I love a good own goal, so my thanks go to Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois and Nacer Chadli.
Ramble fo the Day
Here’s what I hope will be a fun exercise for a random Thursday: Rank your top five Premier League managers, based on whatever criteria you want. I’m going with general preferences based on the on and off the field knowledge I have about these people, but if you want to get more creative with it, I won’t stop you.
I decided to give this some real thought and grouped each Premier League manager in what ended up being five groups of varying sizes: the managers I definitely like, the managers I don’t really have an opinion on, the managers I don’t like but don’t actively dislike, the managers I don’t like, and the managers I really don’t like. In some ways, that simplified matters for me because I figured out many of my top choices pretty quickly. I only ended up with four in the top tier, though, which meant I had to pick one from the next two tiers down. It was pretty challenging, but I got there in the end.
These are the five I’m locking in, at least for now because I imagine I will change my mind at some point in the future (and/or be forced to because these people can’t be managers forever).
- Ralph Hassenhüttl, Southampton: Manager of a team that’s pretty fun to watch when they’re good, and doesn’t seem to have any off the field quirks or baggage that would make me like him less. As far as I know, he doesn’t seem to create a negative work environment as a manager.
- Nuno Espírito Santo, Wolverhampton Wanderers: Basically neck and neck with Hassenhüttl, but he got knocked down because I used recency bias as a tiebreaker and Wolves aren’t as good as they have been in recent times. This isn’t a best of all time list, so I feel comfortable keeping things fluid.
- Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds: He’s also in charge of a fun to watch team, but what gets Bielsa a spot in the top five is that he projects an incredibly entertaining vibe overall. His response to Frank Lampard’s spying claims were a true gift to lovers of this sport and will make him on of the most memorable managers in this era of English football. He does pose the risk of creating a negative work environment, so he can’t be as high as the others.
- Roy Hodgson, Crystal Palace: His team isn’t particularly exciting to watch, but Hodgson seems to have a good head on his shoulders and seems like an interesting guy. He speaks five languages and is well traveled, which sounds fascinating to me.
- Brendan Rodgers, Leicester City: Originally part of the tier of managers I don’t like but don’t dislike, Rodgers makes the cut because someone had to based on my completely arbitrary requirements. Since recency bias was my tiebreaker, I have to give Rodgers credit for what he’s done with his Leicester team. He doesn’t seem to project a horrible vibe, either, so there’s that.
tl;dr: I ranked my top five Premier League managers based on my own arbitrary criteria, and encourage you to do the same.
Stay informed, read this: Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford launched a book club for children, with the aim of ensuring literature is accessible to all children
Links of the Day
MLS teams could be knocked out of the playoffs if they have to cancel a match because of a COVID-19 outbreak and cannot reschedule the match.
The PFA is launching a task force focused on brain disease in football.
EFL teams will be allowed to use five substitutes for the rest of the 2020-21 season.
A longer read: Geoff Baker interviews former OL Reign general manager Amy Carnell on the sexual abuse she suffered by her high school football coach for The Seattle Times