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Manager-in: Meet Manchester United’s new boss – Louis van Gaal

Manchester United have signed Louis van Gaal (LvG) in a 3 year deal. He is the first Non-UK (United Kingdom) Manchester United manager. He is very much in contrast to David Moyes. He has managed at the clubs (Barcelona and Bayern Munich) at the highest level, has won trophies (La Liga, Bundesliga, Champions League and UEFA Cup) which are at the highest level and has succeeded a manager (Bobby Robson at Barcelona) at the highest level & coped up well. These 3 factors (none of which David Moyes possessed) are a great fit for Manchester United currently. His signing was supposed to happen 12 years back (2002) when Sir Alex Ferguson thought of retiring (before a change in his decision). After 12 years, it’s happened. Let’s have a look at his managerial statistics.

Louis Van Gaal Managerial Record

Louis Van Gaal Managerial Record

LvG has got a better winning record at every club he has managed. He has even surpassed the record of Sir Alex Ferguson (58.14 % wins in career) in winning percentage with 61.33% career wins. David Moyes was never near both of them at just 44.58%.

LvG vs SAF vs David Moyes

LvG vs SAF vs David Moyes

Sir Alex Ferguson is famous for delivering trophies consistently at Manchester United. David Moyes on the other hand doesn’t have any major trophies to add his name to. Louis van Gaal has the experience winning key trophies like Dutch Eredivisie, Spanish La Liga, Copa del Rey, German Bundesliga, UEFA Super Cup, Inter Continental Cup, UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League. This will prove to be a key factor in turning around things at Old Trafford.

Louis van Gaal Trophy Cabinet

Louis van Gaal Trophy Cabinet

He is one of the philosophers of attacking football and his impact at the clubs is on a positive side. His sides in most of the cases have focused on scoring more goals. AFC AJAX had an instant impact of him. They had an average of 73.5 goals per season in the four seasons before he came. In his first 5 seasons, he managed an average of 91.8 goals per season.



In Barcelona, he managed an average of 78.33 goals per season. In the 3 seasons before he was signed, they had an average of 78 goals per season. There wasn’t much impact in terms of average, but he was consistent in goals and won the league two times & came second once. In Bayern Munich he has managed the team to score the highest number of league goals (81 goals in 34 games) in 23 years. Hence his footballing philosophy always revolves around scoring more goals, which is a very good trait for a Manchester United manager.

Do you know that, Louis van Gaal’s AFC Ajax side lost only 1 match (in KNVB Cup) in the entire 1994-95 campaign in 49 matches.

The concern about him is that he is very stubborn and arrogant. This might help or prove bad for United. He has been sacked by Barcelona in 2003, has resigned as Technical Director from Ajax in 2004 due to internal conflict and has been sacked by Bayern Munich in 2011. He has had highs and lows in his managerial career. Whether he will prove to be a success in United is yet to be seen.

Do you think he will be a success at Manchester United?


Breaking the myth of Fixture Congestion

It’s about resting up and getting ready to go. I don’t know about the Premier League but other countries seem to look after their teams representing them in the Champions League. I’m not sure we do so much here.”

complained Frank Lampard. But is it the reality? How far do the other countries accommodate their fixtures in accordance with that of Champions League (CL)? Findings on analysis seem to paint a different picture! For this analysis, the scope will be restricted to England, Germany and Spain clubs’ (each representing 4 teams in CL) schedules this season (2013-14).

Analyzing the average time between kick-off of CL and other games (League and Cup competitions), the following points are found out:

Avg. time between games' kick-off (CL and others)

Avg. time between games’ kick-off (CL and others)

FIXTURE CONGESTED CLUBS: Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Arsenal and Bayern Munich are the clubs with least average time between games. Real Madrid have a deep squad enough to rotate players and play their usual game. Arsenal is already struggling to cope up with the fixtures. Bayern Munich with their strong position in the league can afford to rotate players according to their need.

LEAST AFFECTED CLUBS: Manchester United (Even without the recent fixture adjustment, their numbers are pretty high), Barcelona, Athletico Madrid and Chelsea are the clubs with the highest average resting time between games. The perception of Barcelona and United getting a preference in the fixture scheduling seems true. Frank Lampard’s complaint of English clubs not getting the support from The Football Association doesn’t seem to be substantiated with facts.

Analysis on averages could be skewed. Hence, it’s good to have an eye on the distribution of the time gaps between the games as well.

No. of times with less than three days between games

No. of times with less than three days between games

Real Madrid are the most affected team since they have to play six times with the gap between two games less than 3 days. This is really grueling for the players. Chelsea, though experiences a higher average time gap, is forced four times to play within a span of 3 days. In contrast, Arsenal which had a lower time gap has been forced to play within a span of 3 days only twice. 

Time gap analysis between games

Time gap analysis between games

Although, Chelsea is stressed out with games within 3 days the overall picture suggests it’s not very much stressed compared to its peers. If you consider the gap of 4 days, Chelsea enjoys the second best fixture schedule only next to Real Sociedad who are already out of the competition. Even Manchester City schedule is stressed out: for 11 times, 2 games are being scheduled withing a gap of 4 days. The same is the situation of Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and Bayern Munich. This pattern also hints out that Spain clubs have a better accommodating fixture schedule than England and Germany ones.

If you see the overall picture,

Country wise Resting time analysis between games

Country wise Resting time analysis between games

1. German clubs have a tight fixture schedule followed by Spanish clubs and English clubs in terms of average resting time between games.

2. Only 59% of times, Spanish clubs are forced to play 2 games within a time span of 4 days. This is markedly higher for German clubs (73%) and English clubs (66%).

Hence the verdict is,

If at all, there needs to be support from the Football Association in terms of scheduling games in accordance to UEFA Champions League fixtures schedule, it’s the German clubs who need more support than English and Spanish clubs from its Football Association.

Football Associations' ranking in terms of scheduling support

Football Associations’ ranking in terms of scheduling support

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