Back in September, some of the AS contributors and friends made predictions for the season. Did anyone see this type of season coming? What the f&^% did we know! The best (and worst) answers are below!
Prediction: Who will win the league. Bonus points if you pretend it isn’t Liverpool.
Almost everyone predicted Liverpool to win the league this year, except two:
Vijay Rajaji: Honestly, I want the bonus points so I’m gonna say City. I think it’ll be Liverpool but I’m too competitive – want bonus points, baby!
Dan Skinner aka “Soccerhaus”: Manchester City, who will also crash out of the Champions League short of the semifinals once again
Congrats on the bonus points, Vijay?
What about the rest of the top four, in order…
Several of our contributors got the top four correct, but as is customary, no one got the order quite right. A couple of people surmised that midtable clubs Arsenal, Wolves, Leeds, and yes, even Everton might crack the top four…. hahahahaha oh Everton.
Jamie: City, Chelsea, and (so far behind it may as well be fifth) United
Mateusz: Citeh, Chelsea, ManU
Vijay: Liverpool, Chelsea, United
Jack: A tight race with City, Chelsea a close third, and the Manchester United diving team coming in fourth.
Jordan: Chelsea, City, United
Timucin: City, Chelsea, United
Paul: City, United, Chelsea
Brando: Man City, Chelsea, United
J.L.: Man City, Chelsea, United
By the numbers… how we predicted the top four to finish this season
What are your three picks for relegation this year?
Almost everyone had Fulham and West Brom’s number. Perhaps not surprisingly, no one picked Sheffield to suffer the absolute dumpster fire of the season they did after last year, especially after acquiring Rhian Brewster. Sad days for Chris Wilder, as he had such a good first season in the Premier League. West Ham was another popular pick to go down, with horrible form and a certain ex-Blueshite manager with no recent history of winning… until this season.
By the numbers… who we picked for relegation
Jamie: The obvious choices for me West Brom, Fulham, and Villa.
Mateusz: West Brom, Aston Villa, Fulham
Vijay: I’m gonna do a shocker: Crystal Palace, West Ham, West Brom
Jack: Villa should have been last year, but since they barely escaped they’ll probably do it again.. so we’ll go with Fulham, West Ham, West Brom
Jordan: West Brom, Villa, Fulham
Chris: WBA, Fulham, West Ham
Soccerhaus: Fullham, West Brom, West Ham
Paul: Fulham, Villa, West Brom
Brando: West Brom, Fulham, Brighton
Michael: West Brom, Brighton, Fulham
J.L.: Aston Villa, Fulham, West Brom
Who will win the Premier League Golden Boot?
Yikes, so many people were so close. About half the predictions were for Mo Salah, the other half for Aubameyang (ouch), with a couple of bold predictions (including my own) that Timo Werner would live up to his billing. As we all know, Harry Kane backed his way into another Golden Boot, with most of his goals padded by a prolific first few months of the season. Special mention to Jeff Cutler, who thought Tammy Abraham had a shot. Jeff might have been right, too, had Lampard been a better or Tuchel given the young forward some actual playing time.
What about the Golden Gloves?
Almost everyone here guessed Alisson except Jeff Cutler, who thought Pope would set the bar for this year’s keepers. Although I have to mention that I actually wrote this in September:
Jack: Alisson Becker – he has the best defense in front of him (though I am concerned about the CB situation if there is an injury)
I won’t say I jinxed it, but instead, ask each of you to please forward my resume to the Michael Edwards and the Liverpool transfer committee so that I may help them avoid any situations next year…
Which new Premier League signing/arrival will be the biggest bargain/have the greatest impact for their team?
Lots to unpack on this question. Many of us predicted Chelsea’s new attack would be firing, which it… did not, although a full preseason under Tuchel and we might see them start to click upfront. Other big misses include Willian and Lallana, who had very underwhelming seasons. Soccerhaus was astute in naming Ferran Torres as the bargain of the season. While he didn’t feature too often, a return of 13 goals and 3 assists for a kid who has not even turned 22 yet seems quite the bargain for $25M…
Jamie: Doherty from Wolves to Spurs maybe not as much value as Wolves got from Irish Bohemians but a great player for Wolves last time out.
Mateusz: Adam Lallana (Fingers crossed)
Vijay: Thiago?? Maybe too soon – I think Kai Havertz – I think he is the absolute real deal.
Jack: As much as I hate to say it, I think Timo Werner is going to be on fire this year.
Jordan: It kills me to praise anyone from Everton, but I have always been a fan of their new signing Allan, the Brazilian from Napoli. I think he has gone under the radar so far, but he could turn out to be a difference-maker for Everton. I am really hoping Lallana does well for Brighton. I also like this defender Leeds signed Robin Koch – he has a funny name which is 50% of the attraction, but he also just made his debut for Germany recently and might be one to watch.
Chris: Gabriel at Arsenal
Hooch: I think the biggest impact will be Werner. Pulisic’s playmaking and his finishing will be a deadly combo…
Timucin: I hate to say it, but I think Werner will have the biggest impact this year.
Soccerhaus: Bargain: Ferran Torres; Impact: Timo Werner.
Paul: Willian to Arsenal. Old-ass Willian on a free immediately improves the front three and gives them another set-piece threat.
Who will be the biggest Premier League flop?
People really wanted to hate on James Rodriguez here – I wonder why? And though he did not have an incredible season, he was Everton’s statistical best player in a number of categories. No Everton first-teamer created nearly as many chances as James, with nine coming in two games against Tottenham, and he did not lose the ball nearly as often as Richarlison or Calvert-Lewin. Other than that, none of the flops did that bad performance-wise, so I have to give this one to minutes. Donny Van de Beek simply did not play for United as he should have. When he did play, he was fine – arguably an upgrade over anyone in the midfield save Bruno. If Ole can get rid of the dead weight of Pogba, Donny might actually make an impact – otherwise, next season might be “Groundhog Day” for him all over again.
Jamie: Take your pick of any of the Chelsea lads. All great players, but doubt they’ll be starting 7 attackers.
Mateusz: Thiago Silva (at least it’s on a free)
Vijay: Hakim Ziyech – he won’t get much playing time and will suck when he does.
Jack: Van de Beek is good, but I don’t see how he fits in that midfield alongside both Bruno Fernandes and Pogba, especially in front of that defense. At least one of them will struggle for minutes, and for me Donny’s the first to go (or at least lose minutes).
Jordan: While I am hoping it is Timo Werner, realistically I have a few theories: I think Donny Van de Beek for United was a dumb signing, and I am not sure how he fits in a side with Pogba and Penandez. I think Willian to Arsenal is dumb since they already had a lot of talented young wingers. The biggest flop of all will probably be James Rodriguez – he just looks washed up since he signed for Madrid.
Chris: James Rodriguez. He’ll watch it from the bench for the most part. I reckon he’ll struggle with the physicality of the league
Hooch: James [Rodriguez] from Everton – he will be frustrated pretty early on playing for a small club
Timucin: Rodrigo with Leeds
Soccerhaus: Returning: Christian Pulisic; New Arrival: James Rodriguez
Paul: For the money spent, I don’t think Chillwell offers a significant upgrade on Alonso or Azpilicueta.
Brando: James Rodriguez
Who will be the Player of the Year for LFC?
Oof. It is hard to look at some of these answers.
Mane? Listen, we all wanted him to do well this year. I thought he was going to challenge for the Ballon D’Or. But despite his late-season resurgence, he had by his own admission “his worst season ever.”
Keita? Who is that?
The only answers we can really consider are Trent and Salah, and I have to give it to Salah for being one goal away from his Golden Boot – despite three different scoring “slumps” this year. Trent’s form also dipped for a few months, which is why he doesn’t get it. How come no one voted for Nat Phillips in September???
Also, I cannot decide if Jeff Cutler’s prediction of “Adama Traore” as the Liverpool POTY was a joke, optimism for a transfer to happen in the final two weeks of last summer’s window, or the result of Jeff taking some pretty strong medication while submitting these to us… I’ll have what he’s having!
Jamie: I’m hoping for Virg
Mateusz: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Vijay: Salah – he’s gonna be closer to his first year again this year in terms of goals/assists, just watch.
Jack: Mane – it’s his year to outshine everyone else.
Jeff: Adama Traore
And the PFA Player of the Year for the Premier League?
Tough not to see this one going to Kane or Ruben Dias – the latter of who has already one the Football Writers’ Association POTY. KDB or Bruno have an outside shot but are unlikely. Because this is too depressing, I’ll leave this right here and move on…
Jamie: Would be nice for AB1 to win the Golden Glove and back-to-back leagues for us! Failing that, Salah for Golden Boot achievements should do the trick!
Mateusz: Kevin de Bruyne
Vijay: Kevin De Bruyne because the national media gets turned on by him. Salah will have a better season but it’ll be KDB because of stupidity.
Jack: Mane – dare I say he makes a push for the Ballon D’Or?
Paul: Bruno Fernandes
J.L.: de Bruyne
Jeff: Son (Tottenham)
Who will be the first manager sacked?
There were only four managerial changes this year, and only three sackings: Slaven Bilic (West Brom) in December, Frank Lampard (Chelsea) in January, and everyone’s favorite mind f&ck, Jose Mourinho was sacked in April. Chris Wilder left Sheffield “with mutual consent” in March.
We definitely voted with our hearts on this one. Lots of us wanted to see Moyes continue his cold streak from last year and flame out of the Premier League, but after qualifying for Europe it looks as if he’s going to be a permanent fixture in West London for some time.
Ole is still at the wheel and will be as long as he keeps United in Europe. Steve Bruce and Dean Smith are also safe. Even Scott Parker somehow kept his position.
Soccerhaus had a big swing-and-a-miss predicting Brendan Rodgers, but the Scotsman may have saved his job by earning Leicester’s first FA Cup victory. Though I have to point out that Leicesters’ end-of-season league form is terrifying. Their points return from the last five fixtures of the four most recent Premier League seasons: FOUR (17/18), FIVE (18/19), FOUR (19/20), FOUR (20/21). Maybe it isn’t being Spursy anymore, but “Fox-ing it up?”
No one pegged Bilic to be sacked, despite everyone realizing West Brom would go down. Lampard was another surprise, but we can laugh about that one. Jordan correctly predicted that Sheffield would implode, but since he was not officially sacked, we have to give this one to those who voted for Mourinho. Still satisfying, no?
Jamie: I believe I choose Ole last year… so I’ll stick it out another year.
Mateusz: David Moyes
Vijay: Everton legend David Moyes
Jack: Moyes by Christmas (though Dean Smith also deserves a shout if Villa’s performances do not improve immediately)
Jordan: Chris Wilder. I think without Henderson in goal, the team might start to unravel. They were not doing great during the restart. He had a few public meltdowns talking shit on his own players.
Chris: Steve Bruce
Timucin: Dean Smith – Villa
Soccerhaus: Brendan Rodgers
Paul: Head says Steve Bruce, heart says Roy Hodgson
Brando: David Moyes
J.L.: Smith (AVL)
Jeff: The guy at Fulham [Scott Parker]
Give me your Champions League winner.
Points to me for guessing Chelsea in an all-English final. Other than that, nothing really to talk about here. Liverpool, the popular choice (surprise!) were in the middle of a slump of form, and could not get their mojo back fast enough to take out a depleted Madrid. Giants Bayern and Juve also struggled, with the bianconeri needing some luck on the last day of their league to qualify for next year’s Champions League. Let’s press the reset button and try again next year?
Jamie: #7th heaven!!!
Vijay: I’ll give you a hint: they’ve conquered all of Europe. And they said they’d never stop.
Jack: Liverpool over Chelsea for an all-England final (with City again dropping out in the quarterfinals).
Jordan: Liverpool v Bayern. Of course Liverpool win.
Hooch: LFC v Juve. LFC Win
Soccerhaus: Bayern Munich goes back-to-back
How about one outlandish prediction for the year?
This is my favorite one each year, because you never know what is going to happen. With such fun predictions, I wanted to give each of these special attention:
Jamie: That the league will continue uninterrupted from beginning to end.
Oh, boy… I guess this was right?
Mateusz: Leeds United finishes top 10 in the league. Key victories: Home vs ManU, Away at Tottenham.
Correct! Although neither prediction was exactly correct, the Whites for Yorkshire did manage to nick four points in four matches against the Mancs and Spurs.
Vijay: I have two. One, Jose Mourinho will get in a slapping contest with either another manager or an opposing assistant coach. Two, Pep will continue to try to talk about how Liverpool gets all the calls because we live rent free.
No slapping contest in sight, and unfortunately Klopp was the one making claims about the calls (though in our opinions I think several of his complaints were warranted… VAR and Premier League refereeing in general was a shambles this year).
Jack: Everton will finish above at least two of Tottenham, Wolves, Leicester.
Oof. This pained me when I wrote it, and it’s even more painful now. After Everton won the League in October, I was feeling confident that they would at least hang on to challenge for European qualification next year. But tenth? Tenth? So very happy I got this one wrong. Had Wolves not lost Jiminez to a skull fracture in November, Everton would likely have been even further down the table.
Jordan: Leeds do the double over United and LFC win one of the Mickey Mouse cups.
Nope and nope. We can all wish, though. Maybe next year?
Chris: I will get slaughtered for this, but the bitters to battle for champions league slot this season.
I had thought so too, but Ancelotti’s team crumbled faster than a sandcastle at high tide.
Hooch: We make United sack another manager..Oles at the unemployment line
Another heart-first prediction. Gollum clutches to his precious team a little bit longer. Personally, I’m OK with that… the longer they keep him, the longer they don’t have a class manager to whip them into shape that would truly challenge the league.
Timucin: Everton will be the most improved team in the league grabbing a spot for Europe with some key additions they made, players Ancelotti knows and has coached before. Sheffield shows a big drop from last year and will battle to stay in Premier League.
If this was November, Timucin would have been 100% right. Unfortunately, Everton did not maintain their form. However, Sheffield did show a big drop and ultimately lost their battle to stay with the big boys.
Soccerhaus: With Premier League stands still empty and home support muted, every team in the league loses at least three home games.
One of the more level-headed and reasonable predictions, I have to say this was the best and most accurate one. Home field advantage simply did not exist this year. Who would have thought Liverpool would have dropped six at home (in a row!), or that most of the teams would have better records on the road than at home? Soccerhaus, that’s who.
Paul: Tottenham misses out on a European spot. Jose loses another dressing room, blames the owner for a lack of financial backing, and leaves to wake for his chance to ruin Chelsea (again).
Another prescient prediction from Mr. Bickler. Does Europa Conference League count as a European Spot? Asking for a friend who supports a small club…
Brando: Leeds finishes mid-table
Maybe not the most outlandish prediction, but still right on.
Michael: After some big transfer market activity, Everton finish 12th
We may have laughed at this one, but 10th is not that far from 12th (though Blues fans would point to the 14-point gap between the two spots).
J.L.: United sell de Gea to Real Madrid
Not yet, but it looks like JL might have been one season premature. De Gea will probably be sold this summer.
Jeff: Leeds into the Champions League!
Maybe if they pick up Traore this year?