As a football and a Manchester United fan, I decided to do some basic data analysis with the English Premier League (EPL) dataset.
The Best EPL Manager for United
United fans believe that Sir Alex Ferguson was the best manager for the club (and I agree). But how does he compare to managers who have succeeded him? Let’s take a look –
Ryan Giggs has been listed as part of the analysis but has not been considered because he managed just 4 games.
Results – Overall, At Home and Away
Sir Alex has had the best results – the highest percentage of games won and the lowest percentage of games lost. While one could argue that he has the advantage of playing a large number of matches, it is difficult to get consistency in results.
His results are still the best if you consider just Home fixtures or just Away fixtures. He has a win + draw percentage of ~92% at Home. While Van Gaal comes second if you consider only the win percentage at Home (68%), he drops to 3rd place in overall win + draw percentage. The man who comes 2nd is Jose Mourinho with the highest ever draws for United at Old Trafford at ~33% . Not being in the top 3 tells you that Solskjaer has a lot of work to do.
In Away fixtures, David Moyes leads Sir Alex by 0.09% in the win percentage but drops to second last position if you consider a win + draw percentage. With the impressive Away performances this season – Solskjaer follows right behind Sir Alex at 2nd position. Van Gaal though, has the worst record in Away fixtures with a loss of ~34%.
David Moyes has lost as many fixtures (both away and Home) as Van Gaal has lost Away or as Jose Mourinho has drawn at Home.
Goals Scored – Overall, At Home and Away
Sir Alex still holds the highest goals scored per match ratio followed closely by Solskjaer. Mourinho and Van Gaal are at the bottom of the list with the least goals scored per match ratio – which says that we were not scoring enough goals with both managers.
So how did Van Gaal and Jose do at Home and away? Turns out they were just as bad but we do have some surprises.
David Moyes did the worst at Home but also the best away with 1.39 and 1.89 goals scored per match ratio respectively.
Van Gaal even with a better result record at Home compared to Solskjaer, had a significantly less goals scored per match ratio.
Goals Conceded – Overall, At Home and Away
Sir Alex still holds the lowest goals conceded per match ratio. It should not come as a surprise that David Moyes conceded a lot of goals seeing that he has lost the highest number of fixtures. It is also not a surprise that Solskjaer comes second on the list. United defense especially Maguire and Lindelof (and De Gea occasionally) have had some terrible days at the office the last couple of seasons – they have been in the spotlight and have been criticized a lot.
When broken down by Home and Away games, a different reality jumps out at you.
Van Gaal conceded least goals at Home but most Away with 0.63 and 1.26 goals respectively whereas Solskjaer conceded high number of goals at Home but lowest Away with 1.16 and 0.98 respectively.
Both Sir Alex and David Moyes were consistent in that Sir Alex conceded less goals both at Home and Away whereas David Moyes conceded more goals at Home and Away.
In Part 2 we will discuss how each manager performed against rival clubs.
EPL Data extracted from – https://www.football-data.co.uk/data.php
Analysis done using pandas and NumPy on Jupyter Notebook