Back in August, in those carefree days before we knew America could elect Trump, I had a stab at how the premiership football season ahead would pan out. Given Leicester City had won the previous year after starting the season 5000/1 to do so, this seemed a brave thing for anyone to do. I was inspired in this by the terrible predictions I was reading from mainstream outlets, mostly from ex-footballers who should really have known better.
Almost all of them picked Manchester United to win the league when it was abundantly clear to me that this was not going to happen. The only former footballers who didn’t tell us that Man U would win it said Manchester City would instead, when I felt that was more likely but still not very. So I made my own prediction. I said the top four at the end of the season would be:
- Manchester City
I also said Manchester United would finish seventh and that Chelsea would finish mid-table. So now that we have reached the exact midway point of the season, how am I doing? The actual top four is:
Man City are fifth, Man U sixth, Everton seventh. Obviously, the thing I got very wrong was Chelsea. I vastly underestimated what Conte could achieve in his first season, for which I humbly apologise. I also overestimated Everton and should have put Tottenham fourth in retrospect. But I understood that Mourinho had lost it and that United would never win the league; also, that City didn’t quite have enough.
Anyhow, my predictions are not enough to boast about without context. I bring them up now to touch on the Gove post-expert world we seem to be living in. I barely know anything about football, having never played it anything other than pub league level – hell, I almost never even watch premiership football these days. Yet I understood that Manchester United weren’t all that great when this escaped the Nevilles and Waddles of the world.
Everything confounds the experts these days, it seems. Or to look at it another way, we’re all very short of reliable advice. That’s why we’re turning to the Donald Trumps of the world – at least they shout their bad advice really loudly.
Right, so with all that in mind, here are my predictions for the second half of the premiership season. I’m sticking with Liverpool to win the league. They will fight Chelsea the whole way, with Conte’s boys finishing second. Arsenal and Man City to round out the top four, with Spurs fifth. Manchester United will do well to hold onto the sixth place they currently have; I think they’ll finish lower down the table.