Premier League: Who is the top-flight's most entertaining manager?

Mike Holden by Mike Holden / 09 December 2016, 16:53

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) plucks out the Premier League's most entertaining manager after ranking each gaffer based on average goals per game.

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There’s one name that sticks out like a sore thumb towards the top of the Premier League table for most entertaining managers: Jose Mourinho. He isn’t meant to be there, right? I mean, what’s that all about? The man who invented the phrase ‘parking the bus’ is notorious for being the best exponent of it.

Well, yes and no. Because Mourinho’s total goals record over the past eight years tells us a few things. It tells us his teams do score goals and lots of them, they just don’t over-commit when games are tight. However, when it comes to grabbing a lead and then picking off opponents on the counter, no other manager in the English game can hold a candle to the Portuguese.

It also tells us that Mourinho has, for the most part, managed clubs who are vastly superior to the majority of their rivals in their given league. His three seasons at Real Madrid immediately spring to mind, during which time the Bernabeu giants scored five or more goals on 21 separate occasions. Over the course of 114 matches, the Merengues scored 326 times and conceded 107 for an overall total of 433, which averages at 3.8 goals per game.

However, his record since returning to Premier League in the summer of 2013 is nothing like as spectacular - 286 goals from 107 games, which is 2.44 goals per game. For Manchester United fans, their current run rate of 2.50 goals per game is a slight improvement on the 2.40 average under Louis van Gaal but one assumes Mourinho will need to do much better if the Red Devils are going to start dining at the top table once again.

Pep Guardiola leads the way with 3.28 goals per game but the thinking about his time at Barcelona and Bayern Munich is much the same as with Mourinho at Madrid, their all-round superiority over the rest of the league enabled the Catalan to do as he pleased most weeks. Mind you, Guardiola is making a better fist of maintaining his usual standards. Games involving Manchester City this season currently average 3.21 goals per game.

Despite sitting fifth in the table, or third among those managers who have registered at least two full seasons in the data set, Jurgen Klopp can reasonably claim to be the most entertaining manager of all. Since his arrival in England 14 months ago, Liverpool matches have produced an average of 3.36 goals per game, which puts Guardiola in the shade.

Few will be surprised to see the names of Tony Pulis, Sean Dyche and Aitor Karanka towards the bottom of the table, although the early signs indicate that Antonio Conte is nothing like as dull as 2.57 average across six seasons in Serie A would appear to suggest. After 14 matches, matches involving his Chelsea side average 3.07 goals per game.

Notes

  • Pld = the number of matches involving each manager since August 2008.
  • GPG = average goals per game over the course of stated matches.
  • The tables include all matches played since the start of the 2008/09 season across the four English leagues, La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue Un.
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Darren Moore
Darren Moore
(Doncaster Rovers)
1st March
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