The Olympics are playing out in Tokyo right now, but it’s time for a little contest right here at NMA as well, as we revisit the staff’s predictions for the 2020-21 season. Much has happened in the last year. I am almost sure none of the NMA staff predicted that Chelsea would sack of Frank Lampard, or how Liverpool would be a shadow of their old selves for much of the season (only editor Jeff left them out of his top-four picks, and he was right until nearly the end of the season).
We’ll publish our predictions for the upcoming season soon, but for now let’s have a look at how well our staff anticipated the 2020-21 season. Next month marks my one year anniversary in NMA’s family of writers, so there is no better gift than for me to have a few giggles and there is no better gift than having a few giggles as we look back at my fellow author’s predictions.
Top Four Clubs
We’ll begin with our guesses at the EPL’s top four finishers:
EPL Season 2020-21 Top 4 finish predictions
Almost everyone chose Man City as the winners of 2020-21 EPL season. Only our esteemed editor Jeff was over-optimistic for Man United (missed high by one slot — but then everyone else missed Man U by at least one slot low).
None of our writers had more than two correct teams in the correct positions; those who picked two were Stall, Ali and PPQ. It is hard to pick a winner among the three since their predictions for the other 2 spots were correct but not in the right order.
A couple of us overestimated Arsenal, but in general this table is the highlight of NMA’s prediction history. On we go to untie another ribbon.
Next up: the picks for the clubs who would be relegated.
EPL 2020-21 Relegation predictions
The winners are Ali and Paul. They both correctly predicted two of the clubs who fell (Fulham and West Brom). Both writers predicted one club in the correct position. The eyebrow raising moment for me was that six of the writers predicted the fall of Aston Villa who finished in 11th (wishful thinking maybe?). None of the writers expected Sheffield United to crash from their prior-year upper-half finish to dead-last, or to even be relegated at all!
Golden Boot 2020-21
Harry Kane scored his 23rd and last goal of the season in GW-38 against Leicester to distinguish himself from 22-goal scorer Mo Salah as the Golden Boot winner. This means a point and our golden snitch are awarded to Prakhar only. Ali’s 2 top predictions are still in the lead.
The most selected player in the predictions, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, finished 20th in the rankings with only 10 goals, in line with the Gunners’ disappointing showing last season.
Since Kevin De Bruyne is undoubtedly one of the best out there in creating chances, seven out eight writers predicted him to record the most assists (and I would have picked him as well). But the winner here was actually Harry Kane.
Most assists EPL 2020-21
Both KDB and Bruno Fernandez came in second place with 12 assists after Kane’s 14. In my opinion, the winner of Europe’s best player of the year award was a coin toss between Jorginho and Kane, but since Chelsea won the Champions League and Italy won Euro 2020, it is likely that Kane is out of the running.
No points can be awarded for this category in the prediction Olympics, since not a single staffer chose correctly.
It looks like many points will be distributed in the next one as City’s Ederson was the most popular pick:
Golden Gloves 2020-21
Five NMA writers correctly picked Ederson who won the Golden Gloves award for the second year in a row. MCI’s rejuvenated defensive line is one of the best in recent years. I believe Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy could have snatched the award if Thomas Tuchel had been appointed earlier; only three clean sheets separated him from Ederson’s 19.
Hugo Lloris finished in fourth with 12 clean sheets, and Alisson finished ninth with 10. Dean Henderson didn’t even take over as Man United’s #1 until the last third of the season, but thank you for the giggles Jeff!
Five points are awarded to boost Ali’s lead with three so far.
PFA Player of the Year 2020-21
Not to be confused with “Premier League Player of the Season” awarded to Ruben Dias by EA Sports, the PFA PotY, voted by players, went to KDB. Points go to Ali, David, Chris and PPQ, so Ali & PPQ continue to lead the peloton.
Most FPL Points
Most points scored in FPL
|Most Points: FPL||Werner||KDB||KDB||Salah||KDB||PEA||KDB||Bruno||Bruno|
Our editor scores his first correct prediction, a solo-get in this category, which is doubly surprising since he’s exclusively a Fantrax manager who has never even played FPL!
Bruno Fernandes returned 244 points in FPL. Salah returned the third highest total of points (231) while KDB returned just 141 and PEA was actually hard to find in the rankings!
Our staff overlooked Kane again here though he returned 242 points, just 2 points behind Bruno.
Most Fantrax points
Here are NMA staff predictions for most points returns in Fantrax:
Fantrax EPL points return 2020-21
|Most Points: Fantrax||n/a||KDB||KDB||Kane||Werner||KDB||Bruno||Bruno|
MU's Bruno took the lead in points returns in Fantrax with 513 points. Both Jeff and Stall had the right prediction making this a juicy comeback potential to win the prediction Olympics.
Prakhar came close by predicting Kane who returned 509.5 points. The other predictions were not even in the top 5.
Most Surprising Player
Next was the player who was the biggest surprise:
Most Surprising Player 2020-21
|Most Surprising Player||Antonio||Soucek||Pereira||Allan||Adams||Barnes||DCL||?|
At the time of writing, the transfer window was still open, and editor Jeff predicted that someone yet to be brought in would arrive to surprise us (he had his eyes on Gareth Bale who did arrive late but went under-utilized at Tottenham).
The staff were clearly divided and therefore here is the analysis:
- Bale appeared 20 times, mostly as a sub, scoring 11 goals.
- West Ham’s Antonio had 24 starts scoring 10 goals
- Tomas Soucek established himself as an important player in West Ham and scored 10 goals from 38 starts.
- Metheus Pereira of WBA scored 11 goals from 30 starts, but that was not enough to keep the side in the Premier League.
- Allan started 23 times for Everton’s midfield. He did not score any goals.
- Ashley Barnes’ season was one of his worst, scoring only 3 goals from 22 appearances out of which only 15 were starts.
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin built up from his previous season performance to do even better in 20-21 for Everton. He scored 16 goals from 32 starts.
Had anyone picked Ilkay Gundogan, he would have been the runaway victor here, but the thing about surprise players is that, well, nobody expects them. Props to editor Jeff for looking ahead to a player who wasn’t even in the league at the time of writing.
Due to my lack of experience in EPL, picking the winner between DCL and Soucek is difficult, so I decided that both did well better than the rest. As a result both Stall and Paul are awarded with points. This brings Stall to a tie with Ali at the top with four each.
We close with our guesses at the player who would fall furthest short of expectations:
Most disappointing player 2020-21
|Most Disappointing Player||Rodrigo||Rodrigo||Rodrigo||Rodrigo||Mount||Pogba||ASM||Pogba|
Most popular pick Rodrigo was in my opinion one of the reasons that Man City’s defense looked so comfortable whenever the man played for Pep. Paul Pogba’s start to the season was rocky, but he delivered when needed. Bruno’s strong performance this year probably covered some for the French star. Mason Mount was actually one of the positive surprises last season. That leaves us with Allan Saint-Maximin as the most disappointing of the five selected.
The comeback is complete for Stall, his five points collecting a well deserved gold medal in the Olympic 1-year fantasy EPL prediction event. Ali holds on for silver, and PPQ takes home the bronze.
Stay tuned for another predictions article for the upcoming season, which will include major fails on my part as well as more darkhorse punts by editor Jeff!
JOIN THE NMA MINI-LEAGUES
Participating in NMA mini leagues has been so enjoyable for me this season despite the poor performance of my team and poor utilization of the fantasy league chips. You should join us for the 2021-22 season.
What do you think of our staff’s powers of prophecy? What predictions did you make a year ago? How did that go? Please let us know in the comments!