Back in (checks notes) September, the Vendetta soccer crew cast their collective eye over the upcoming English Premier League season and made various educated/ridiculous predictions…..which of course could never come back to bite us.
As we move past Christmas and into the new year, let’s take a look back at how smart and/or dumb our writers, Jarrod Prosser, the dearly departed Serenity Liessmann* and Gavin Daly indeed are.
Lets start at the top: who wins the league?
Jarrod Prosser: Liverpool
Serenity Liessmann: Manchester City
Gavin Daly: Liverpool
Jarrod and Gavin went with the obvious answer of the reigning champs and so far that looks a solid choice, though Manchester United are looking ominous. If they can iron out their drastic fluctuations in form then we could have a title race on our hands. Everton and Leicester – currently 2nd and 3rd – are not realistic challengers. City are currently languishing in 6th, though they do have a game in hand on the title holders.
Who claims the other Champions League spots? In order of league finish, please.
JP: Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.
SL: Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United.
GD: Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.
With City sitting in the Europa League spots, none of our scribes were able to nail all four teams. The lads from the Etihad weren’t our only errors. Gavin and Chelsea superfan Serenity both plumped for the Londoners who can’t seem to decide if they’re good or not. Frank Lampard’s men currently sit in a rather concerning 8th place.
Jarrod didn’t make the same Chelsea mistake – he went with….is this correct? He went with Arsenal? Oh boy. New Arsenal boss and star of the Lego Movie Mikel Arteta is currently holding on to his job by a thread. Sitting in 15th, the Gunners are just about in a relegation battle. Whether they realise that is another question entirely.
Who’s going down? Relegation picks, thanks.
JP: West Brom, Fulham and West Ham.
SL: West Brom, Fulham and Leeds.
GD: West Brom, Sheffield United and Aston Villa.
Kudos to Gavin, who picked last season’s darlings in Sheffield United to struggle: the Blades have picked up a measly two points from 15 games. They’re currently on target to record the lowest points total in the Premier League era.
All of our writers picked the other members of the current bottom three in Fulham and West Brom, though the strong form of Villa (7th), West Ham (10th), and Leeds (12th) (again, Kudos to Gavin who picked Leeds as a surprise packet) took our writers by surprise.
Which club will flatter to deceive?
JP: Tottenham Hotspur.
LS: Tottenham Hotspur.
GD: Tottenham Hotspur and Everton.
Egg on collective faces here, then!
Not one of our esteemed analysts would have predicted Spurs to sit comfortably in 5th place, let alone briefly lead the Premiership. They’ve started to revert to form, trying to eke out 1-0 results, though they’ll always have that 6-1 evisceration at Old Trafford.
As for Gavin’s pick of Everton? Second in the table, baby!
Which club will be a pleasant surprise?
JP: Newcastle United.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room, shall we? Serenity’s Arsenal pick is the rumored reason as to why she’s no longer with Vendetta. We don’t expect perfection, but we didn’t expect that, either! The only way Arsenal’s season can be termed a ‘pleasant’ surprise is if you were an Tottenham or Chelsea fa……oh, wait. Serenity Liessmann. Chelsea. Now it all makes sense! She wanted this to happen! The woman is a prophet!
Newcastle have had their moments, especially early in the season. They’ve drifted back into their regular lower-midtable status, never to be heard from again.
Once again, Gavin takes the cookies in this section. Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side have built upon their excellent form from late last season to sit in 9th. In a compressed top half of the table, they’re just a point behind Spurs in 5th.
Golden Boot winner, please. And how many league goals do they score?
JP: Jamie Vardy (Liecester City) with 20 goals.
SL: Timo Werner (Chelsea) with 29 goals.
GD: Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang (Arsenal) with 23 goals.
Jarrod clearly got closest to the pin. The evergreen Vardy’s vodka and Skittles diet sees him tied for 2nd in the EPL for goals with 11, just two behind Liverpool’s Mo Salah. His alternate prediction (Bruno Fernandes with 37 strikes – 36 from the penalty spot) doesn’t look too shabby, either. The Manchester United talisman has 10 goals so far, though only four from the spot. Vardy has six, by way of comparison.
Serenity’s Chelsea scarf was clearly obstructing her view of the keyboard when she typed in W-e-r-n-e-r. The high priced recruit has mere four goals, placing him in equal 19th on the season. That’s one better than Aubamayang, who’s three goals thus far as as emblematic of Arsenal’s issues as anything else that comes to mind.
Which signing will have the most impact on their team?
JP: Timo Werner (Chelsea)
SL: Timo Werner (Chelsea)
GD: Donny van de Beek (Manchester United)
Aaaand Jarrod comes crashing down to Earth. He and Chelsea both went with Werner for this question. He has ran around a lot, but hasn’t had any tangible impact for Chelsea, so far.
Gavin went slightly left field. There’s little doubt that van de Beek is a fine footballer but the question upon his signing was where did he fit in the United midfield? The answer, if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is to be believed, is that he doesn’t. The $47 million signing has appeared in ten of United’s 15 games so far, though only two of those have been starts.
And who will flop?
JP: Gabriel Magalhaes, with a quiet fretting about James Rodriguez.
GD: Matt Doherty/Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Boo! You can’t NOT answer, Serenity! (Another reason she’s not with us anymore. Probably)
Jarrod was on the money about Magalhaes, though to be fair you could name any Arsenal signing and you would have a case, such is their predicament. Fortunately for the Everton tragic, he need not of have worried about James. The Colombian lit up the Premier League from the off, though he’s currently sidelined with a calf injury.
Gavin went with the following theory: ‘Jose works his magic to make decent players crap‘. That’s a tad unfair on Doherty, who looked solid before injury and COVID struck. He wasn’t exactly lighting the league on fire, though. Hojbjerg, on the other hand, has been wonderful. Outside of a rough debut against Everton the former Southampton man has hardly put a foot wrong. His tough tackling and neat distribution have been the bedrock that Jose Mourinho’s counter attacking game has been built upon.
Who takes out the PFA Player of the Year?
JP: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
SL: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
GD: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
A clean sweep, predictions wise. The brilliant Belgian currently sits in 4th place with most betting agencies, getting odds of around 7/1. Given City’s patchy form, that’s probably right. Should City make a run in the back half of the season, there’s a fair chance that De Bruyne will be the catalyst. If he leads his team to, let’s say, 2nd place, then he’s right in the mix.
As it stands, the favourites are Tottenham skipper Harry Kane, Mo Salah and Bruno Fernandes.
First manager to be removed by ‘mutual consent’?
JP: David Moyes (West Ham)
SL: Dean Smith (Aston Villa)
GD: David Moyes (West Ham)
The Moysiah has confounded our experts, not only surviving but thriving as his West Ham team finally forge an identity. Serenity’s Dean Smith shout looks equally as wide of the mark, given Villa are sitting right outside the European places.
Slaven Bilic at West Brom, by the way.
Finally, what will be the biggest controversy this season?
All of our writers said VAR. Blind Freddy and his deaf dog could see it was going to be VAR. Unlike the debates over whether the positioning of a players armpit hair constitutes an offside position, this one wasn’t really a debate. VAR sucks.
*For the record, when we say ‘dearly departed’, Serenity’s not dead. She just no longer works with Vendetta Sports Media.