Every year we line up to give our pre-season predictions and every year we hold up our hands and admit we know nothing.
You can read the full predictions here or just join us on a journey through the nonsense…
As is traditional, tell me who will win the league.
‘If Manchester City can’t win the league with their massive resources, when they’ve got at least two teams who are good enough to do so, then Pep Guardiola should be ashamed,’ said John Nicholson, who massively overestimated the size of City’s squad but did at least get his prediction right. As did Jason Soutar. The rest of us should be embarrassed for we drunk the Chelsea Kool-Aid. A lesson: Never accept blue drinks.
Literally nobody mentioned Liverpool. It’s like we collectively forgot they existed.
And the rest of the top four, in order. Which nobody ever gets right.
In order? Only one of us – Matt Stead – got them in any kind of order at all, as he rightly predicted that Manchester United would miss out to Tottenham. As they were then being managed by Nuno, what the actual f*** was he thinking?
Everybody else just shuffled around the previous season’s top four, except for Will Ford, who predicted that Leicester City would replace Liverpool in the Champions League places. He’s an idiot.
Three picks for relegation please.
Take a bow, Jason Soutar for this: ‘Burnley. I’m so naive. Norwich. Yo-yo team. Watford. They’re just a bit ‘meh’, really.’
Most of us got it all two-thirds right with no absolute stinkers. How were Ian Watson and Joe Williams to know that Newcastle United would be owned by the whole of the Middle East? Or something.
Which club will be a pleasant surprise?
The correct answer to this is Brentford and that means Watson and Williams earn some points back after the Newcastle debacle.
This was pretty on the nose from Sarah Winterburn – ‘No way Crystal Palace will be as bad as some think. Also, Arsenal for top six. Is that a surprise?’ – while Dave Tickner predicting that the north London teams would finish fifth and sixth was a Manchester United meltdown away from the truth.
Steady suggested Everton ‘will Be There Or Thereabouts for the coveted Conference spot thanks to Rafa’ was bad, but perhaps not quite as bad as Soutar suggesting a ‘top-eight finish inbound’ for Leeds United.
Still, at least they didn’t suggest Leicester City would finish above Liverpool.
Who will win the Golden Boot?
So much Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane here that it’s genuinely upsetting to read. Williams did at least mention Mo Salah.
Which new signing will have the greatest positive impact?
In our defence, the new signings that have made the greatest positive impact were all made after these predictions were made so nobody could hope to have the ‘right’ answer.
But wrong answers include Raphael Varane (Watson), Jadon Sancho (Ford), Emiliano Buendia (Williams) and Leon Bailey (Soutar there, adding Villa to Leeds in his top-eight predictions, the daft lummox).
Winterburn and Tickner can take some pride from mentioning Cristian Romero, though Tickner mostly just copies the boss so how much credit should we actually give?
And which one will turn out to be a massive flop?
‘Man City are paying £100m for Jack Grealish and they will get worse. That has to make him a flop’ shows that Winterburn had the kernel of the right idea but ultimately cocked it.
‘Jack Grealish will be crowned as such ludicrously early but by January everyone will be regretting their diving fraudster hot takes as he settles in’ was closer from Stead, who ultimately said Leon Bailey. Watson and Ford also said Bailey; why were we so obsessed with Leon bloody Bailey?
Williams was right about Adam Armstrong at Southampton while Tickner and Nicholson were very much not right about Ibrahima Konate at Liverpool and Christian Romero at Tottenham. Meanwhile, what has Soutar got against Joachim Andersen? It had all started so well for the plucky Scot.
Who will be the biggest bloody bargain?
There’s a lot of Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray here and for about three weeks there we thought we had smashed it. This from Stead – ‘Townsend gets ten assists at Everton. Valentino Livramento does a Tariq Lamptey, hopefully sans injury. Emmanuel Dennis has an Ighalo season at Watford. One of the good ones’ – was only eight assists out. So, so close.
Watson chose Milot Rashica and Boubakary Soumare and probably should have swerved both, while Williams and Soutar get a little credit for picking out Michael Olise.
The right answer? Maybe Tino Livramento (£5m), Jose Sa (£7m) or Craig Dawson (£2m)?
Who will be named the PFA Player of the Year?
We don’t know yet but it’s probably Salah. It definitely won’t be Kai Havertz (f***ing hell, Ford).
First manager to leave their Premier League job?
‘Xisco Munoz. This is Watford’ – boom, Winterburn.
That was echoed by Watson, Tickner, Williams and Nicholson.
This was Soutar: ‘Mikel Arteta. As an Arsenal fan I can see us losing our first three games, continuing to struggle and then end up managerless by November at the latest.’
He was kind of right. But then so, so wrong that he ended up writing a ‘mea culpa’.
Pick the Champions League winner.
There was a sh*t-tonne of PSG here; we were giddy on Lionel Messi.
The only man in for a shout at glory is Ford, who said ‘Liverpool. It will be an all eggs in one basket situation come the knockout stages. Jurgen Klopp’s last hurrah.’
Even when he’s right…
In five words, tell us what you are most excited about this season.
‘The rejuvenation of Dele Alli’ is quite the take from Tickner. He probably should have copied Winterburn, who went for a ‘a proper bloody title race’. Damn right it was. Just a shame that we all thought it would be between Chelsea and Manchester City because we are numpties with short memories.