Sir Alex Ferguson has Manchester United sitting nine points clear of their nearest Premier League rivals. He's guided his side into a mouth-watering Champions League last-16 match against Real Madrid. He's into the FA Cup fifth round - basically, he's on course to the repeat the historic treble of 1999 - one of the greatest club seasons ever. And yet, he's not currently ranked as the best manager in England.

He's not even the second. Or third. Sir Alex Ferguson, top of the Premier League table, is the fourth best manager in the English game, according to the latest quarterly ranking released by the Castrol LMA Managers' Performance Table.

Devised to allow bosses from the top four English divisions to match up against one another, the ranking system accounts for wins, losses and draws, taking into consideration home and away fixtures, while also awarding points for winning margain, clean sheets and goals-scored.

Much like the maligned FIFA world rankings system, the maths behind the manager comparison is no doubt sound. There's no question that it makes sense in theory.

It's just, in practice, it throws up some mind-boggling results. 

Top of the pile is Leicester manager Nigel Pearson - a good manager, Leicester sit second in the Championship, but the best in England? Statistically, it would appear so. 

But what about Cardiff manager Malky MacKay? The Scot has his team 10 points clear of Pearson's, and on a much tighter budget. Still, he's down in 16th on the list. 

Drop down a division, and there's another marvelous success story. Ronnie Moore at Tranmere has worked wonders on a shoestring this campaign, guiding the Merseyside club to the top of League 1 - well-placed for a stunning promotion to the Championship.

As for Ferguson, the United manager may not be too bothered to see Pearson top and Swindon manager Paulo Di Canio third, but Roberto Mancini in at number two in the table is bound to irk the United boss.

Yep, that's right. Mancini. The Manchester City boss. Two places higher than Ferguson in a table designed to measure the best bosses in English football this season.

It's hard to believe, considering the current structure of the Premier League table, but it's true. The latest standings here only provide statistics from the third quarter of the 2012-13 season, but even looking back on the previous two quarters, Ferguson has finished behind the likes of Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger. Perhaps it's his consistency is what sets him apart - and he's regularly in the top five or six.

Other top-flight names to crack the top 10 this quarter include Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool at number six, and Reading boss Brian McDermott at number nine.

Expanding out to the top 20, Rafa Benitez makes a surprise appearance at number 13, one place ahead of Gunners manager Arsene Wenger.

A few controversial picks in there - no room for Andre Villas-Boas who has Spurs in a Champions League qualification spot, nor Everton boss David Moyes who is once again performing miracles from the Goodison Park dugout.

So opening up the question, and considering the results of the table here, who do you think is the current best manager in England?

The top 20 Castrol LMA Managers' Performance Table is listed below. Do you agree or disagree with the rankings? Perhaps you can make a strong case for Roberto Mancini, or maybe you think Sir Alex Ferguson deserves top spot?

Join the debate by leaving a comment below...

CASTROL LMA Managers' Performance Table

1. Nigel Pearson - Leicester City

2. Roberto Mancini - Manchester City

3. Paulo Di Canio - Swindon Town

4. Sir Alex Ferguson - Manchester United

5. Gary Johnson - Yeovil Town

6. Brendan Rodgers - Liverpool

7. Micky Adams - Port Vale

8. Martin Allen - Gillingham

9. Brian McDermott - Reading

10. Gianfranco Zola - Watford

11. Paul Tisdale - Exeter City

12. Dean Smith - Walsall

13. Rafa Benitez - Chelsea

14. Arsene Wenger - Arsenal

15. Karl Robinson - MK Dons

16. Malky Mackay - Cardiff

17. Gareth Ainsworth - Wycombe Wanderers 

18. Aidy Boothroyd - Northampton Town

19. Ronnie Moore - Tranmere Rovers

20. Gus Poyet - Brighton and Hove Albion

To see the full CASTROL LMA Managers' Performance Table visit this website.

Topics:
#Premier League
#Manchester United
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