Inside Edge: How much truth is there to the ‘Manager Bounce’?
Source: Richard Heathcote / PA Images

Inside Edge: How much truth is there to the ‘Manager Bounce’?

In this week’s Inside Edge analysis, Joe Mellor and Nick Haynes at Form Labs – a division of Bettorlogic –break down whether Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea’s new manager, can bring a new lease of life for the Blues, and if there is more value in ‘goals’ or ‘outright’ markets.

Monday started with Frank Lampard becoming the second Premier League casualty of the season. Despite remaining in both the Champions League and FA Cup, the Blues’ league form under their all-time top goal scorer was on the decline.

Thomas Tuchel became the latest figure to hop on the managerial merry-go-round at Stamford Bridge, and he opened his account with a 0-0 stalemate at home to a struggling Wolves side with a performance that had some worrying similarities to the infamous ‘Sarri-ball’ that Chelsea fans were all too happy to shun just two years ago.

Nevertheless, a change in manager can often bring some refreshment to a struggling side, and despite not coming away with three points, there was certainly more ‘zip’ about the Blues on Wednesday night. The term ‘manager bounce’ springs to mind, and this week we look into how much truth there is in this theory and if so, whether the value lies more in the ‘outright’ or the ‘goals’ market.

Outright

To assess this, we’ve taken the first five matches of a manager’s reign from the beginning of the 2009/10 season up until Project Restart, only including those that have been appointed during the season and not prior to it. There have been 2,425 that fit that mould across Europe’s top five leagues, with the results displayed in the table below.

Table of Manager Results Within Their Opening Five Matches Across Europe’s Big 5 Leagues Since 2009/10.

Bearing in mind the returns are based on average odds and that best prices would see a greater return of ~5%, there’s value to be had in each of the five leagues, albeit minimal, with the Premier League proving the most fruitful. As these margins aren’t exactly enough to warrant a successful betting strategy, it’s worth delving slightly deeper as a way to gain more value.

When limiting these matches to just home fixtures, a trend begins to develop. Serie A and Ligue 1 see a slight increase in profit, though it’s the Premier League that shows the true impact of a new manager with a 23.88% ROI on the home win from 215 matches. Tuchel’s first game as manager didn’t fit the trend, but he’s got a second crack of the whip this Sunday as his side welcome a Burnley team that are coming into some form off the back of successive victories. The Blues are a best price of 21/50 to come away with all three points.

Goals

While home wins might be the bests way for bettors to get returns in the ‘outright’ market, the goals market could offer up some value too. The last thing managers want from their early spell in charge is to be defensively suspect, though without time to manage the defence, they tend not to be as compact and goals could be up for grabs.

In the Premier League, this has proven to be very much the case, and while margins aren’t huge, there is money in backing overs in these matches. Taking just the first three games of a manager’s reign ‘Over 3.5 Goals’ holds the best ROI with 8.69% from the beginning of the 2009/10 season, with ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ seeing a modest 2.47% return and ‘Over 1.5 Goals’ barely breaking even at 0.11%.

This rings particularly true in away games where managers may have less control of proceedings, with a bet of four or more goals in such games returning a 20.19% profit, leaving Chelsea’s trip to Tottenham next week a possible goal-fest, with ‘Over 3.5 Goals’ currently best priced at 12/5.

It’s unclear how long Tuchel will remain in the dugout at Stamford Bridge, and while the system he chooses to implement in the coming weeks may buck the trends in terms of win percentage and rate of goals, it surely won’t be long until we see another new manager in England’s top-flight who may fit this mould down to a ‘T’.

Arsenal (15/8) to inflict further woe on United (6/4)?

We wouldn’t get too carried away with Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Southampton in midweek given Ralph Hasenhuttl was without either of his two first-choice full-backs, while key centre back Jannik Vestergaard also remained on the sidelines. Nonetheless, that victory saw the Gunners win three league trips for the first time since October 2018, and they look to be oozing with confidence. 

Man Utd looked to let their derby victory over Liverpool in the FA Cup get the better of them, as they came crashing back down with a defeat hosting rock bottom Sheffield Utd. To give some perspective on that result, it was the Blades’ first away win in the league for 361 days. You imagine Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will opt to bring Fred, Scott McTominay, Luke Shaw, Edinson Cavani and a new centre back partner for Harry Maguire into the starting team for this trip to the Emirates Stadium though, and that should improve them.

The hosts have now won five of their last six unbeaten outings and welcoming back their captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the camp should give them a boost as well. For all the hosts’ struggles against the best teams, they have gone a respectable W6-D1-L1 from their eight outings here against the ‘Big Six’ since December 2018, while they also beat both Man City and Chelsea at Wembley last term to lift the FA Cup. However, they did concede in five of the most recent six when hosting those top teams, and given the attacking talent at Solskjaer’s disposal, it’s hard to imagine Arsenal keeping a clean sheet. 

The head-to-heads suggest this will be a low scoring affair, as all four league meetings since 2019 have seen fewer than three goals, and that may well be the case again, but we can’t help but think both teams will get on the scoresheet. It goes without saying United’s impressive away form this term, going W12-D2-L2 from their 16 trips, but there is a slight question mark over the difficulty of the majority of those road games, although they did still net in 15 of those, and at the very least they should add to that goalscoring run. 

Arteta’s men have seen a serious upturn in their goalscoring form. 14 goals from their last six league outings is a massive step in the right direction when compared to just four goals from their previous 10 encounters, and although Emile Smith Rowe could be a doubt for this one, the arrival of Martin Odegaard should keep the creative juices flowing. 

A lot of Arsenal’s hope will be riding on the fitness of Thomas Partey in midfield for this one, who put on an excellent display in the reverse fixture back in November. Should he start, there’s every chance the hosts could get another win over the Red Devils, with them taking 10 of a possible 12 points from their visitors since the start of 2019. Furthermore, Man Utd are yet to beat any of the ‘Big Six’ or Leicester this term, so it’s questionable to see them as favourites. 

Stat of the day

  • If Jesse Lingard completes his loan move to West Ham this month, there won’t be a single player from the current Man Utd squad to have scored a Premier League goal for them at the Emirates.

Form Labs delivers bespoke editorial covering a variety of sports to a number of sportsbooks. Click here for more information or contact Nick Haynes on [email protected].

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