Reviewing my Predictions for the 2021/22 Premier League Table

Reviewing my Predictions for the 2021/22 Premier League Table

Last year I tried to predict the entire Premier League table before the season kicked off. Join me as I look back at how stupid my predictions were and how badly wrong I was.

Rating my Predictions

I’ve decided to create my own scoring system and rate my predictions. If a prediction is perfect, I’ll get five points. If it is out by one spot, I get three points and if I’m wrong by two places I get one point. The maximum score is 100 if you predict the entire table correctly but clearly I’m not going to get anywhere near 100 points. I’m not expecting to get a very good score this year, but it will be fun giving myself a target to beat in future seasons.

1st – Manchester City – Prediction: 2nd

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For a brief period it looked like we might have a three-horse race for the title, but as Chelsea dropped off, it became clear there are two clubs who are head and shoulders above the rest at the moment. When I said Manchester City would finish behind Chelsea I was too focused on the striker situation. While Lukaku struggled at Chelsea, Man City scored 99 goals with no out-and-out striker. Clearly strikers are over-rated at least by me. Perhaps having a clinical striker would have saved them in the Champions League against Real Madrid but it wasn’t a problem for them in the league. Clearly the lesson for me is to assess the team as a whole and not to get too pre-occupied on one player or position.

2nd – Liverpool – Prediction: 4th

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I was only off by two places but this prediction looks pretty poor in hindsight. Liverpool have clearly been head and shoulders above any other team in the league apart from Man City. The rivalry between Man City and Liverpool has become an epic battle between two of the best teams in the history of English football. I expected squad depth to be an issue for Liverpool again but when they had to rotate, the young players like Curtis Jones and Tsimikas looked really good. I definitely under-estimated the options Klopp had at his disposal. I also predicted them to struggle during the African Cup of Nations with Salah and Mané leaving. In fact they only missed a few games and they made an incredible signing in January with Luis Díaz who was a big part of their run since mid January where they won almost every game in all competitions.

3rd – Chelsea – Prediction: 1st

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Like many, I predicted Chelsea to win the league after they won the Champions League and signed Lukaku. I thought Lukaku would solve Chelsea’s problems upfront but he was a massive disappointment. I still don’t understand why this signing went so badly. It looks like a mixture of Lukaku not fitting the system and Lukaku losing his confidence. At their best, Chelsea looked like genuine title contenders but they never reached the consistency needed to challenge Man City or Liverpool.

4th – Tottenham Hotspur – Prediction: 6th

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As a Spurs fan I started the season with optimism, but things turned out even better than I predicted. When I wrote my predictions I was still worried about losing Kane and whilst it took time for him to regain his form, we saw him playing some of his best football in the second half of the season. Son was also amazing and tied Salah for the Golden Boot award. At the start of the season I was hoping having a new manager would lead to more adventurous and attacking football free from the negativity and gloom that surrounded the club during Mourinho’s tenure. This did eventually happen, but not with Nuno but Conte. Our 3-0 defeat to Manchester United seems like a definitive moment for both clubs. Losing that game led to Conte joining and transformed our season. We also made two fantastic signings in January that gave us a real boost. We still have some gaps in the squad to suit Conte’s formation, but if we make the signings he wants we could have a fantastic season next year as well. I got this prediction wrong, and I’m very happy about that.

5th – Arsenal – Prediction: 7th

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Arsenal’s season ended in despair but on reflection I think they had a good season. Their young players have continued to develop and gain experience. I did predict them to be in a closely-fought battle with Spurs, and for Tottenham to narrowly win-out which in-fact came true. However I predicted both teams to be two places lower. Arsenal seemed to grind out a lot of wins even when not playing to their best but at the end of the season when the pressure ramped up and they started to get injuries things fell apart. It’s going to be challenging to predict how they do next year with the added difficulty of playing in Europe.

6th – Manchester United – Prediction: 3rd

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Everything was set-up for a very exciting season for Manchester United fans but it turned out to be a nightmare season filled with shocking results and performances. Like many I thought they had a very successful summer transfer window with Jordan Sancho and Varane as big signings. It got even better after I made my predictions with the triumphant return of Christiano Ronaldo. However the club is clearly in turmoil from the top down, and my prediction of them finishing above Liverpool now looks utterly stupid. Everyone except Christiano Ronaldo looked like a shadow of their former selves, drained of confidence and completely unable to handle the pressure. This is the first of many predictions that I get zero points for.

7th – West Ham – Prediction: 10th

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I predicted that West Ham would struggle to juggle European commitments with the demands of the Premier League and that they wouldn’t be able to match their achievements from the year before. I thought missing out on Jessie Lingard would be a blow but as it turned out Jarrod Bowen really stepped up with eighteen goals in all competitions. I’m impressed that they managed to combine a long European campaign with playing well enough to qualify for Europe again next year in the league. Their season wasn’t as much of a surprise as Manchester United’s season, but I still get zero points for this prediction.

8th – Leicester – Prediction: 5th

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Reading my article from last year, it seems my most confident prediction was that Leicester would finish fifth. I felt of the teams outside the top four, they had the fewest issues and had been pretty consistent. I was completely wrong, and I score nothing for my most confident prediction! To be fair to my past self, Leicester had an atrocious injury crisis this year, and were never able to field a consistent team. It’s hard to be too critical of them when they had so much bad luck with injuries and Covid.

9th – Brighton – Prediction: 14th

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Brighton have quietly had a fantastic season, beating their record for Premier League points and their highest ever finish in the top flight. They drew a lot of games and are still crying out for a clinical striker but their successes this season went under the radar. They started the season well with four wins in five and managed to turn their season around after six defeats in a row to get eighteen points from nine games and push themselves up the table. I did predict Brighton challenging for the top half of the table but only if they signed a clinical striker. They well out-performed my expectations and finished the season with very memorable results like beating Manchester United 4-0. This prediction was definitely a fail for me.

10th – Wolves – Prediction: 13th

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This was a difficult season to sum up for Wolves. They lost four of the first five games, and then only lost four of the next 19 games. They ended the season with only two points from seven games but finished a very respectable tenth place. Their goalkeeper José Sá stood out in the middle of the season with a string of great performances which was vital as they only managed to score an average of a goal a game. I’m not looking forward to trying to predict what Wolves do next season because they have been so inconsistent this year.

11th – Newcastle – Prediction 11th

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Finally I got a prediction spot-on for the full five points. I doubt anyone is happier with their season than Newcastle fans are after years and years of mediocrity under Mike Ashley. They finally have hope that the focus will be on the players and the football rather than non-stop drama off the pitch. The Saudi ownership isn’t to everyone’s taste but you can’t deny that Eddie Howe has done really well to turn their season around. This was a season of two halves. They were much worse than I expected at the start of the season, and far better than I predicted at the end of the season. Somehow this all evened out to see them finish exactly where I predicted in eleventh.

12th – Crystal Palace – Prediction: 16th

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Crystal Palace surprised a lot of people this season including myself. Patrick Viera has done a fantastic job rebuilding after a lot of older players left last season. They finished a very respectable 12th and easily exceeded my expectations. Conor Gallagher was a revelation at the heart of their midfield and I’m sure Palace would love to extend his load to next season. They looked more solid at the back than ever before and were less reliant on Zaha to win games. A lot of new signings were able to integrate themselves quickly which I think was a surprise even to Palace fans. This was the first time they finished a season with a positive goal difference and even if they lose Conor Gallagher they have had a very good season.

13th – Brentford – Prediction: 15th

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I got this prediction fairly right with Brentford having a fairly comfortable season for a promoted team. They started strongly and when their form dipped they made a sensational signing in Christian Erikson who transformed the team and gave them a real boost. As I predicted they were clearly the one promoted team that really adapted to the challenge of top-flight football and Ivan Toney was a reliable goal-scorer even if he could get anywhere close to the number of goals he scored last year in the Championship. The most important question for them now is what happens to Erikson because signing him for another year would be incredible.

14th – Southampton – Prediction: 20th

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I’m very happy to get this prediction wrong with Southampton finishing several places above relegation instead of bottom of the league. I was concerned they wouldn’t be able to replace the goal-scoring output of Danny Ings but Broja and Adams provided clutch goals in key games and Ward-Prowse was outstanding. Unfortunately I’m still very worried about Southampton. Their form at the end of the season was awful and they only finished a few points above relegation. They will need substantial improvement if they want to survive again next year.

15th – Aston Villa – Prediction: 8th

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With a difference of seven places between my prediction and the final result, this was my worst prediction. Losing Grealish and signing lots of new players meant they were always going to be difficult to predict, but I had a lot of confidence in players like Buendía and Ings. So many players under-performed this season and the team went backwards in the league. Another terrible prediction from me.

16th – Everton – Prediction: 12th

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In my prediction I mentioned that I had no idea what was going on at Everton. I suggested that there might be something wrong behind the scenes but I didn’t realise how bad things were for them. They had some fantastic results at the start of the season, but when things went wrong Everton started sliding down the table and were only able to turn things around at the very end of the season when relegation looked more and more likely. I got this prediction wrong but I think many other people would have predicted Everton to finish much higher up the table.

17th – Leeds – Prediction: 9th

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Leeds are the last team that I got completely wrong. Leeds were so exciting to watch last season and finished ninth which is incredible for a promoted team. I rightly said that they would find the second season tougher than the first, but I didn’t expect it to be this difficult. I predicted them to match their performance and finish ninth again. Instead Leeds narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of the season. After being an exciting team to watch last year, this year they were hit by lots of injuries that completely disrupted any fluency. At times Raphinha was their only real threat and I’m expecting him to attract a lot of attention in the summer transfer window.

18th – Burnley – Prediction: 19th

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I almost got this prediction perfect, with Burnley only finishing a place above my prediction. I’m quietly proud of this prediction, as Burnley have always found a way to stay up. Unfortunately their squad looked thinner than ever, and they went down on the final day of the season. After their takeover and relegation, I’m worried what the future may hold. Their financial situation looks precarious. I hope the parachute pay-outs will help them stabilise and we see them back in the Premier League before too long.

19th – Watford – Prediction: 17th

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Watford set a record number of clean sheets last season in the Championship but showed no signs of defensive solidity this year. They started strongly and it looked like Emmanuel Dennis and Ismaïla Sarr would score the goals needed to keep them up. They even had a very memorable 4-1 victory against Manchester United that got Ole Gunnar Solskjær the sack. However they were awful for the second half of the season, and as the relegation battle heated up they faded away with out putting up a fight. I think some of their players showed signs of being Premier League quality, and believe that the team should have won more points. I wonder if some of these players will be snapped up by other Premier League clubs for next season.

20th – Norwich City – Prediction: 18th

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Norwich started the season as one of the favourites for relegation and nobody was surprised to see them go down. I was hoping however that their players would benefit from their top-flight experience two years ago. Sadly, their performances didn’t show any substantial improvement. They made plenty of signings in the summer, but none of them stood out. I predicted them to go down, but to beat their points total from their last spell in the Premier League. They went from twenty-one points to twenty-two points so this prediction only just came true.

Final Score

Here are the results for my scoring system. It doesn’t look good…