Matt Stanger was left impressed by Chelsea's superb first-half display against West Ham as Sam Allardyce's top-four hopes went up in smoke. The Blues will take some beating...
Degsy is tipping Spurs to pile more pressure on Nigel Pearson with a 3-0 win at Leicester on Boxing Day. He also predicts easy wins for United and Arsenal...
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Van Gaal May Be Best In The League
I haven't written in to the Mailbox for a while, but felt the need after Lee's bashing of Man Uniteds fans. I am not even going to argue about the best squads and so forth, because quite simply we don't know who has the best squad for next season and we won't until all transfers are completed.
In terms of the best managers however, I just wanted to make a couple of points. Firstly Lees point that LVG has been managing a considerably longer amount of time then Mourinho - on the face of it ,this is true. However that doesn't take into account LVG's time with the national team and his breaks in football. So in terms of domestic football (which is what lee was comparing) LVG has managed 16 seasons, compared to Mourinhos 13. Hardly significant. Secondly LVG has won 7 domestic leagues, not the 6 cited - which is the same as Mourinho. Throw in the champions league (also 2 runners up spots, so has actually been to more finals then Mourinho) domestic cups (6) and other European trophies (3) then only Mouinho has a record to compare. And yes, Mourinhos record probably is slightly better I will admit. Though it isn't a ridiculous statement for someone to believe LVG is the best manager in the league, especially when you consider the tactical flexibility and style of football he has always tried to bring to his teams.
Throw in the fact that LVG was one of Mourinhos and Guardiolas biggest mentors (a fact both of them admit) and you can see his style and ability has also helped shaped other successful coaches. The fact that Lee tried to compared Pellegrini (2 trophies in European football with 10 seasons under his belt, and Brendan Rogers Is laughable. Booth are good maangers but their records don't compare, and neither has had the same influence on football as LVG (or Mourinho or Wenger for that matter) . Rogers is still young, so has promise, but you simply cant claim him as the best manager in the league at this point of time, because he has never won a major trophy.
Now, I am not saying that LVG IS the best manager in the league, but based on success, trophies and influence he most certainly is in the conversation and it shouldn't be dismissed so readily as Lee in the last Mailbox claimed. I for one am looking forward to seeing him and Mourinho in the same league, because of their personalities and need for success, I think there can be a great rivalry between the two.
Aaron - Dubai
...In response to Lee on his thoughts about Van Gaal being thought of as the best manager.
The stats he mentions in regards to other managers I'll leave for others to rectify. I'll just say why I think that this man is in a class of his own. Besides being very good at his job, he has integrity, pure and simpel.
He left Ajax because he was definitely ready for a new league. He left Barcelona (big club with massive resources) because the president (I forget his name) who brought him there was voted out and he felt obligated to him to resign as a consequence he didn't get a severance fee in the region of 6 million which he would have gotten if he just stayed. He left (sacked) Bayern (big club with massive resources) because big names/legends couldn't live with his style of management.
Was he crap that he left/got sacked by all these clubs? Not if winning AT LEAST the league title at EVERY team (he managed AZ too, a team in Holland) he has ever managed is crap. He's done this at teams with money and without money.
Every manager has players that will go through a brick wall for him and others that hate his guts. Louis van Gaal is no different. Fans and media in England will do the same, they'll think he's an arrogant bastard and condescending towards the sports 'journalists' (no such thing) or they'll love his style of management. Former big names in football will do the same thing, see Cruijff and Beckbauer. Cruijff criticized him constantly when LvG was at Barcelona and when he was almost given a director's position at Ajax. I remember Beckenbauer undermining his position at Bayern too. He won't give a crap though. LvG will do his utter best for the club he's working for, for the players he's managing.
Do you think he was liked in Holland? Only Ajax fans love this guy, the rest didn't like him at all. It was only after a World Cup where nobody gave him and his players a chance that he finally got the respect he deserves. I think it did do him some good, it won't affect him though, he knows what people thought of him before and how little it takes for them to turn on him again.
What United have got now is not an alleged world class manager, he IS a world class manager who has done more than Mourinho and Wenger if you want to tally up trophies. Will he get them back on top? Anything can happen in football but the odds are looking damn good in my opinion.
I am an Arsenal fan myself and always hoped that one day he'd manage Arsenal. Arsenal v United will be odd to watch. I want my team to win but I also value and respect the manager who for me is the best in the world for winning at EVERY club he's been at and staying true to himself in spite of the consequences.
Soei, Arsenal/Bergkamp fan
I would just like to point out to LVG & Wenger that extended pre-season tours only put your club at a disadvantage if you are the only one doing them. Currently, Man Utd, Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal and Spurs are all in North America. Chelsea are staying in Europe.
The Premier League Is Struggling
So, with the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona and being bored in work , it got me thinking. Does the premier league currently have any world class players left in it?
Okay, there's great players but I'm talking players with that something special. Players like Suarez, Ronaldo, Messi, Bale- world class bracket. They're all playing in la liga.
Off top of my head I think possibly Aguero but he had poor season and then a terrible World Cup. Maybe Yaya toure? Hazard hasn't yet proven himself. Is Sanchez the closest?
Other than that I'm struggling to think of any.
Enda (depressed about Remy deal)
Anyone see the rugby sevens at the Commonwealth Games? Amazing, always been a fan of sevens but not really the full game.
Have they ever tried it in footy? 7 a side, full size pitch, 7 minute halves. Goals. Great? Might even suit Villa's style.
Also, credit to the crowd for maintaining a national stereotype by all having a bottle of lager in their hands.
Rob, of Sweden
So short recap from a variety of sport pages:
The rumor goes that Sport in Spain reports Real Madrid has had shirt sales with James Rodriguez name on it sell at a pace of thousands per hour since the signing. Authentic shirt prices seem to be priced around the equivalent of $100 and up around the world. Further calculations thus put the total sales revenue at already around a third to half of the general cost of acquiring James a few days ago.
Please correct me if I am wrong but - though surely exaggerated and silly in its calculations - this kind of information rarely comes out, though one would think it has the same importance as match day audience, stadium attendance, player salaries and ... well, shirt logo deals.
I for one would love to see the data on Arsenal shirts sold in the US around the game in New York and how they sell weeks and months after, as opposed to time prior to the trip. In light of that information, which I assume will show substantially increased and sustained sales in the market, I will say that Van Gaal and Wenger has it wrong. Yes, jet lag and short preparation caused by trips to the US and Asia may damage teams, but the added revenue stream surely more than makes up for it in more than just revenue:
Your ace creative midfielder gets too little rest and will wear down in November because of that 'commercial trip to America'? No problem. Add a true world famous face (faces & names sell better than top players?) for costs above the budget, reap jersey sales to cover the costs and end up with a decent option directly and a solid replacement for November. Wenger knows this, that's why it made no sense to pick up Fabregas with all those old jerseys with his name laying around in drawers (apart from the ones we torched) and Sanchez hot off the World Cup made more sense. That's also why we see the frenzied trade right after the world cup and not at the deadline this year.
Sadly, every penny of the jersey sale does not go back to the team. Namely, other rumors had it that the only reason United got that big chunk of money from Adidas was because they gave up the right to any shirt revenue, whereas Arsenal's now already pathetically outdated cheap Puma deal tilts revenues back to the club. If true (is it? my Google skills are not strong enough to figure it out) the total revenue may end up being the same for the two teams, though I think United made the better deal anyways. Arsenal will now have to hunt for pretty faces with media/gossip/fashion attention, not just star players. United however, can look for quality on the pitch as the only factor.
Jon - Arsenal
Best Signing XI
This could be classified as more of a Friday thing, but hey, screw that. Nothing much to do at work today so, I've come up with a transferred XI. All players have been signed by Premier league clubs in this transfer window. I've gone for a 4-3-3, as it gave me the best team.
LB: Filipe Luis
Girish, AFC, Chennai
So Remy has just failed his medical at Liverpool.
Welcome to Arsenal.
Why Thank You
No More Mr Nice Guy. Excellent headline to accompany the Ospina transfer. Kudos.
Chris, SAF Stand