Seeing Mark Hughes perched ominously above the gaping jaws of managerial doom, altruistic Swansea City boss Francesco Guidolin flung him a rope, heaved him clear then positioned himself, a foot on each slobbery lip, in the Welshman’s place.
Hughes kicked off the week as favourite to lose his job before any of his Premier League peers, but reports of increased disgruntlement behind the scenes in south Wales and reports that Ryan Giggs has been lined up as a potential successor, Guidolin is now the punters’ fancy to be first top-tier chief to leave this term.
With prices around the even-money mark across the board, the 5/1 on the Italian going next rates as a veritable early Christmas present from the bookies in black and gold at bwin.com.
After steering the Swans to safety following his mid-January appointment, Guidolin is thought to have ticked off superiors and other members of staff on the club’s tour of the USA, where it was alleged he bunked morning training sessions in order to catch up on the Tour de France action he was missing back across the Atlantic.
His training methods and approach to match preparation are also said to have left his colleagues at odds and after an underwhelming start to the season, the former Udinese boss may well be bounced if his side suffer a second defeat to Manchester City this week.
The Citizens are due back at the Liberty Stadium this weekend after winning in the EFL Cup on Wednesday and a price of 2/5 suggests they’ll have little trouble snaring the spoils in the principality once again.
After plundering four points and failing to prevail in all their league games since the opening day, Swansea can now be backed at 5/2 to go down.
They’re odds plenty would consider appealing, but as the Swans prepare to embrace Sunderland’s bulletproof formula for inexplicably maintaining Premier League status, punters are best advised to invest elsewhere.
The Black Cats have specialised in appointing bosses midway through a season and escaping what seemed certain relegation in recent seasons.
Prior to latest example Sam Allardyce, Dick Advocaat, Gus Poyet and Paolo Di Canio all successfully pulled the Wearsiders out of the fire when salvation seemed extremely difficult, if not impossible.
With the exception of the former, all were Premier League rookies, just as Guidolin was and the latter duo in particular arrived with madcap reputations.
If Swansea are adopting the Sunderland blueprint for staying up in the face of probability, Giggs suits in terms of inexperience, but he’s too vanilla to pull a stunt like skipping training to watch a bike race.
Appointing someone with more left-field methods would be playing it safe in this respect and the king of unconventional (who also happens to be a blooming good coach too) Marcelo Bielsa is currently out of work.