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Surprise favourite to replace lonesome Villas-Boas at Chelsea

| 05.03.2012

Rafa Benitez is 5/2 to be the next Chelsea manager as defeat at West Brom condemned Andre Villas-Boas to the Stamford Bridge exit door.

Roman Abramovich had been far more patient with Villas-Boas than other Chelsea managers in the past, but two wins from nine games in all competitions proved the final straw for the Portuguese boss.

Chelsea have given up pole position in the race for the top four in the Premier League as they now lie fifth and are in big danger of going out the Champions League after slumping to a 3-1 first-leg deficit against Napoli.

Villas-Boas cut a lonely figure in the 1-0 reverse at West Brom and this suggested more than ever that he had lost the support and belief of the squad.

This can often prove the point of no return for a manager and it was no different for Villas-Boas.

Reports suggest that Benitez would be interested in managing Chelsea and he has stated before that he would be keen on returning to England after a disappointing spell at Inter Milan.

Benitez could prove a wise appointment given his vast experience at big clubs, while the fact he is Spanish may be an asset, firstly in helping Fernando Torres and the host of other fellow countrymen in the current squad.

Alternatively, a return for Jose Mourinho is 3/1, while Pep Guardiola can be backed at 4/1.

However, it is former assistant Roberto Di Matteo that will take charge for the duration of the season, with his first job being overseeing the FA Cup replay with Birmingham, with Chelsea 2/5 to qualify for the quarter finals.

The good news for Chelsea is that the last two occasions in which they have drawn at home in the FA Cup, they have triumphed in the replay – against Tottenham in 2007 and then Southend in 2009.



Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.