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Greatest managerial lineup in Premier League history will see philosophies clash

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No league in soccer history has ever been blessed with this many world-class managers all at the same time.

Ever.

[ MORE: Every PL season preview ]

Ahead of the 2016-17 Premier League season kicking off, much of the talk has been about how the men in the dugouts will succeed rather than the focus being on the players they pick to go out on the pitch.

When you sift through the 20 managers in the PL this season, it’s easy to understand why.

In no particular order Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho, Mauricio PochettinoAntonio ConteArsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola will all be managing in the Premier League.

Oh yeah, did we mention Slaven BilicRonald KoemanClaudio Ranieri and Eddie Howe will also be around after overseeing stunning campaigns in 2015-16?

[ MORE: Ranking top 10 players in each position

And, just to cap it off, there’s plenty of intrigue around new boys Claude Puel and Walter Mazzarri who’ve had plenty of success in Europe, plus David Moyes is back and Aitor Karanka and Sean Dyche will fancy their chances of solidifying their newly-promoted teams in the PL. Then there’s Hull City, who have yet to appoint a manager but Sir Alex Ferguson‘s former assistant manager Mike Phelan will take charge for their PL opener and then go from there.

Who have I left out? Some of the more unfashionable names but they are shrewd tacticians who have got the best from their resources: Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, Francesco Guidolin and Mark Hughes.

This is insane. No wonder Wenger called this season’s lineup a “world championship of managers” as all-conquering Guardiola arrives as the messiah following domination with Barcelona and Bayern Munich and Conte also lands on English soil for the first time after excelling with Italy and Juventus.

The charisma levels are on overload. The twisting subplots are plentiful. The tactical ingenuity is at an all-time high.

Quite simply we are about to witness a managerial battle unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - JULY 16: Head coach of Chelsea Antonio Conte gestures during an friendly match between SK Rapid Vienna and Chelsea F.C. at Allianz Stadion on July 16, 2016 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)

Of course, whether or not a team wins has to do with performances out on the pitch from the players themselves but all of the prep work, the tactics and the decisions on how each team will play comes from the main men.

Styles will clash. Emotions will run high. Technical areas will become war zones.

Pep Guardiola vs. Jose Mourinho in Manchester derbies following their heated battles in Spain with Barcelona and Real Madrid. Arsene Wenger vs. Jose Mourinho will see their bitter rivalry renewed. Arsene Wenger vs. Mauricio Pochettino in the north London derby. Jurgen Klopp vs. Ronald Koeman in the Merseyside derby. Jurgen Klopp vs. Jose Mourinho as two new-look Liverpool and Manchester United sides clash. Jose Mourinho vs. erm… Jose Mourinho because that’s just the way he is.

My head is spinning.

The battles will intrigue. The intensity will be unbearable. The tactical awareness will be astuter than ever before.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 13: Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool and Arsene Wenger Manager of Arsenal look on during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on January 13, 2016 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

One of the most exciting things about this conglomeration of the game’s brightest minds all in one place is that each of their managerial style’s is very different.

From the high-pressing of Pochettino to the rapid counters of Klopp to the fluidity of Wenger and the directness of Mourinho, from the defensive solidity of Conte to the dominant possession game of Guardiola, however you view the best way to play the game, it’s highly-likely a manager in the PL will set his team up to do just that this season.

The Premier League is often a gift that keeps giving. With world-record $120 million players performing in front of packed out stadiums and high drama, it is held up as the beacon for what every major league wants to become in the modern era.

Then, this happened. Something nobody would’ve ever predicted but something that is happening before our very eyes.

Never before has any league at any time in history had such a talented group of managers at its disposal.

There can be only one winner and Klopp, Mourinho, Pochettino, Conte, Wenger, Guardiola and even Ranieri believe they should be lifting the title this season.

Let the fun begin in dugouts up and down the land.

Leagues Cup: Lampson leads LA; Fire out

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There’s no shame in Liga MX being a superior league to Major League Soccer, but it would be nice to get more showings of strength from the rapidly improving top flight for Canada and the United States.

The Leagues Cup provided that chance for four teams of MLS, who could make a statement with three quick victories over the next two months. In at least one of Tuesday’s cases, a side’s backups and reserves gave its club the chance to take it more seriously in the semifinals.

[ MORE: Rodgers talks down Maguire sale ]

The Mexican sides, by and large, spend more money deeper into their squad, and most of the clubs were established well before still relatively young MLS.

Throw in both MLS sides clearly ignoring the tournament in favor of weekend league outings, and what could’ve been a really cool tournament could’ve also wasted a lot of peoples’ time on Wednesday despite MLS having the distinct advantage of being hosts for all four quarterfinals.

Godspeed, LA Galaxy.

Chicago Fire 0-2 Cruz Azul

Chicago opted to keep many of its first-choice players on the bench or out of the 18, and it showed in an easy win for away side.

Cruz Azul out-attempted the Fire by a 14-5 margin, and held 69 percent of possession. Fire backstop Richard Sanchez was forced to make six saves, but Roberto Alvarado and Elias Hernandez scored late in each half to plug a couple of away goals onto the board.

Alvarado’s goal was simply magical.

LA Galaxy 2-2 (3-1 pens) Club Tijuana

The resilient hosts took the favored visitors to penalties, where

Servando Carrasco gave LA a lead, and Matt Lampson stopped Erick “Cubo” Torres only to see Efrain Alvarez clanked the next effort off the post. Ariel Nahuelpán then leveled the score before Gibran Lajud made a save for Tijuana

But Lampson answered the bell, and it was 1-1 after three rounds each. He made another save on Angel Sepulveda’s poor penalty, and Giancarlo Gonzalez sent the Galaxy into the semifinals.

Tijuana had most of the ball, nearly doubled LA’s passes, and out-attempted the Galaxy 20-7.

Emmanuel Boateng turned a Kai Koreniuk shot past Gibran Lajud for a 27th minute lead, but TJ tied the score within six minutes and took the lead just before halftime.

Dave Romney had an answer after halftime with a thundering header off an Efrain Alvarez corner kick, and LA was back in business with 37 minutes to play.

Tijuana’s Miller Bolanos hit the post in the 70th, but the danger was largely non-existent the rest of the way aside from wasted free kicks.

LA’s Julian Araujo was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card.

10-man Real Madrid comes back to draw 10-man Arsenal

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Maybe Zinedine Zidane ought to rethink his stance on Gareth Bale?

Of course it’s just preseason, but the on-the-market Real Match forward subbed into Tuesday’s match in Maryland on Tuesday and spearheaded a comeback 2-2 draw against Arsenal.

Real won in penalties, as all International Champions Cup matches must have a winner.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

Real was down a man after 10 minutes when Nacho Fernandez handled a ball on the goal line, and Arsenal also went down a man when Sokratis Papastathopoulos saw his second yellow of the contest in the 40th minute.

Alexandre Lacazette converted a penalty, then set-up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a goal 14 minutes later as the Gunners handled their business early.

The chemistry between two remains very real.

Real started new boys Eden Hazard, Ferland Mendy, and Luka Jovic in addition to Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, and Sergio Ramos.

Bale came in for Hazard at halftime and poked a 57th minute rebound home and Marcelo set up Marco Asensio two minutes later to complete the comeback.

Asensio, sadly, would only last a few more minutes, needing to be stretchered off with injury.

Champions League wrap: PSV strikes late to win thriller (video)

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Five first legs of the UEFA Champions League’s second qualifying round are in the books, including a thrilling back-and-forth with a show-stopping stoppage time winner.

[ MORE: Rodgers talks down Maguire sale ]


PSV Eindhoven 3-2 FC Basel

Bruma scored a debut opener for the Dutch hosts, who fell behind 2-1 in the 79th minute before Sam Lammers and Donyell Malen struck in the 89th minute and second minute of stoppage, respectively, to put PSV ahead.

Basel will be okay taken two away goals home via Albian Aljeti and Omar Alderete.

Lammers came in for Mexican star Hirving Lozano in the 79th minute to score the leveler within 10 minutes before Malen, who went the full 90, kept his focus to deliver this clever winner.

The New Saints 0-2 Copenhagen

Pieros Sotiriou and Robert Skov scored on either side of halftime to give the Danish powers a healthy advantage heading into the second leg.

Elsewhere
FK Sutjeska 0-1 APOEL Nicosia
Saburtalo 0-2 Dinamo Zagreb
Viktoria Plzen 0-0 Olympiacos

Wednesday
BATE Borisov v. Rosenborg — 1 p.m. ET
Ferencvaros v. Valletta — 2 p.m. ET
CFR Cluj v. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2 p.m. ET
Maribor v. AIK — 2:15 p.m. ET
Red Star Belgrade v. HJK Helsinki — 2:45 p.m. ET
Dundalk v. Qarabag — 2:45 p.m. ET
Celtic v. Nomme Kalju — 2:45 p.m. ET

Rodgers says no close bids for Maguire

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Those tired of seeing Harry Maguire‘s name in the headlines, hoping his transfer saga had concluded with weekend reports that Manchester United agreed to a fee with Leicester City, well, they are going to be sorely disappointed.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers credited Maguire for his professionalism — the center back scored in a friendly win on Tuesday — and said that the club’s vice chairman Aiyawatt “Top” Srivaddhanaprabha has not received a fitting bid for the 26 year old’s services.

From The Leicester Mercury:

“There’s no big pressure to sell any player. If a player does leave Leicester City, then the player would need to be met because we have a top-level player, coveted by top-level clubs and I respect that,” Rodgers said. “Harry is on a long contract here and there’s been no valuation or near to that which would make Top have a look.”

Nooooooooooo.

Look, we’ve still got a few weeks until the close of the window, and every supporter has a target they want their club to acquire and some have some assets they hope stay in the same shirt at the deadline.

The Maguire story is getting a bit tedious now. He wants to go to Manchester United, but Rodgers is happy to keep him at Leicester. Maguire’s not the player who will quit on the club if he’s not sold, and Leicester’s hope of landing a replacement will dip as the deadline draws nearer and clubs like Burnley (James Tarkowski) realize their replacements options have been lessened by the wait.