You can go here to read our pre-season predictions in full or assume we are telling the truth below…
Easy to start: Who will win the league?
‘Jose always wins in his second season, doesn’t he?’ said John Nicholson, who was joined by Ian Watson in his prediction that the title would go to Manchester United. The rest plumped for Manchester City, though we suspect that was largely because they saw Sarah Winterburn’s prediction that ‘they might just score 100 goals again and give nary a thought to the unnecessary faff of defending’ and decided that the safest option would be to follow suit. Right now four or six are feeling pretty smug.
And now the rest of the top four in order, as is traditional?
Watto ruled out Chelsea on the grounds that they ‘will have at least 10 extra games this season and with a squad no bigger than last year, there’s surely no way they’ll be as fortunate with injuries’. Obviously he didn’t foresee just how poor the rest of the Premier League would be; Chelsea are indeed significantly worse but still safe in third.
Four of us – Sarah, Matt Stead, Watto and Johnny – have faith in Arsenal that may or may not be misplaced. Regardless of what happened last season, only Daniel Storey and Steven Chicken backed Tottenham to make it to the Champions League again.
Nobody said Burnley.
Which three clubs are going down, down, deeper and down?
We all said Burnley. Yes, we are embarrassed.
Storey even said ‘Brighton, Huddersfield and then one of Burnley or Swansea. I’ll go Burnley’ – his worst call since he called his partner his ‘current girlfriend’. Watto and Chicken at least plumped for Swansea, who really do look doomed. Oh and Johnny was the only one of us who believed in Brighton, plumping for Newcastle instead.
Which club will do surprisingly pleasant things?
Winty said West Ham. For f**k’s sake. She was joined by Watto in that misplaced faith in a basket case club.
Storey said Leicester would finish eighth. Soothsayer.
Chicken is no soothsayer, opting for Bournemouth: ‘They’re in their third year and finished ninth last season, so they shouldn’t come as a surprise but they still will.’
Obviously nobody said Burnley. They were going down.
Top scorer, please?
‘Having resisted for three years, I am now ready to embrace Harry Kane,’ said Winterburn, though really we know she wanted to choose Sergio Aguero and was just trying to curse Kane.
Chicken gained points by saying: ‘You’d be a complete and utter moron not to say Harry Kane, unless Sarah hasn’t, in which case it’ll obviously be a tight-run thing between Kane and whoever she’s said. Obviously.’
There were other shouts for Romelu Lukaku and Gabriel Jesus, while Storey opted for Alexandre Lacazette and has been mad at him ever since for not matching his lofty expectations.
The best signing, if you will?
‘Bold call: Alexandre Lacazette will outscore both Alvaro Morata and Romelu Lukaku. I fully expect to see this idiocy/insight referenced in about seven different 16 Conclusions before the season is out.’
Thankfully, nobody seemed to notice. Largely because we have been busy laughing at Steady for claiming ‘Jairo Riedewald and Roque Mesa will be linked with at least one top-six club by January’. Oh and Johnny for saying ‘Kelechi Iheanacho is a great buy for Leicester City’. Or Watto for getting all nostalgic about Javier Hernandez. Or Chicken for bizarrely choosing Asmir Begovic.
Only Storey can be smug (his default position) about suggesting Pascal Gross.
And which new signing will stink the place out?
Three of us said Wayne Rooney; ten PL goals later, it’s fair to say we ballsed that one right up. Storey and Steady both mentioned Alvaro Morata and, although no Diego Costa, he has definitely not stunk any place out at all.
Finally, Watto gets some credit by suggesting: ‘I suspect Victor Lindelof will take time to adjust. He’ll probably be fine eventually, but it won’t be pretty at first.’
Who will win the PFA Player of the Year award?
Winterburn and Storey picked Kevin De Bruyne and are feeling pretty pleased with themselves.
Sarah picked Tom Davies as last season’s breakout star. What about this season?
Winterburn and Storey clearly spend too much time together; they both picked Trent Alexander-Arnold and are now regretting they did not say Joe Gomez instead. There were a couple of shouts for Dominic Solanke but let’s have a sarcastic round of applause for Stead (Marcus Edwards) and Watson (Tammy Abraham could still score double figures, right?)
First manager to leave?
Four of us said Mark Hughes, which can probably file under ‘wishful thinking’. Johnny went for Rafa Benitez because he is a fool and Chicken at least went for a manager who has lost his job in Slaven Bilic. Obviously, nobody saw Frank De Boer coming. Or should we say going?
Champions League winner, please?
Nobody’s picks are out yet, at least. A reminder: Steady said Liverpool.
Finally, I’m giving you a crisp £20 note to use on something happening this season. Where does it go?
Winterburn has wasted money on Alexis Sanchez getting assists, but Watson could yet get a return on the two Manchester clubs being first and second. Johnny’s call of Klopp leaving at the end of the season could still be a goer…if he doesn’t win the Champions League, that is.
Storey is as smug as ever after putting money on Manchester United being top at the end of August. Shame he lost it all on Lacazette.