Predictions for 08/09 season
After Manchester United won the title and European Cup in 2008, The Guardian writers got together and predicted that we would finish 2nd in the following season. This is what they said:
– United would struggle because of Carlos Queiroz’s exit, particularly given the English language problems for Nani, Anderson and Tevez. (Tevez’s inability to speak English certainly didn’t hinder him at City, whilst Nani went from strength to strenth last season)
– United would struggle because there was no orthodox central striker. (ignoring that this had been the case since Ruud’s departure in 2006)
– Ronaldo wouldn’t be able to repeat his effectiveness so the pressure was on Rooney to step up his game. (Cristiano Ronaldo has scored an average of 31 goals per season over the past 4 years and has scored an average of 30 goals a season since Ronaldo’s lasting effectiveness was questioned.)
They predicted that Chelsea would win the league. This is what they said:
– If Chelsea could push United to the last day of the season and reach the European Cup final with Avram Grant in charge, imagine what they could do with World Cup winner Scolari. (This was of course ignoring the fact that no South American World Cup winning manager had made a success of their career after coming to Europe. Scolari went on to be yet another one to fail.)
– Chelsea would succeed because of their “formidable” defence. (This was of course ignoring the fact they had just conceded more goals than United. They did go on to have a good year in terms of goals conceded, letting in just 24 like United, however they lost 3 more games than United, suggesting their defence wasn’t as “formidable” as predicted.)
– Chelsea have “the most talented squad in the league”. (No they didn’t, they finished 3rd)
What actually happened? Manchester United were crowed champions on 90 points. Chelsea finished 3rd on 83 points. When the teams met, they drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge and United won 3-0 at Old Trafford.
Predictions for 09/10 season
After Manchester United won their third title in a row and second consecutive European Cup final, The Guardian writers predicted United would finish 3rd the following season. This is what they said:
– Ronaldo’s exit meant United couldn’t be favourites for the title. (Rooney went on to score 12 more league goals than Ron in his last season and United scored 18 more goals than the season before. Just like the season following Ruud’s exit, United were better in front of goal, implying it was not the attack which let us down in 09/10.)
– United were missing another good central midfielder. (Agreed. If Hargreaves and Anderson had been available all season, then this point is redundant, but they weren’t, so it’s not.)
They predicted Chelsea would finish 2nd. This is what they said:
– “A year on and nothing has really changed at Stamford Bridge.”
– The pressure was off with City now the Premiership’s big spenders.
– Terry’s eventual decision to turn down City would provide them with “a certain solidity”.
They predicted Liverpool would finish 1st. This is what they said:
– This is their year.
– Selling Alonso doesn’t have to be seen as a disaster if Aquilani gets over his injury problems and settles immediately.
– United will feel the loss of Real Madrid buying Ronaldo than Liverpool will for losing Alonso.
What actually happened? Chelsea won the league on 86 points. United finished 2nd on 85. Liverpool finshed 7th on 63. United lost both games against Chelsea and both were determined by dreadful officiating errors (as every paper in the country reported). United also suffered from ridiculous defensive injuries (check out the stats comparing Chelsea’s injuries with ours) and should therefore feel proud to only be 1 point off the top.
– Read RoM’s more in depth analysis of these predictions
– Read The Guardian‘s more in depth predictions for Chelsea 09/10
– Read The Guardian‘s more in depth predictions for Liverpool 09/10
– Read The Guardian‘s more in depth predictions for United 09/10
Predictions for 10/11
The Guardian‘s latest predictions for the coming season have now been published. Watch this space to see our response to them. To give you a taster: Chelsea 1st, City 2nd, United 3rd, Arsenal 4th, Spurs 5th, Liverpool 6th.