Arsenal & Leeds feature in 5 Premier League predictions pundits got wrong
Premier League predictions are hard to nail on the head, yet this season has coughed up some results and storylines that very few would have believed back in August.
Whilst we have seen some expected predictions come to fruition, like Norwich City and Watford immediately getting relegated and Mohamed Salah leading the Golden Boot race, plenty about this season has been unexpected.
From a title race that actually looks set to go down to a wire long with the race for top-four and the final relegation spot, this could be one of the most dramatic endings to a Premier League season in some time.
And so, with a few games left to go, we take a look back at some predictions pundits and publications made at the start of the season, and delve into just how bad some takes were back in August.
Everyone and their mother tipping Arsenal to finish outside the top-six
Let’s just the elephant out of the room first, not one person predicted Arsenal to finish inside the top-six, and if you did, you’re simply lying to yourself.
The Gunners were slammed for their summer business which saw Mikel Arteta spend the most out of any side in Europe and, on paper at least, not really strengthen the starting XI, with people questioning how long the Arsenal manager would stay in his position.
Three losses at the start of the season that seemed to confirm everyone’s instincts, yet despite this, Arsenal have not looked back since, with the Gunners now in the driving seat for top-four and signings such as Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ben White proving to be masterstrokes from Arteta and technical director Edu Gaspar.
Alan Shearer predicting Manchester United to challenge for the title
From one club many expected to flop to one who had high expectations this season, Manchester United were tipped as one of the four teams who could challenge for the Premier League title, with Alan Shearer just one such pundit making a claim.
Yet fast-forward to now, and United’s season could not have gone any worse. Despite signing Cristiano Ronaldo, a move that put the Red Devils as a sure-bet to win the title. The Manchester giants instead did the opposite and suffered their worst Premier League campaign ever.
A seventh-place finish is on the cards if West Ham can hold their nerve in their remaining games, yet regardless, United’s season has been a car crash followed by a nuclear bomb of a disaster, and the summer rebuild under Erik Ten Hag can’t come soon enough.
The Guardian hinting that Leeds United could finish in a European spot
After a ninth-place finish in their first year back in the Premier League, it was of course realistic to suggest that Leeds United could go one better and somehow end up in the top-seven, with the Guardian making such a prediction.
However, as with all Marcelo Bielsa sides, a breaking point is bound to happen, and injuries have thrown Leeds’ season into one of hope to one of dread, with new manager Jesse Marsch trying his best to keep the Whites away from the relegation zone, a battle the American could well lose.
Gary Neville claiming Everton will have their best season in a long time
Gary Neville’s predictions over the years have swung between spot on to well wide of the mark, and the Sky Sports pundit claiming that Everton will hve their best season in some time under Rafa Benitez might be his worst yet.
The Manchester United legend predicted the controversial appointment of Benitez to work in Everton’s favour. Yet as we now know, the former Liverpool manager was an unanimous flop, with the Toffees now also fighting for their lives at the bottom of the Premier League table.
20 BBC Sport pundits writing off Liverpool for the Premier League title
Liverpool’s title challenge this season was perhaps a certain given how strong Jurgen Klopp’s side are and how every key player has managed to stay fit, yet at the start of the campaign, very few actually thought the Reds would take Manchester City this far to the Premier League trophy.
And no better example shows this than BBC Sports’ pre-season prediction feature, where not one of the 20 pundits asked for the piece tipped Liverpool to win the title, with City and Chelsea the two favourites at the time, much to the amusement of Anfield supporters.
You may also like…
- ‘Endless energy’, ‘incredible mentality’: Edu and Arteta hail Arsenal player who’s loved by everyone
- Nuno Tavares lauds Granit Xhaka and says midfielder’s key for Arsenal
- Report: Arsenal set sights on ‘complete’ £34m goal machine, alternative to Gabriel Jesus
- ‘You can make it’: Robin van Persie has told 22-year-old Arsenal youngster he can reach the next level