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Revisiting Preseason 2018-19 EPL Predictions: How Did We (and You) Do?

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It is time to dust off our preseason on-pitch and fantasy predictions. What did we get right about the Premier League in 2018-19, and where did we go wrong?

Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk - Liverpool FC - Premier League
The past two EPL Player of the Season winners have both been extremely deserving, but unpredictably so, at least from the get-go.
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

It’s always fun making preseason picks, and now it’s time for the rewarding illuminating (and sometimes humbling) experience of making a post-mortem examination. Plenty went to form, but naturally there were loads of surprises for the 2018-19 EPL season both on the pitch and in fantasy. Looking back at our August bravado, what predictions have us patting our backs, and which ones leave us scratching our heads?

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STAFF PRE-SEASON PREDICTIONS VS. ACTUALITY

Let’s take a look at the chart:

2018-19 NMA Staff Predictions vs. Actual Results

Category Chris Darryl David Jeff Matzy Stall ACTUAL
Category Chris Darryl David Jeff Matzy Stall ACTUAL
Champion MCI MCI MCI LIV MCI MCI MCI
Second Place LIV LIV LIV MCI LIV LIV LIV
Third Place ARS MUN MUN MUN MUN MUN CHE
Fourth Place TOT ARS TOT TOT CHE TOT TOT
Golden Boot H. Kane H. Kane H. Kane H. Kane H. Kane H. Kane Mane/Salah/PEA
Assist Leader L. Sane K. De Bruyne K. De Bruyne C. Eriksen M. Ozil K. De Bruyne E. Hazard
Most Clean Sheets Alisson D. De Gea D. De Gea Alisson Alisson Ederson Alisson
PFA Player of Season M. Salah K. De Bruyne K. De Bruyne J. Milner K. De Bruyne M. Salah V. Van Dijk
Most Points (Official) M. Salah M. Salah K. De Bruyne M. Salah M. Salah M. Salah M. Salah
Most Points (Fantrax) M. Salah M. Salah K. De Bruyne E. Hazard M. Salah H. Kane E. Hazard
Surprise Player D. Jota R. Pereira R. Neves R. Sessegnon J. Maddison C. Benteke ???
Disappointing Player P. Pogba D. Alli A. Morata R. Lukaku R. Sterling M. Alonso ???
18th Place HUD WAT WAT CAR FUL CAR CAR
19th Place WAT HUD HUD HUD SOU WAT FUL
20th Place CAR CAR CAR SOU CAR SOU HUD

WHAT WE GOT RIGHT

  • Everybody but Jeff got the title winner right, but Liverpool only lost by a point, so we’ll give him full credit for going out on a limb.
  • None of us got all of the top four finishers right, but all but one of us got three out of the top four finishers; Chris, David, and Stall came closest in pegging first, second and fourth (Tottenham) slots exactly.
  • Three of us had Alisson winning the Golden Gloves, and Stall wasn’t far off with Ederson.
  • Five of us correctly picked Mo Salah to repeat with the most points in Official FPL.
  • Props to Jeff, who was the only one to get both Salah having the most points in Official FPL and Eden Hazard doing so in Fantrax.
  • David picked Alvaro Morata as Most Disappointing Player, and it would be difficult to argue with that, given his high cost combined with the fact that he was so bad he barely started in the first half and was shipped out as a January transfer.
  • None of us got all three relegated teams right, but all but one of us got two out of three, and that’s pretty good isn’t it? Jeff and Matzy came closest, picking Southampton which finished 16th.

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WHAT WE GOT WRONG

  • All but one of us picked Manchester United to finish in the top four, while the other had Arsenal. The Red Devils, of course, finished sixth, while the Gunners were a close-but-no-cigar fifth (but could claw their way into next season’s CL by winning the Europa League’s all-English final against Chelsea).
  • Everybody picked Harry Kane to win the Golden Boot, but unfortunately a bum ankle kept that possibility from happening.
  • Likewise, three of us had Kevin De Bruyne finishing with the most assists, but he suffered a spate of injuries; other picks of Leroy Sane, Christian Eriksen, and Mesut Ozil also fell short.
  • Two of us picked David De Gea to repeat with the Golden Glove, but instead the Manchester United defense suffered a meltdown. Oops!
  • Nobody had Virgil van Dijk winning the Player of the Year as the first defender to do so since Vincent Kompany in 2011-12. Jeff’s pick of James Milner was the right concept, wrong player; the rest of us expected the offensive streak to continue.
  • While five of us were wrong about the Fantrax leading scorer, three had Salah who was just a single point off.
  • Most of us were high on Kevin De Bruyne, whose injury-riddled season was particularly painful for poor David, who had the Belgian play-maker penciled in for most assists, most points in FPL, most points in Fantrax, and Player of the Season.
  • The surprise player wasn’t as clear-cut this season as Salah’s breakout campaign was last year. But the six most likely candidates are probably Trent Alexander-Arnold, Lucas Digne, Ryan Fraser, Raul Jimenez, Sadio Mane, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. None of us had any of them, so we probably whiffed in that category.
  • Following the departure of Richarlison, four of us picked Watford to get relegated, and all the Hornets did was finish a very respectable 11th. D’oh!

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COMMUNITY PRE-SEASON PREDICTIONS VS. ACTUALITY

Three of our wonderful community members were bold enough to put their predictions out for posterity. And hey, as it turns out, they did very well, so kudos are in order!

Community Members’ 2018-19 Predictions Vs. Actual Results

Category CreweGuy K.M. Tajtooj ACTUAL
Category CreweGuy K.M. Tajtooj ACTUAL
Champion MCI MCI MCI MCI
Second Place CHE LIV LIV LIV
Third Place ARS CHE CHE CHE
Fourth Place LIV ARS TOT TOT
Golden Boot S. Aguero S. Aguero S. Aguero Mane/Salah/PEA
Assist Leader K. De Bruyne H. Mkhitaryan M. Ozil E. Hazard
Most Clean Sheets Ederson Alisson Ederson Alisson
PFA Player of Season S. Aguero S. Aguero K. De Bruyne V. Van Dijk
Most Points (Official) K. De Bruyne S. Aguero E. Hazard M. Salah
Most Points (Fantrax) K. De Bruyne S. Aguero E. Hazard E. Hazard
Surprise Player Richarlison R. Patricio J. Moutinho ???
Disappointing Player H. Kane G. Jesus A. Morata ???
18th Place CAR SOU HUD CAR
19th Place BRI HUD WAT FUL
20th Place HUD CAR CAR HUD

CreweGuy, K.M., and Tajtooj had their share of hits and misses, but let’s focus on the very impressive positives:

  • All three had Manchester City taking the title, and each among the trio had at least three out of the top four teams right.
  • K.M. had each of the top three slots correct, while Tajtooj picked each of the top four right in exact order; not only that, Tajtooj provided bonus picks all the way through the top six, which means that he had EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE TOP SIX PEGGED IN PERFECT ORDER! Remarkable!
  • All three picked Sergio Aguero winning the Golden Boot, and while it didn’t quite turn out that way, they were only off by a whisker (or a finger tip, or a goal post).
  • K.M. correctly pegged Alisson for the Golden Glove, and the other two were oh so close with Ederson.
  • Tajtooj brilliantly had Hazard taking the most points in Fantrax.
  • Tajtooj also pegged Morata for the big disappointment.
  • Like the staff, each had two of the three relegation picks right. CreweGuy was closest with Brighton which finished only one spot above the drop zone in 17th.

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Looking back on the season, what went exactly as you expected, and which players’ and teams’ performances instead caught you by surprise? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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