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What can we expect from the three new - yet familiar - Premier League managers?

Steven Gerrard_1

The Premier League is back, and with it three new managerial appointments.

Eddie Howe has returned after 15 months, replacing Steve Bruce at Newcastle. Dean Smith laughed in the face of those who thought he’d take a break, returning with Norwich a week after losing his job at Aston Villa, where he was succeeded by a certain Steven Gerrard following his high-profile switch from Rangers.

The three teams are currently located in the bottom-five, so there's plenty of work to be done! We’ve taken a look at the targets for each manager, their survival odds, plus a couple of intriguing betting specials.

New manager bounce - Aston Villa, Newcastle & Norwich all to win
28/1
Odds correct as of 2021-11-19 15:25 Odds subject to change.

Steven Gerrard (Aston Villa)

  • Current Position: 16th
  • Target: Top-10 - 4/1, BetVictor
  • Sack Race Odds: 33/1, BetVictor
  • Special Bet: Aston Villa to beat Liverpool home and away - 80/1, Sky Bet

Steven Gerrard has never been short of ambition or competitive spirit. Tasked with restoring Rangers to former glories, he passed with flying colours after conjuring up an unbeaten title-winning season, but the Premier League is a different ball game completely. We’re talking Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte, Thomas Tuchel...you get the point.

It’s the other end of the table Gerrard is preoccupied with at present. He inherits a very talented side, albeit one that’s lost five on the bounce, sitting two points above the relegation zone.

We’re only 11 games into the season though so Gerrard has plenty of time as he bids to implement his methods and shake his squad into life. There’s so much potential and while a European spot may well have to wait, Villa are only five points off the top-10 which is where we expect them to finish.

Gerrard's Rangers side were solid, difficult to beat, and hard to break down. Attributes Villa have been lacking of late. However, the Gers were by no means defensive, Gerrard predominantly employed an attack-minded and possession-based 4-3-3 formation while his focus on rampaging full-backs is great news for Matty Cash and Matt Targett.

At the time of writing Gerrard’s Villa catch the eye at 4/1 to secure a top-half finish, they are 11/1 (Betway) to finish above Midlands rivals Wolves and Leicester, and 50/1 in the Premier League betting without the traditional ‘big 6’.

Eddie Howe (Newcastle)

  • Current Position: 19th
  • Target: Survival - 8/11, Bet365
  • Sack Race: 33/1, BetVictor
  • Special Bet: Newcastle to be relegated then win the Championship - 7/1, Sky Bet

Eddie Howe was eventually selected as Steve Bruce’s replacement and his first job will be to do what Bruce couldn’t: register a Premier League win. Newcastle are the only team yet to carve out a victory this season, but Howe will fancy his chances of making an instant impact at home to a Brentford side on a four game losing streak. If not, upcoming clashes against Norwich and Burnley could offer potential returns.

Newcastle have been hard to watch at points this season but in Howe they have a fresh, hungry young manager who looks to employ a positive, exciting brand of football. The break will have done him the world of good, he looks revitalised and ready for the challenge ahead.

Toon fans will obviously hope it doesn’t come to this but even if Howe was to suffer a second successful relegation, he’s more than likely to still be at the helm next term meaning odds of 7/1 for Newcastle to go down then win the 2022/23 Championship could appeal.

On a more positive note Newcastle are priced at 8/11 to stay up, while Eddie Howe has been handed odds of 7/2 (Paddy Power) to win any major trophy before 2026. If you fancy a real long shot you can back Newcastle to go unbeaten in each of Howe’s first 10 league games at 250/1 (also PP).

Dean Smith (Norwich)

  • Current Position: 20th
  • Target: Survival - 9/2, BetVictor
  • Sack Race: 33/1, BetVictor
  • Special Bet: Top promoted team - 14/1, BetVictor

First of all, if you haven’t seen it already, scroll down for the behind the scenes video of Dean Smith's first 24 hours as Norwich City manager. His positivity is infectious.

It’s been a whirlwind week for Smith. He lost his job at Aston Villa, had an interview for the Norwich vacancy a couple of days later, then jetted off to New York City to see his son, before signing a contract with the Canaries upon his return.

The 50-year-old’s sudden availability coupled with his impressive track record of improving teams and players were major factors behind his appointment at Norwich. He will look to sort out the leakiest defence in the league by making Norwich compact and organised, encourage the midfield to circulate the ball more efficiently, and add bite to a goal-shy attack.

Norwich are the red-hot 1/7 favourites to be relegated, but Smith will only be focusing on the positives: they won their last game, they are only five points off 17th, and his first two matches are on home soil followed by a trip to fellow strugglers Newcastle. Simply put, there’s all to play for across the next 27 matches.

Staying on the positive theme, you can back Smith’s side at 14/1 to finish as the top promoted team: Watford are only two places above them, while Brentford have slipped to 14th after a four game losing run which includes a defeat to Norwich in Daniel Farke's last game.

Smith survived the drop with Villa in 2019/20, and is 4/1 to repeat the feat with Norwich this time around.

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