Benitez departs Blues for Napoli
The controversial reign of Rafael Benitez at Chelsea has come to an end and he has swiftly been appointed as the new coach of Napoli. The news was tweeted by club president Aurelio de Laurentiis on Monday night, just two days after the Benitez had officially completed his spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.
The Spaniard was appointed as interim manager following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo but was never a popular choice with the club’s supporters. He replaces Walter Mazzarri at the Stadio San Paolo having completed his mission of ensuring Champions League football for Chelsea next season. He also secured silverware in the form of the Europa League and believes that he has left Chelsea in a great position to challenge for the Premiership title next season. It has long been assumed that Jose Mourinho will be returning to the Bridge following the end of his tenure at Real Madrid.
Manchester City are also expected to make a new appointment shortly and departing Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini is 1-12 favourite for the post with Coral. The Chilean has referred to the City job as “an option” as he ponders the opportunity to step into the shoes of Roberto Mancini at the Etihad Stadium. City won the title in 2011-12 but were left trailing by neighbours United last season. Pellegrini has reached the latter stages of the Champions League with both Malaga and Villarreal and this is the kind of experience that City are keen to secure.
Crystal Palace earned their place in the Premiership with a 1-0 extra-time win over London rivals Watford in the Championship playoff final. The winner came from a penalty kick converted by veteran striker Kevin Phillips after Wilfried Zaha had been brought down. Crystal Palace have been out of the top tier for eight years and are 8-15 to go straight back down in Coral’s relegation betting. It was heartbreak for Gianfranco Zola’s Watford who had only been denied promotion on the final day of the season. Coral rate Watford 9-2 chances to gain promotion next season.