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Revisiting 2017-18 Premier League Predictions: How Did We (and You) Do?

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Way back in early August, NMA staff and community made predictions for the 2017-18 Premier League season, fantasy and otherwise. What did we get brilliantly right, and what went horribly wrong?

Trophy - Manchester City - Premier League
In many people’s minds, this celebration was preordained before the season even started.
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Hindsight is 20/20, you say? Well let’s everybody get out those eyeglasses and peep at how our early August predictions for the 2017-18 Premier League season fared.

NMA Staff 2017/18 Preseason Predictions

Category Chris Darryl David Jeff Stall ACTUAL
Category Chris Darryl David Jeff Stall ACTUAL
Champion TOT MCI MCI MCI MCI MCI
Second Place MCI MUN CHE MUN MUN MUN
Third Place CHE CHE TOT CHE ARS TOT
Fourth Place MUN TOT MUN ARS TOT LIV
Golden Boot H. Kane H. Kane H. Kane H. Kane H. Kane M. Salah
Assist Leader C. Eriksen K. De Bruyne K. De Bruyne K. De Bruyne K. De Bruyne K. De Bruyne
Most Clean Sheets MUN MUN MUN MUN MUN MUN
PFA Player of Season H. Kane K. De Bruyne H. Kane K. De Bruyne H. Kane M. Salah
Most Points (Official) H. Kane K. De Bruyne H. Kane H. Kane K. De Bruyne M. Salah
Most Points (Fantrax) H. Kane H. Kane K. De Bruyne K. De Bruyne H. Kane M. Salah
Surprise Player S. Vokes A. Ayew P. Gross A. Knockaert J. Ward-Prowse M. Salah
Disappointing Player S. Aguero A. Morata A. Lacazette R. Lukaku A. Morata ???
18th Place WAT SWA SWA CRY WAT SWA
19th Place SWA BRI WAT SWA BRI STO
20th Place HUD HUD HUD HUD HUD WBA

WHAT WE GOT RIGHT

We had our bright spots:

  • Top four spots: Almost everybody — everybody but me, that is — had their Carnac the Magnificent hats on by pegging Manchester City to take the league title. (I went with the heart-over-brain pick of Tottenham, but I picked the Citizens to go second, so at least I wasn’t too far off.) Darryl, Jeff and Stall both got the first two (Manchester City and Manchester United) nailed on, while David correctly had Tottenham in third.
  • The same story applied to the assist leader, as everybody but me picked Kevin De Bruyne. I went with Christian Eriksen (yes, again I was a homer, and again I paid for it), who finished tied for fifth.
  • With respect to the clean sheet leader, this time I didn’t keep us from all getting it right! Everybody correctly tabbed Manchester United.
  • All of our Disappointing Player predictions were spot on, as the expensive likes of Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Morata, Alexandre Lacazette and Romelu Lukaku all fell well short of expectations (and valuations).
  • Relegation spots: Everybody but Stall had Swansea getting relegated, so the Swans were our lone correct pick in that category.

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WHAT WE GOT WRONG

We had our blind spots, too:

  • Obviously, none of us saw Mo Salah coming. Thankfully, none of us picked him as the disappointing player, so I don’t think anybody thought he would be a bust by any means, but we certainly didn’t see his unbelievable, amazing, astonishing, record-breaking season coming. (And no, I don’t think those superlatives are enough.)
  • All of us except for Stall expected defending champion Chelsea to finish in the top four, and David had them as high as second. Stall and Jeff both had Arsenal in the top four, with Stall pegging them third. None of us had Liverpool making the Champions League, so we were all off on our fourth place pick.
  • All of us thought Harry Kane would be the Golden Boot winner. He finished a not-too-distant second, so that wasn’t too bad, eh?
  • We all went with a mix of Kane and KDB for our Official FPL and Fantrax points leader picks, and of course we missed out on Mo Salah. But with Kane and KDB finishing second and third, respectively, in Fantrax, along with third and fourth in Official (Raheem Sterling was second), they didn’t make us look foolish by any means.
  • The Surprise Player category was a tough one, and I’d say that Salah was the clear winner. David’s pick of Pascal Gross was the best of the bunch, as he ended up faring better than Sam Vokes, Andre Ayew, Anthony Knockaert, and James Ward-Prowse.
  • As for the relegation category, we all thought Huddersfield would finish in last place, so that was a swing and a miss! Three of us had Watford, two had Brighton, and Jeff’s pick of Crystal Palace looked brilliant... until the Eagles’ late surge. While Stall had the top two picks right, he was the only one to strike out with the bottom trio.

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Several community members were bold enough to join us with predictions in the comments section, and they deserve heaps of praise for that! Hat tip to K.M. for suggesting the preseason predictions post, and many thanks to those of you who joined in and put your own picks down for posterity.

Community 2017/18 Preseason Premier League Predictions

Category GoalFather K.M. CreweGuy OB Blue BKalita ACTUAL
Category GoalFather K.M. CreweGuy OB Blue BKalita ACTUAL
Champion MCI MCI MCI MUN MCI MCI
Second Place CHE CHE MUN MCI CHE MUN
Third Place ARS TOT ARS CHE TOT TOT
Fourth Place MUN LIV CHE ARS LIV LIV
Golden Boot H. Kane S. Aguero G. Jesus R. Lukaku H. Kane M. Salah
Assist Leader K. De Bruyne K. De Bruyne K. De Bruyne M. Ozil K. De Bruyne K. De Bruyne
Most Clean Sheets MUN CHE MUN MUN TOT MUN
PFA Player of Season G. Jesus K. De Bruyne K. De Bruyne P. Pogba G. Jesus M. Salah
Most Points (Official) H. Kane H. Kane G. Jesus R. Lukaku H. Kane M. Salah
Most Points (Fantrax) G. Jesus K. De Bruyne K. De Bruyne R. Brady A. Sanchez M. Salah
Surprise Player T. Abraham S. Mounie M. Ritchie D. Solanke S. Ramirez M. Salah
Disappointing Player A. Morata P. Pogba D. Alli K. Walker Morata/Lacazette ???
18th Place BUR BUR BUR BUR BUR SWA
19th Place BRI WAT BRI NEW BRI STO
20th Place HUD HUD HUD HUD HUD WBA

WHAT OUR BRAVE COMMUNITY MEMBERS GOT RIGHT

Our community members had a wider range of thought than the staff, which made things interesting. Hey, you guys were pretty smart, too!

  • Top four: It was the same story with respect to the inevitable champions, as almost everybody had Manchester City winning, and OB Blue was extremely close, switching the order of the two Manchester sides.
  • Four members — Goalfather, K.M., CreweGuy and BKalita — correctly foresaw KDB taking the bragging rights for most assists.
  • Three had the Red Devils correctly pegged for the most clean sheets, while alternative picks of Chelsea and Tottenham were not far off.
  • Most of the calls for disappointing player were spot on, as Morata, Pogba, Alli and Lacazette fell short of expectations.

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WHAT OUR BRAVE COMMUNITY MEMBERS GOT WRONG

Of course, nobody’s perfect:

  • Everybody also had Chelsea finishing in the top four, with several pegging them to finish second, but here CreweGuy deserves plaudits for picking them to go fourth, which was of course only one spot off. Several also thought Arsenal would be in the Champions League picture as well, instead of finishing out of frame.
  • The Golden Boot predictions were varied, and while a couple of community members went with Kane who was close, others picked Sergio Aguero, Romelu Lukaku and Gabriel Jesus, who were farther off in the race.
  • In the assist category, OB Blue deserves props for going bold with Mesut Ozil, but unfortunately the Gunners’ maestro had a down season.
  • While KDB got some love for Player of the Season, two picked Gabriel Jesus and one went with Paul Pogba, who did not end up on that radar.
  • Kane and KDB got some support for most fantasy points, while Jesus, Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and even Robbie Brady were mentioned as well. Unfortunately, injuries (as to Jesus and Brady) are part of the game, and sometimes can be just as impossible to predict as performance.
  • As with the staff, there were five different picks for surprise player, and along the same lines, nobody had Salah. CreweGuy’s choice of Matt Ritchie was probably the best here, as the Newcastle middie had a fine campaign.
  • Nobody had any of the relegation teams, while everybody’s 18th pick, Burnley, ended up finishing 7th!

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How did we do with our preseason predictions in the end? What went as you expected this season, and which results came out of nowhere? Let us know in the comments!