decided a run of just two defeats in the last 11 games isn't good enough and Adkins was handed his P45. Pochettino has come in to ensure the 'long-term progress' of the club, although Ladbrokes have reacted to his appointment by clipping Southampton in from 2/1 to 7/4 to be relegated.
The Saints had appeared to finally be getting to grips with life in the Premier League lately as they edged to a vital 1-0 win at fellow relegation candidates Aston Villa last weekend before coming from 2-0 down to earn a hugely impressive 2-2 draw at Chelsea in mid-week. Those results saw Southampton rise to 15th in the league table, three points clear of relegation, but Pochettino has come in to provide a more attractive style of football.
The former Argentinean international defender has only had one managerial job before his arrival at St Mary's as he spent three years in La Liga with Espanyol. He left the Spanish club by 'mutual agreement' in November though after they had collected nine points from 13 games and remained rooted to the bottom of the table. He faces a tough task to win over Southampton's players and fans after replacing the popular Adkins and his first big test will come when he takes charge of the Southampton v Everton league match on Monday night.
Saints' may have been clipped in the betting but there are still four other teams who are shorter priced for the drop. Reading remain 1/5 odds on to go down as they continue to struggle to get out of the bottom-three, although morale at the club received a boost last weekend when they came from 2-0 down to beat West Brom 3-2.
Basement club QPR are also odds on at 4/9 but they too have shown signs of recovery with a four-match unbeaten run that has seen them beat Chelsea and West Brom, while also drawing with the Baggies and Tottenham. They are now just five points from safety and the club in most danger of going down appears to be Aston Villa in 18th place.
Paul Lambert's side have been dropping like a stone since the Christmas period as they suffered a run of horrendous defeats. They were hammered by Chelsea, Tottenham and Wigan during that run, while they also lost to Bradford in the Capital One Cup, and it is no surprise to see that they are 17/20 odds on to drop out of the Premiership for the first time in their history.
Wigan are also struggling for form as they sit above Villa on goal difference. Roberto Martinez's men are 8/5 in the latest betting with Ladbrokes as they bid to produce yet another 'great escape' and they meet Sunderland (16/1) this weekend. Sunderland's North East rivals, Newcastle, are 5/1 to be relegated at this stage and they could do with some positive results as they are just two points above the drop-zone, while Norwich are the shortest price of the rest at 11/1.
17/20 Aston Villa
18/1 West Ham
Odds supplied by Ladbrokes.com.
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