Home Features Premier League Retrospect: How Our Predictions Matched Up To Actual Season

Premier League Retrospect: How Our Predictions Matched Up To Actual Season

At the start of the Premier League season, we here at Pundit Arena decided to predict how the upcoming campaign would go in two lines or less.

We also looked at who every team’s key player would be and predicted where they would finish come the end of the season.

Now that the campaign has ended, how did our predictions hold up? Let’s take a look at our Premier League season in retrospect:

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Manchester City

What We Said Preseason:

“Kept everyone and added one of the league’s best in Mahrez. Should stroll to a second successive title.”

Key Man

“Kevin De Bruyne”

Predicted Finish

“1st”

What Actually Happened: – 1st

Riyad Mahrez didn’t prove to be a massive difference and City certainly didn’t stroll to the title but we were correct in saying they’d win it. Kevin De Bruyne’s injury meant that he wasn’t their key man, but any one of Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva or Raheem Sterling could be given it.

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Liverpool

What We Said Preseason:

“The strongest they’ve looked in recent memory with quality additions complimenting an already exciting team. City’s nearest challengers.”

Key Man

“Mohamed Salah”

Predicted Finish

“2nd”

What Actually Happened: – 2nd

They were City’s nearest challengers but nobody could have predicted how near they’d truly get after a remarkable season. They did finish 2nd and Salah was joint top scorer but Virgil Van Dijk was unquestionably their key man.

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Chelsea

What We Said Preseason: 

“Quite a few comings and goings, but keeping Hazard could prove vital. A season of nearly but not quite awaits.”

Key Player:

“Eden Hazard”

Predicted Finish:

“6th”

What Actually Happened: – 3rd

The best of a bad bunch in terms of top four challengers and Sarri’s men snuck into third despite a wildly inconsistent campaign. The transfer ban will be a big blow and they’ll likely lose their key man Eden Hazard in the summer but overall it was probably a better season than expected.

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Tottenham

What We Said Preseason: 

“Didn’t sell any key players but bought none either. Pochettino may live to regret the summer inactivity, but should still steal fourth.”

Key Man

“Harry Kane”

Predicted Finish

“4th”

What Actually Happened: – 4th

Spurs didn’t quite steal fourth, they moreso fell into it, but one could argue that Poch did live to regret the lack of activity in the summer. They would’ve needed a serious squad to challenge the top two though. Harry Kane’s injury-hit campaign meant that Heung Min Son stepped up in his absence. Oh, and they have a Champions League final to look forward to.

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Arsenal

What We Said Preseason: 

“A new manager, and an exciting strikeforce that could have a great season, Emery’s side, however, should still miss out on top 4.

Key Player:

“Mesut Ozil”

Predicted Finish:

“5th”

What Actually Happened: – 5th

Their strikeforce did have quite a good season, Aubameyang especially, but their inconsistency and defensive frailties meant that they did indeed finish outside the top four. The Gabonese striker was their key man unlike Mesut Ozil.

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Manchester United

What We Said Preseason:

“A tough preseason, very few new signings and a decidedly stroppy Mourinho, they’ll finish third, but not by much.”

Key Man

“Paul Pogba”

Predicted Finish

“3rd”

What Actually Happened: – 6th

We gave United too much credit at the start of the season. Mourinho left amidst a spell of poor form and Solksjaer briefly looked like the saviour as they went 12 unbeaten but they fell into old habits and finished 6th without a win in their last five games. Paul Pogba could be their key man but, in truth, very few players stood out for them this season.

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Wolves

What We Said Preseason:

“One of the most exciting promoted sides in years and added quality in the likes of Moutinho and Traore. Will shock everyone.”

Key Man

“Ruben Neves”

Predicted Finish 

“8th”

What Actually Happened: – 7th

Wolves did indeed shock everyone. An amazing season from the promoted side saw them surpass even the lofty expectations we had given them. Ruben Neves had a strong campaign but difficult to see past top scorer Raul Jimenez for their key man award.

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Everton

What We Said Preseason:

“Spent big on the last day of the window but still seem far off top 4. Could start strong but will fade out of top six contention.”

Key Player

“Jordan Pickford”

Predicted Finish

“7th”

What Actually Happened: – 8th

Everton started very inconsistently but ended in the season in promising fashion, finishing 8th although they never really looked like pushing for the top six at any stage. Improvements have certainly been made under Marco Silva, with Gylfi Sigurdsson or Richarlison their key man this campaign.

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Leicester City

What We Said Preseason:

“Still get the feeling Puel doesn’t quite fit the bill. Made some decent signings and held onto Maguire but will miss key man Mahrez.”

Key Player

“Harry Maguire”

Predicted Finish

“9th”

What Actually Happened: – 9th

Puel didn’t fit the bill and was replaced by Brendan Rogers. Leicester were midtable for most of the campaign but a mixture of ever improving young talent and key man Jamie Vardy’s goals meant that they finished ninth with plenty of room for progression.

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West Ham

What We Said Preseason:

“Plenty of new faces and Pellegrini is an excellent coach. You get the feeling they could surprise before eventually falling to midtable mediocrity.”

Key Man

“Marko Arnautovic”

Predicted Finish

“11th”

What Actually Happened: – 10th

West Ham started off the season dreadfully and eventually moved their way up the table which was the opposite of our prediction but a top half finish under the circumstances was impressive. Marko Arnautovic had a relatively good season, but it was Declan Rice and Lukasz Fabianski who stood out the most this season for the Hammers.

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Watford

What We Said Preseason:

“A full pre-season for Javi Gracia but impossible to tell what you’re going to get out of Watford. Could certainly end up struggling.”

Key Man

“Troy Deeney”

Predicted Finish

“16th”

What Actually Happened: – 11th

Wide of the mark with this one. Watford had a brilliant start to the season, pushing for the European spots and will probably be disappointed to have finished where they did. Gerard Delofeu’s magic certainly made him their key man this season.

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Crystal Palace

What We Said Preseason:

“Started slow but ended on a high last season, crucially kept Zaha and new signing Meyer could come good but a top half finish is likely beyond them.”

Key Player

“Wilfried Zaha”

Predicted Finish

“13th”

What Actually Happened: – 12th

A top half finish was beyond Palace but they never truly looked in any real relegation trouble this season. Zaha had a strong campaign but the emergence of young right-back Aaron Wan Bissaka was another real plus.

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Newcastle

What We Said Preseason:

“Blessed they have Rafa but allergic to spending money. Brought in a few new faces though none of huge quality. Desperate for a good striker.”

Key Man

“Matt Ritchie”

Predicted Finish

“18th”

What Actually Happened: – 13th

We truly didn’t give Benitez enough credit here. He somehow managed to steer them safely away from relegation and comfortably into 13th. It also turns out Saloman Rondon is, in fact, a good striker.

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Bournemouth

What We Said Preseason:

“Broke their transfer record to bring in Columbian Lerma but will struggle to score goals. They’ll survive but only just.”

Key Man

“Callum Wilson”

Predicted Finish 

“17th”

What Actually Happened: – 14th

The most goals out of any team outside of the top seven means that we got this one very wrong. Defensively they struggled but Howe’s side were never in any real relegation danger. The likes of Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson and Josh King were all exceptional going forward.

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Burnley

What We Said Preseason:

“Could struggle with European football to contend with. Held onto their key players and crucially Sean Dyche too.”

Key Player:

“James Tarkowski”

Predicted Finish

“10th”

What Actually Happened: – 15th

Burnley did struggle with European football to contend with. A lot more than we expected. They were relegation-threatened for much of the campaign but found a good run of form when it mattered to finish six clear of danger. Could argue that youngster Dwight McNeill, whose inclusion coincided with their upturn in form, was their key man.

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Southampton 

What We Said Preseason:

“Should avoid the drop safely but nothing more. Severely lacking creativity and goals. Need a big season from Charlie Austin.”

Key Man

“Charlie Austin”

Predicted Finish

“15th”

What Actually Happened: – 16th

They didn’t exactly avoid the drop safely but bringing in Ralph Hasenhuttel was a masterstroke from the club as he kept them in the league. Goalscoring and chance creation was somewhat of an issue, but the Austrian has brought renewed optimism to St Mary’s

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Brighton

What We Said Preseason:

“A strong candidate for second season syndrome, but fans will trust their transfer policy after a successful first campaign in the league.”

Key Player

“Pascal Gross”

Predicted Finish:

“14th”

What Actually Happened: – 17th

They did suffer a bit of second season syndrome but Hughton excellently negotiated a tricky run-in to secure their Premier League safety once again. Pascal Gross had a poor season and a few of their summer signings, Jahanbaksh in particular, simply didn’t work, but Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk were both strong at the back when required.

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Cardiff

What We Said Preseason:

“Will likely be solid and hard to beat under Warnock, but badly lacking in Premier League quality which will see them relegated.”

Key Player: 

“Sol Bamba”

Predicted Finish:

“19th”

What Actually Happened: – 18th

Cardiff were, as predicted, solid and hard to beat under Warnock, but in fairness to them they proved a much better Premier League outfit than many expected despite relegation. They also had the tragedy of losing striker Emiliano Sala before he’d even gotten the chance to wear the blue in Wales. Sol Bamba, as predicted, was a key figure for them.

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Fulham 

What We Said Preseason:

“Played eye-catching football last year and have had one of the best windows of any team in the league. A side to watch.”

Key Player:

“Tom Cairney”

Predicted Finish

“12th”

What Actually Happened: – 19th

Our worst shout by quite some distance. Despite spending big, most of Fulham’s signings flopped and the team simply never gelled under Jokanovic or Ranieiri before Scott Parker’s appointment saw an upturn in form despite it being too little too late. They were a mess defensively and midseason acquisition Ryan Babel was probably their key man.

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Huddersfield

What We Said Preseason:

“Stayed up against all odds last season, but teams should have them well figured out by now. A championship return beckons.”

Key Player

“Jonas Lossl”

Predicted Finish

“20th”

What Actually Happened: – 20th

Struggled from the very start and spent 169 days rooted to the foot of the table. They never looked like climbing out of the relegation zone and when David Wagner left to be replaced by Jan Siewert, a Championship return was inevitable.

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On the left is our predicted table and in the right is the actual table:

About Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here oisin@punditarena.com