As the new season shapes up with all its intrigue, we often end up perusing through the big name websites, looking for predictions from the know-it-alls. In truth, I never really took these pundits’ opinions too seriously. I find it hard to believe in the possibility of a complete neutral – personal preference always creeps in somewhere. When you have a Mr Hansen praising a dogged 1-0 win, you can sense a leaning, and it comes as no surprise when his season prediction lines up in favour of the park-a-bus teams.
In all of this I’ve had one regret. Having read predictions at the start of a new season, with pundits happy to p
unt Arsenal out of the top four, I wish I had the predictions on record at the end of the season, so the authors could have their gesticulation held up to the light. I still have the press clipping half way through a Championship season about 5 years ago, showing the table with Crystal Palace languishing one place above relegation in December. That was the season they got promoted. I love that clipping.
So here then is a collation of all the predictions for the season. I hope you’ll bookmark this site and enjoy popping back again to see how the pundits performed. Blimey, they’re getting paid for it.
Alex Dunn has the photo finish as follows:
1 – Man Utd
2 – Chelsea
3 – Liverpool
4 – Arsenal
5 – Spurs
6 – Portsmouth
7 – Everton
8 – Aston Villa
9 – Man City
10 – Newcastle
11 – West Ham
12 – Middlesbrough
13 – Blackburn
14 – Sunderland
15 – Wigan
16 – Fulham
17 – Bolton
18 – West Brom
19 – Hull
20 – Stoke
He quips on Arsenal: “… are they in danger of becoming the Premier League’s Crewe? Pretty on the eye but in reality a feeder club for those higher up the football pyramid.”
Mark Lawrenson doesn’t provide a table, but he does provide pearls of wisdom: “I think they might slip from third to fourth this season”.
John Carter pins his colours:
2. Man Utd
7. Aston Villa
9. Man City
10. West Ham
17. West Brom
19. Stoke City
20. Hull City
“…it’s the lack of signings that could hinder their aspirations.” Well, assuming young players don’t count as signings of course.
They’ve gone for the medley ensemble here, so no league table. Apparently Arsenal are the forgotten club in the top four in these waters – “Arsenal look short of goals”.
Kevin McCarra thinks that “There is determination and a magnificent arrogance in Wenger’s belief that Arsenal should prosper only on his own thrifty terms… the financial restrictions make it improbable that Wenger’s team will take the Premier League”.
Paul Wilson saves it all for the header: “The odds don’t lie when the Big Four shrink to a top two”. No, that doesn’t include Arsenal.
Not much to say here, apart from “the squad does look thin”.
Perusing across the sources, it seems most writers are tipping Chelsea for the title, based on the charisma of their new coach, the retention of their stars and the lack of an Africa Nations Cup this season. It appears that Manchester United haven’t a chance if they don’t sign Berbatov, which is exactly why Tottenham have been winning the title all these years. Speaking of the devil, every Wayne, Julie and Mary is tipping them for fifth place – I guess that kisses their Champions League shot goodbye. Liverpool are as yet stuck in tinkerman land, if pundit opinions are to be taken seriously, and only West Brom seem to have a hope of surviving promotion.
As for the Arsenal, it would be very sweet indeed to look back at the end of the season and realise that they all completely underestimated us. But that’s another story still to tell.