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2016/17 EPL Predictions: Making sense of the football season ahead

The Premier League doesn’t make sense some times. We’re here to help you with that

Leicester City v Manchester United - The FA Community Shield Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

With the start of a new Premier League season up on us, all kinds of news outlets, “news” outlets and other sporting websites are letting us in on their predictions for the coming months.

None of these predictions ever get close to accuracy (see: Leicester City 2015/16), but king of them all is the full predicted table. They’re unbelievably inaccurate, certain to cause arguments and utterly pointless.

And I love them. I search for them, I read them and, for reasons unknown even to myself, I compile them. Why look at one bad opinion when you can look at the average of all the bad opinions.

Here are the results of this year’s batch:

Not a lot of variation there. Sunderland and Bournemouth the hardest to pick, with 6 places between their highest and lowest. Manchester City, Arsenal and Stoke City are predictably predictable.

Looks to me like the early feeling is that we’re looking at a few district groups of teams before there’s any real evidence to go on:

  • The Contenders - Manchester City are the early favourites, but surprising how fancied United and Chelsea are. Big name managers were the story of the summer and these 3 all tick that box.
  • The Chasers - Looking at the top 6, everyone seems pretty sure the big names are moving back up. Spurs aside, their rankings are all pretty settled. Just like they were last year.

Spurs not aside...really? 5th? They fell apart at the end and I guess prominent in everyone’s minds, but they were the youngest team in the league last year. They’ll come back stronger.

  • The Defending Champs - Everton finished 34 points behind Leicester City last year. West Ham looked very good at times last year and kept hold of their star man so you can at least see why they’re liked.
  • Mid Table - Big year for Stoke; will they finish 10th or 11th? Southampton and Crystal Palace’s seasons also apparently over as far as competition at either end goes.
  • In Trouble - 5 clubs were basically inseparable in the bottom half, but they’ve also got the highest variation. No one knows what order these teams will finish in, but it’ll be towards the bottom the table. Watford are still in touch with the group.
  • Burnley and Hull - :(

Worth remembering where Leicester were this time last year though. Ignoring Sky Sports, the consensus is that the Foxes are a top half team. Few predicted that last year. Also, don’t worry Hull you might still win the league? Maybe?

Man, that 11 stings a bit though doesn’t it? Try not to look at it. It’s only Paul Merson and he was oddly certain we were going to lose to Swansea last year. Focus on Hull. Lovely week 1 Hull.

My predictions? Why, I thought you’d never ask.

1. Tottenham Hotspur 2. Manchester City 3. Manchester United 4. Arsenal 5. Chelsea 6. Leicester City 7. West Ham 8. Liverpool 9. Stoke City 10. Everton 11. Southampton 12. West Brom 13. Bournemouth 14. Crystal Palace 15. Sunderland 16. Middlesbrough 17. Swansea 18. Watford 19. Burnley (sorry) 20. Hull City (so sorry).

We now know all of these will be wrong because that’s how it always works. So how will it all go down? Who’s going to win it all, who’s going down and where will the Foxes end up?