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Premier League 2022-23: End of season roundtable recap

Premier League Season

Premier League Season
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 21: Erling Haaland of Manchester City poses for a photograph with the Premier League Trophy following the Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea FC at Etihad Stadium on May 21, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Premier League: End of 2022-23 season roundtable recap

Another Premier League season is in the books, which means it’s time to see just how clever/ridiculous our footballing experts are here at Vendetta.

As is tradition in these parts, we assembled our football intelligencia, asking them to make a series of predictions prior to the beginning of the season. We checked in mid-season but let’s see how our experts fared now that all has been said and done.

Let’s start at the top. Who wins the league?

At the mid-way point of the campaign, these responses were looking just a little bit iffy, but all seven of our experts tipped Manchester City to retain their title, which they eventually did after seeing off a valiant Arsenal.

A good start then…

Who claims the other Champions Leagues spots? In order of league finish, please?

Let’s start with who got what right:

Whilst Trey Daubert, Alex Cervantes, Aarav Raina and Garrett Burroughs may not have seen an Arsenal title challenge emerging, they at least picked them to finish within the top four.

Jarrod Prosser was the lone voice talking up the ten Hag revolution in the red half of Manchester.

Literally none of our writers thought that Newcastle United would be be-heading (see what I did there?) to the Champions League so soon.

So what did we get wrong?

Trey, Garrett, Max Everett and Gavin Daly all thought — with some justification — that throwing a metric fuck-tonne of cash at an already excellent squad might help overcome the off-season turmoil that Chelsea experienced.

Alas, it didn’t. Combined with a Frank Lampard masterclass on pissing away a privilege, the Blues finished a disastrous 12th, just the lazy 27 points away from Champions League qualification.

The Antonio Conte Effect is a very real thing, people. It’s scientifically proven. That said, the speed with which the Conte Effect took hold of perennially underachieving Tottenham was breathtaking. It certainly took Aarav, Alex, Gavin and Jarrod by surprise.

Not a single member of our ‘brains’ trust foresaw Liverpool falling outside the Top 4. To be fair, nobody within Liverpool Football Club saw that coming, either.

Who’s going down? Relegation picks, thanks.

This turned out to be a rough section for our pundits given that, for just the fourth time since the turn of the century, all three promoted clubs survived to play a 2nd Premiership campaign.

Jarrod and Garrett both correctly tipped Southampton for the drop, Aarav and Trey were on the money with Leeds. Not one of our panel saw Leicester’s demise coming.

So who did we pick?

Everyone, bar Trey, went with Fulham, with Bouremouth and Nottingham Forest as the next most popular options. The real outlier here, though, was Max’s Brentford selection. He could point to a case of 2nd season syndrome, but Brentford is perhaps the best-run club in the league (non-Brighton division). Be better, Max!

Where will YOUR team finish?

Whilst Gavin, as a Luton fan, clearly didn’t care about this season’s Premier League, you can bet your bottom dollar he’s up and about for next season’s events!

It’s such a shame that the Irishman is among Vendetta’s dearly departed (to be clear, we’re fairly certain he’s not dead. Rather, he’s simply no longer a member of this parish). His contribution to next season’s roundtable would have been lit.

Of those that did have a nag in the race, Aarav and Trey picked the Gunners to finish 3rd and 4th, respectively. Whilst they’re surely disappointed with Arsenal coughing up the league title in ONE OF THE GREATEST BOTTLE JOBS IN RECORDED HUMAN HISTORY, they can console themselves with a surprise runners-up place.

Our Chelsea contingent would be somewhat less pleased. Garrett (3rd) and Alex (5th) must be aghast at what has happened to their stinking rich and generally just stinky football club.

Max’s Tottenham (he picked them to finish 4th) are in a precarious position. Their 8th-place finish means no European football and with it the likely loss of captain and talisman Harry Kane. Still managerless, the next 12 months will prove telling for Spurs.

Jarrod’s pre-season stated this regarding his beloved Everton: I’ll optimistically say 15th, but I’d be happy with 17th.

So does that mean our resident Evertonian is… happy?

Which club will flatter to deceive?

A special shout-out to Alex, here. The Chelsea fan predicted that his Blues would struggle, as did Aarav. It’s fair to say that neither saw the Blues struggling quite so much, though.

Jarrod, Gavin and Max all mentioned that the Foxes would slip, though none saw relegation in Leicester’s immediate future.

Gavin and Max threw a few names around here, with mixed success. Gav was on the money with Everton, less so with Brentford. Max’s other two picks were West Ham, who might be winning a European tin pot next week, and title challengers Arsenal.

Garrett and Trey stumped for Manchester United who, for the first time in a decade, looked almost totally competent, if not incredibly dynamic. Baby steps and all that…

Which club will prove a pleasant surprise?

Alex figured that Newcastle’s ability to buy a new squad of really good players would be for the better, whilst Aarav thought that Forest buying literally an entirely new squad would be enough for them to finish in 15th place. Both were wise calls.

Gavin thought Fulham would get relegated, though play some lovely football on their way back down. He was half right.

Max predicted Leeds would gain a top-half finish. They might do that in the Championship next season, to be fair.

The rest of our predictions were rescued by some late-season heroics.

West Ham spared Garrett’s blushes by achieving a relatively comfortable league safety and earning themselves a place in the Europa Conference final. Jarrod picked Crystal Palace, who were looking increasingly impotent under Patrick Vieira. Uncle Woy Hodgson came out of retirement – again – to lift his beloved Palace to 11th place in the Premier League by season’s end.

The biggest turnaround belongs to Trey’s selection of Aston Villa. Sitting in a lowly 17th when the Villains hierarchy decided that Gerrard couldn’t exist in a Premier League managerial team that contained Lampard (ask your Dad, kids) the club turned to the oft-maligned on English shores, though well-credentialed Unai Emery. He only lead them to 7th place (4th in a table of games played since his hiring) and European football.

Golden Boot winner? And how many goals do they score?

Garrett and Max chose not to ignore the Tremendous Nordic Meat Shield in the room, putting their money on Erling Braut Haaland. Prescient move, though they both dramatically underestimated his prolificacy, his 36 strikes well north of the 29 and 21 goals that pair predicted.

As for the rest of our pundits, Alex and Gavin thought that Mo Salah might nick another Golden Boot, scoring 23 (Alex) or 25 (Gavin) goals. His 19 goals were perhaps under par, though the Egyptian was one of Liverpool’s better players in a down year for the club.

Trey went all evangelical, proclaiming that ‘Jesus Scores!’ to anyone who didn’t scurry away from him, eyes lowered. Whilst the Brazilian was very good prior to a knee injury, his 11 goals fell some way short of the 27 that Trey predicted.

Remarkably, given his historically wonderful numbers, none of our crew named Harry Kane as a possible winner of this award. The largest of brickbats to Jarrod and Aarav, who both looked at Kane’s Spurs and decided to go with Robin, instead of Batman.

Jarrod thought Son Heung-min would bag 25 goals, Aarav went with 23. A late-season resurgence saw Son scrape into double figures with 10. Yuck!

Which signing will have the largest impact on their team?

Garrett, Trey and Max all went with Haaland, here. Fair play. It has to be pointed out that Max did hedge his bets, though. His other predictions? Ivan Perisic and Raheem Stirling. Yeah, not so good.

Aarav proclaimed his faith in Jesus, a pick that looked good until he was forsaken by a knee injury in the Holy Land.

Jarrod and Gavin both went against the grain and bet that Lisandro Martinez’s class would more than counterweigh his lack of height. They were right. Martinez might be the best centre-half in the Premiership.

Alex went with Chelsea defender Kalidou Coulibaly and Leeds midfielder Tyler Adams. Both drowned in the toxic cesspool’s surrounding their clubs.

And who will flop?

Wow. Some atrocious work here by our so-called ‘experts.’

Aarav thought that Martinez would be able to cope with the physicality of the English game. He was wrong.

Max, Garrett and Jarrod showed a disturbing lack of faith in Jesus.

Alex went with Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez, who scored nine league goals and had roughly 150 comical miskicks with the net at his mercy.

The only two to emerge with any credit from this question were Gavin and Trey, who picked Tyler Adams and Raheem Stirling.

As mentioned above, Adams started decently enough, but couldn’t keep his or his club’s head above water. Stirling was a victim of the blues surrounding Chelsea’s Premier League campaign.

Who takes out the PFA player of the year?

Six of our panel went with Manchester City’s creative genius Kevin De Bruyne, the lone agitator being Garrett, who went for his GoalBot teammate.

The winner will be announced about 48 hours after this post is live, so let’s take a look at who has the best odds to win the gong.

Haaland and De Bruyne are currently the top two in practically every betting market, with Haaland a strong, almost unbackable favourite. Good job, Erling! More importantly, good job Garrett!

First manager to be removed by ‘mutual consent’?

Not one of our experts picked Scott Parker to effectively commit managerial seppuku at Bournemouth, though they did make some pretty solid overall calls.

Jarrod picked Ralph Hasenhuttl at Southampton. He was sacked. Trey went with Leeds boss Jesse Marsch. He was sacked, too. Gavin went with Brendan Rogers at Leicester. Was he sacked? Of course he was!

Alex, Garrett and Aarav all thought Lampard would be the one to go. He was eventually given the bullet at Everton and should have been fired again after being inexplicably re-hired by Chelsea.

Max thought that the weight of the Manchester United job would be too much for ten Hag, who proved himself a resilient boss in this first season in charge at Old Trafford.

Finally, your most outrageous prediction for the upcoming season.

Aarav misfired on Djed Spence making the grade at Tottenham.

The most telling contribution Anthony Gordon made to Everton’s Premier League season was to somehow make them £40 million when sold to Newcastle. That’s somewhat short of breaking into the England squad on the back of 20 goals, as Jarrod predicted.

Alex was almost there in predicting that Cristiano Ronaldo would end up an LAFC. The Portuguese chose an even wealthier junket, but the spirit if the prediction holds true.

Trey was 1,000 miles off the mark in saying that Pep Guardiola would get rid of Jack Grealish.

Garrett correctly predicted that Conte would blame ownership for his new signings floundering. Admittedly, Blind Freddy and his deaf dog knew that was coming.

Max might need to brush up on what the term ‘outrageous’ means. His prediction of City winning the title without beating any of Liverpool, Chelsea or Tottenham was not only wrong, but it was also just kind of boring.

Finally, we’ll end (for the last time) with the traditional Gavin prediction, presented without comment:

With Liverpool top of the league come the winter break for the rescheduled World Cup, Jurgen Klopp will complain that there are more Liverpool players than City players at the World Cup (even if there are not) and claim it’s a fix by FIFA, UEFA, Premier League, and aliens.

Rafa Benitez will pop his head from under the desk, wipe his mouth, and shouts “Facts” before disappearing back under the desk. Liverpool fans will jump on board with this and claim they are the victims and threaten to boycott the World Cup which every other fan will encourage them to do.

They’ll lose the league by a point to Man City and blame Salah’s burnout from the World Cup — despite him not playing — and spending the time eating at McDonald’s and drinking sangrias leading to him coming back to training 30 pounds heavier. All I’m saying is it could happen. This is Liverpool, after all.

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