The Premier League kicks off tomorrow, and in preparation for the new season the TFN crew have taken to the BBC Premier League predictor to try guesstimate how the league table will look come May 2014…
With each entry completed by a different writer, with different methods and bias galore, we’re hoping the wisdom of the crowds will help us out to divine a more balanced final conclusion, even if our sample size is against us.
After reading through the tables and reasoning (or apologies) of each writer, scroll down to the end of the piece for a meta-table created using the average points collected by each club based on our individual predictions.
Our results may not be entirely accurate, or even intentional in some cases, but we at least hope they’re entertaining, and if you fancy having a go on the BBC predictor, feel free to send over your table to firstname.lastname@example.org to help inform our final results!
Without further ado, let the anomalies and prediction catastrophes commence…
James Dutton – @jrgdutton
Comments: I know that this is my league table but I can’t help disagreeing with it. Fulham will not finish 8th. Or in the top half of the table. Norwich will probably not get relegated. Man City and Chelsea will not both get 90+ points, and Arsenal will not fail to qualify for the Champions League. Especially not with a haul of 79 points. Liverpool will finish 6th, but they will not accrue a staggering 77 points in the process – their fourth highest Premier League points total. But what these monumental points tallies do tell us, along with a cavernous 21-point gap between the top 6 and the rest of the league, is the overall quality of the majority teams in English football. There was a distinct lack of fierce competition as the league table split into a top 7 and a bottom 13 last year, and there’s no sign of the mediocrity levelling out as we enter the coming season.
Greg Johnson – @GregIanJohnson
Comments: It’s easy to get lost within your results when filling out these predictor programmes. With 760 matches to score, keeping track of it all is a losing battle from the start.
Perhaps that goes some way to explaining Everton’s lofty position of 5th above Arsenal in my results. If I was allowed to tweak my table at all, I’d drop them down to 8th below the Gunners, Villa and Liverpool. As you can probably guess by my glowing preview of Paul Lambert’s team, I’m expecting big things from them this season, although my predictions for them here have gone rather overboard in their optimism. In reality they won’t tread much further than 10th surely?
Chelsea won my league by a landslide, mainly due to the focus I gave to head-to-head games. I gave Mourinho the benefit of the doubt in most major clashes, as well as predicting Chelsea would ruthlessly mow down the league’s smaller clubs. Pellegrini should do well at City and with the signings they’ve made my results suggest they will pip United, who are yet to sort out their midfield. Spurs make the top four thanks to their new arrivals in the middle of the park. I can’t see the promoted teams surviving this season, although Stoke, Sunderland Fulham will likely offer them some (false) hope.
Besides the anomalies of Everton and Villa’s exaggerated places, I think my table stands up to scrutiny pretty well, even if I do say so myself. Sorry Arsenal fans.
Rob Brown – @robbro7
Comments: When I started filling out the BBC’s Premier League predictor last week, I did so in order to investigate my own notion that this will be the most predictable league season in memory. My top six came out exactly as expected – although they all got far too many points – and I will not be surprised if the three promoted sides do return to the second tier in May 2014.
There were a few aberrations in my resulting table: West Brom finished seventh due to a subconsciously exaggerated home record; Swansea’s Europa League campaign and congested fixture list mattered not a jot and the Swans had their best ever season; after an encouraging summer of sensible buys, Norwich narrowly avoided relegation.
None of these things will happen. Realistically, West Brom will end up eleventh or twelfth unless they can magically find goals from somewhere, Swansea will have something of a shocker and Norwich will trundle along, comfortably nested in mid-table.
Otherwise, I expect most of the clubs’ positions to end up as they did in my forecast, with slight improvements perhaps for West Ham and Everton. This really will be the most predictable season ever.
John Guillem – @ArseGoon
Comments: The beeb’s rather dodgy predictor site (the page hasn’t been updated in eight years!) crashed on me as I was in the midst of a committed, mature, sensitive, sensible (blah) attempt at their prediction thingymadufer.
Possibly it was chrome/my laptop’s doing, but regardless, the point is made. I also had/have a migraine. This is to say I’m a bit puzzled about how my table turned out on the redo, though in another way it is perhaps a purer channeling of my impressions. Here are some ideas that contained within the resultant outcome:
I assumed that Arsenal would continue to be ruthless in attack and dogged in defense, without any major injury crises, because I could. As with many others, I’m figuring that Man U will become a more mediocre/less relentlessly efficient version of what they’ve been since Ronaldo left. Spurs won’t quite have enough to make top four, but would come close (again).
Villa and Southampton should have strong seasons. They’ve got promising (and now improved) squads with intelligent, hungry managers – though 6th and 7th is perhaps a step too far. I also see Sunderland, Fulham, Cardiff and Norwich’s transfer activity standing them in good stead (I’m particularly impressed by Norwich). West Brom and to a lesser extent Swansea will struggle to perform as well as last year. Everton should be okay. I don’t think Newcastle will suck that bad, unless Joe Kinnear takes over as manager, in which case 28 points sounds right.
The table is pretty tight, which is probably the most accurate aspect of it as a predictive text (hah!).
Thomas Murray – @Thom_Murray
Comments: A run of tough fixtures and mixed results made for a difficult start for David Moyes’ Manchester United. However, the club soon recovered to repeatedly trade the top spot with their noisy neighbours across town.
While smart moves in the transfer market had seen City’s “holistic” rebuilding season become much more competitive, the most telling addition to the league was Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge. Consistency in results was enough to slowly erode the Manchester dominance of the previous 2 years to award Chelsea and the Special One the glory in an especially tight year.
Swansea continued to improve under Michael Laudrup, adding somewhat more defensive stability to their already potent quick-passing attacks. Early hopes of a Champions League spot or more were once again dashed at White Hart Lane during a lacklustre close to the season. Arsenal once again secured 4th.
It’s fashionable to at least include 2 of the newly promoted clubs as nominations for the drop, so no arguments here. Stoke’s place was determined, despite a certain amount of admiration, by their continued lack of goals. Even rainy Wednesday nights at the Britannia weren’t enough to help the Potters stop conceding as they failed to find the net themselves.
The final TFN predictions for the 2013/14 English Premier League season…
1st – Chelsea – 94 pts.
2nd – Manchester City – 87
3rd – Manchester United – 83
4th – Arsenal – 78
5th – Tottenham Hotspur – 76
6th – Liverpool – 66
7th – Swansea – 52*
8th – Everton – 52*
9th – Aston Villa – 51
10th – West Brom – 47
11th – Fulham – 45
12th – Southampton – 44
13th – West Ham – 41
14th – Newcastle – 40
15th – Norwich – 39
16th – Sunderland – 38
17th – Stoke – 36*
18th – Cardiff – 36*
19th – Crystal Palace – 26
20th – Hull – 25
*Decided on goal difference.
Have you given the BBC Premier League predictor table a whirl? What were your results?