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Would You Rather Be Ferguson or Ancelotti Right Now?

Alex Ferguson Manager with Chelsea Manager Carlo Ancelotti Manchester United 2009/10 Chelsea V Manchester United 09/08/09 The FA Community Shield 2009 Wembley Stadium Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International

Which of these records sounds the superior one to you?

  • Played 14, Won 7, Drawn 7, lost 0

Or

  • Played 14, Won 9, Drawn 1, Lost 4

Ok, those of you not drunk will have spotted that these two records amount to the same amount of points. But I think psychologically, the first record looks instinctively superior because there is a zero in the lost column.

Any side which can claim to be unbeaten looks to be on pretty good form whereas a side that has lost nearly 30% of its game looks like it’s off the pace.

This is the dilemma that Manchester United find themselves in. Sure, they go into this weekend unbeaten this season, but this alternative way to break the points down shows how less stellar this form actually is.

Draws are stealth bombers to a clubs’ title challenge and can all too easily wreck a campaign. They mask inadequacy all too easily by preserving the unbeaten status. I keep hearing pundits commenting positively on how United’s form has not been good yet they’re still unbeaten as though this makes it alright. It isn’t. It is hiding a deeper malaise – the inability to win games. A 50% win ratio is not title winning form even in this more unpredictable season.

Unbeaten runs can also offer another danger. When you do eventually lose that pristine, virginal zero in the loss column, it can hurt confidence to a greater degree than would be the case if you’d won a couple more and lost a couple. It’s quite often the case that a long unbeaten run is followed by a couple of losses in short order.

In United’s favour is their tradition of not sitting back in games; a tradition that has been so successful at converting draws into wins in the past. This season it has been deployed more often to turn losses into draws.

You can prove anything with statistics of course and the league table doesn’t lie. United are still in a tremendous position despite their lack lustre form. But being unbeaten isn’t always a blessing

Editor’s Note: Johnny’s new book: “We Ate All The Pies: How Foot ball Swal lowed Britain Whole” is avail able via Ama zon US or Ama zon UK.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. ummm

    November 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    i would choose mourinho over both of them, well i would choose mou over anyone, still undefeated like man u is but have only more wins

  2. Patrick

    November 26, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Who has been arguing that United or Chelsea have been in great form this year? This article attempts to destroy an argument that no one is making. Whether you’re losing 30% of your games or drawing at home to West Ham while blowing leads away, you probably have some problems.

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