Posts Tagged ‘La Liga’

José and Pep

Let’s just assume for a minute that Manchester City win the FA Cup and finish in the top four. Certainly one of the two is a probability whilst the other is only a possibility.

Let’s also assume that Manchester United win the Europa League and finish in the top four. At present these are both just possibilities but, remember, they have already won the EFL Cup.

Given these two scenarios, who would be thought to have been the more successful? United or City? José Mourinho or Pep Guardiola? (more…)



Yet again that mediocre La Liga has three teams through to the quarter finals of the Champion’s League, while that brilliant, exciting, competitive and just all-round good egg Premier League has one.

The good thing is that to prove it’s massive superiority over La Liga, it was a Premier League club which knocked out Sevilla. Yes, little old Leicester did what Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur couldn’t do, they made it through to the quarter finals. (more…)


Arséne Wenger and Louis van Gaal have a couple of things in common. Firstly, they are both past the 65 years of age mark. Secondly, they have been unable to adapt themselves to compete in the modern football world.

It is now seven years since van Gaal won La Liga, his last major championship title and a whopping thirteen years since Wenger last won the Premier League. Yes they have both won cups since those days but even a blind squirrel will eventually find a nut and they were both managing historically successful teams at the time. (more…)


Manchester City and Manchester United are probably the two richest clubs in the Premier League. They have the two most successful and, arguably, best managers. They have the best squads and some of the world’s most expensive players.

The only club which comes anywhere near them in these respects is Chelsea, also with great wealth, a big squad and expensive players. Their manager, however, is an unknown quantity at this level. I suppose it could be argued that Pep Guardiola is in the same situation, but he has won far more domestic honours than Antonio Conte. (more…)


Like a chain smoker reaching the airport exit after an eight hour flight, like a shopaholic after a particularly long bank holiday weekend during which all of the shops have been closed, like a fish returning to water after almost too long out of it, these are all experiences which are accompanied, at some stage, with a massive sigh of relief. To return to normal having been out of the comfort zone for so long is a blessing. Just ask the fish! If speech were possible it would surely mop it’s brow, say “phew” and thank it’s lucky stars that it were still around to tell the tale. (more…)


For the first time in a while, the two master tacticians meet in a domestic league game. In truth though, there is little difference nowadays between meeting in the league and meeting in the Champion’s League, the latter being an impossibility until next season, at least.

People will say, ” it’s different when it’s a league game,” or “it’s not the same as in a knockout tournament.” Actually, there are many similarities. Both would want to win their home game in both competitions but would, grudgingly, take not losing as a pretty close second choice. Both would want a point, or a draw, depending upon the competition and which stage has been reached, from the away game. (more…)


Reportedly the most coveted coach in the world, Pep Guardiola enjoyed a successful career as a player at Barcelona and then went on to have a very successful career as their manager.

He surprised a lot of people by choosing to leave the club at the height of their success, citing the need to prove to himself that he could achieve the same levels elsewhere.

He then surprised even more people by opting to go to Germany to become the new manager of Bayern Munich. What was particularly surprising about this move was that he was following a manager who had just won the treble of Bundesliga title, German Cup and Champion’s League. Jupp Heynckes was going to be almost impossible to follow and so it turned out. Pep was successful but, at the time of writing, hadn’t been able to win the Champion’s League and neither, therefore, the treble.

It was no great surprise when he announced that he would be leaving Bayern Munich as he wanted to manage in the English Premier League. I think he found managing Bayern relatively easy and it appeared that they had even less competition in the Bundesliga than Barcelona had in La Liga during his time there. It did not turn out to be the challenge he expected and must have been quite boring, even for him, to know that, barring miracles being bestowed upon other clubs, Bayern Munich would have the league wrapped up by around Christmas. (more…)


Having just watched Manchester United beat a league one team by 1-0, at Old Trafford, thanks to a penalty in the 93rd minute scored by their third choice penalty taker I was not really interested in what van Gaal had to say, but I listened anyway.

As expected he said that the important thing was to win the game, which they did. He did say that United were poor in the first half but were slightly better in the second, which I just about noticed. Saying that they were slightly better should in no way imply that they were actually good.

Certainly they looked better when Memphis Depay came on and he did show a little urgency when he was on the ball, winning the penalty for Rooney to score right at the end.

The problem is that, after reasonable displays against Swansea and Chelsea, United seem to have gone backwards again.

Van Gaal pointed to the fact that Sheffield United defended with ten men behind the ball but what did he expect? They would have been very happy with a replay at Bramhall Lane and the income generated by it so, to play on the break, as they did meant that there were two possible results they would have been happy with. Unfortunately for Nigel Adkins they got the one result that they wouldn’t be happy with. (more…)


Gary Neville is off to Valencia or, from a gastronomic point of view, morcilla will meet paella.

Valencia is the undisputed home of paella. The Spanish dish originally comprising of chicken, rabbit, snails, green beans, white beans and rice. It is now a global dish consisting of whatever people feel like throwing in the pan.

Gary, (and brother Phil), were born in Bury, the undisputed home of the black pudding. So there is some connection between the two. Black pudding or morcilla is also a favourite dish in Spain. How can this match made in heaven possibly fail?

Well, there is the fact that neither of the Neville’s have any management experience. This, of course, may not be a problem as everybody has to start somewhere, but Valencia is a big Spanish club in La Liga, the third best supported after Real Madrid and Barcelona not, for example, Burton Albion which saw Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink take his first steps on the managerial ladder. (more…)


Pep Guardiola during Barcelona's elimination from the Champions League by Chelsea

(Pep on hearing the news that Louis Van Gaal had been appointed Manchester United manager!)

So if reports are to be believed Pep Guardiola would rather move to England as manager of Manchester United than Manchester City. Understandable, really.

Without wishing to offend any City fans, United are the size of club that Guardiola has become accustomed to managing. After Barcelona and Bayern, City would be a bit of a downwards step at this stage in their evolution.

In fairness though, City are the kind of challenge which should appeal to many managers. Almost limitless funds with the opportunity to create history at a club who crave the attention afforded to the likes of United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Bear in mind also that Pellegrini, like van Gaal, has a contract running until 2017, although I doubt City would suffer from any pangs of loyalty if Guardiola gave them the slightest indication that his immediate future lay at the Etihad. (more…)