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Just how wrong? Revisiting Premier League predictions

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Own it.

That’s how I look at Premier League predictions. When you’re right, be happy about your good fortune. When you’re wrong, raise your hand.

But there’s another level to it: Why was I right or wrong? Did a team let me down, or did I vastly overrate/underrate their potential?

[ MORE: Players to watch at U-20 World Cup ]

Twenty months ago I pegged Burnley to get relegated with an almost record-low amount of points. The Clarets qualified for the Europa League, and I ate my words (even if Sean Dyche‘s men seemingly out-performed every metric on Earth in spite of stats, like some old man claiming Man City wins because of “better chemistry, not talent”).

Cardiff City
Predicted finish: 20
Actual finish: 18

How wrong was I? Not. As much credit as the Bluebirds got for grinding every week, and as much of a difference as the late Emiliano Sala could’ve been to their fortunes, they completed passes at an almost absurdly-bad 63.9 percent rate while having just 39.1 percent of the ball. It was bad.

Huddersfield Town
Predicted finish: 19
Actual finish: 20

How wrong was I? Not. Huddersfield Town managed a league-worst .4 attempts per game from inside the six-yard box, and were one of only five teams to attempt less than six shots per game from inside the 18.

Watford
Predicted finish: 18
Actual finish: 11

How wrong was I? Pretty wrong. Javi Gracia‘s men were strong against bad teams — for the most part — but never sprung another real upset after beating Spurs to go 4-0 early in the season. Record against the Top Six? 1W-0D-11L.

Bournemouth
Predicted finish: 17
Actual finish: 14

How wrong was I? Eh. The Cherries were never really in trouble thanks to a 6-2-2 start, but man did they ride their luck.

Burnley
Predicted finish: 16
Actual finish: 15

How wrong was I? I’ve learned my lesson. Regardless of how much talent appears to be on a Sean Dyche roster, he’s a rich man’s Tony Pulis and should not be doubted.

The face Sean Dyche makes before he fist fights an entire village. Terrifying. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Southampton
Predicted finish: 15
Actual finish: 16

How wrong was I? With respect to Mark Hughes, I thought Saints’ season would come down to when he was sacked and who they identified to replace him. Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s in a good place.

Brighton and Hove Albion
Predicted finish: 14
Actual finish: 17

How wrong was I? A bit wrong, and I pretty much blame Pascal Gross, who back slid from 7 goals and 8 assists in his Premier League debut to just three and three in Year No. 2. The Seagulls didn’t score a single goal from outside the 18.

Wolves
Predicted finish: 13
Actual finish: 7

How wrong was I? It’s not simply about buying players — see: Fulham — but about acquiring hungry players. Raul Jimenez, Diogo Jota, and several others had points to prove, and Jimenez especially made it well.

Newcastle United
Predicted finish: 12
Actual finish: 13

How wrong was I? To be honest, this went about as I expected given the brutal fixture list to start the season. Had I known Miguel Almiron would’ve transitioned so nicely from MLS to the PL, I might’ve had them 10th.

 (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Fulham
Predicted finish: 11
Actual finish: 19

How wrong was I? Very, but to my defense so were most people. On paper, the Cottagers improved more than even Wolves.

Crystal Palace
Predicted finish: 10
Actual finish: 12

How wrong was I? The stats kinda back me up, and it may be worth noting for next season that the Palace’s results didn’t match its performances. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luka Milivojevic, and Wilfried Zaha gave them difference makers in all thirds of the field, and it’s surprising they didn’t push a bit higher on the table.

Leicester City
Predicted finish: 9
Actual finish: 9

How wrong was I? Not. The Foxes were pretty infuriating all year. Maybe Brendan Rodgers‘ ego and power will match the player power that’s run the club since they won the title. That said, the inconsistency and tumult shouldn’t be a surprise in a season the club had to deal with its owner dying on a match day.

West Ham United
Predicted finish: 8
Actual finish: 10

How wrong was I? Not really. I thought it would take Manuel Pellegrini some time to put his men together, but I didn’t predict the Irons would get a total of 37 appearances from Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini, and Carlos Sanchez.

Everton
Predicted finish: 7
Actual finish: 8

How wrong was I? It took Marco Silva longer than expected to get his men humming, but think of this: If Jordan Pickford doesn’t give Divock Origi a derby winner, Everton is going to Europe. I know, I know… chaos theory. But still.

Richarlison (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur
Predicted finish: 6
Actual finish: 4

How wrong was I? Like many, I was stunned that Spurs didn’t spend this summer and thought injuries would hurt them. They did, but only to the extent that Tottenham wasn’t able to sustain a title challenge. Spurs rarely gave the ball away, and the only teams that averaged fewer “times dispossessed” than Tottenham’s 9.2 per 90 were teams that never had the ball: Brighton, Cardiff, and Burnley.

Arsenal
Predicted finish: 5
Actual finish: 5

How wrong was I? Spot-on. It was going to take time for the Gunners to come together following a first managerial change in ages, but Arsenal had the offense to challenge for the Top Four. Surprisingly for Arsenal, they averaged just eight dribbles per game, 12th in the PL. Unai Emery had them more cautious than usual.

Chelsea
Predicted finish: 4
Actual finish: 3

How wrong was I? Not. Maurizio Sarri is not for everyone, but he knows how to get results. Granted Gonzalo Higuain was his guy, but he did it without a top striker.

Liverpool
Predicted finish: 3
Actual finish: 2

How wrong was I? Well, considering the Reds had one of the best runners-up finishes of all-time, quite wrong. Mostly, I didn’t expect Mohamed Salah to deliver again and he mostly did (save for a late winter slump).

Manchester United
Predicted finish: 2
Actual finish: 6

How wrong was I? Real wrong. Almost as wrong as United looks for canning Jose Mourinho. The manager needed to leave town, but there was a reason he was playing so packed-in. Ask yourself this: If Ed Woodward gave Mourinho the use of Toby Alderweireld, would Spurs and United be flipped?

Manchester City
Predicted finish: 1
Actual finish: 1

How wrong was I? On point. How good was City? For a club that ranked No. 1 in possession, they were only dispossessed 10.3 times per match. That was the 8th fewest total in the league.

Ranking top 10 Premier League players at each position

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There are 25 players in each Premier League squad, but who not only starred for their respective clubs but also elevated themselves to the upper echelons of the league this season?

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

We pondered that as we analyzed those who rose to the challenge best over the past nine months.

Below is a look at our complete list of the top 10 players in each position based on their play during the 2018-19 campaign.


Goalkeepers
1. Ederson
2. Alisson
3. David De Gea
4. Kepa
5. Ben Foster
6. Lukasz Fabianski
7. Hugo Lloris
8. Jordan Pickford
9. Rui Patricio
10. Martin Dubravka


Right backs
1. Trent Alexander-Arnold
2. Matt Doherty
3. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
4. Cesar Azpilicueta
5. Ricardo Perreira
6. Kyle Walker
7. Seamus Coleman
8. Kiko Femenia
9. Pablo Zabaleta
10. Yan Valery


Left backs
1. Andrew Robertson
2. Lucas Digne
3. Ben Chilwell
4. Luke Shaw
5. Jonny Otto
6. Patrick Van Aanholt
7. Ben Davies
8. Nacho Monreal
9. Jose Holebas
10. Emerson Palmeri


Center backs
1. Virgil Van Dijk
2. Aymeric Laporte
3. Toby Alderweireld
4. Jan Vertonghen
5. Vincent Kompany
6. Sokratis
7. Antonio Rudiger
8. Conor Coady
9. Michael Keane
10. Issa Diop


Central midfielders
1. Fernandinho
2. Joao Moutinho
3. Moussa Sissoko
4. David Silva
5. Jordan Henderson
6. Andre Gomes
7. Abdoulaye Doucoure
8. Fabinho
9. N'Golo Kante
10. Youri Tielemans


Attacking midfielders
1. Eden Hazard
2. Bernardo Silva
3. Kevin De Bruyne
4. Christian Eriksen
5. Gerard Deulofeu
6. Dele Alli
7. James Maddison
8. Gylfi Sigurdsson
9. Paul Pogba
10. Diogo Jota


Wingers
1. Raheem Sterling
2. Bernardo Silva
3. Sadio Mane
4. Mohamed Salah
5. Wilfried Zaha
6. Ryan Fraser
7. Pedro
8. Ryan Babel
9. David Brooks
10. Nathan Redmond


Strikers
1. Sergio Aguero
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
3. Harry Kane
4. Roberto Firmino
5. Alexandre Lacazette
6. Raul Jimenez
7. Heung-Min Son
8. Jamie Vardy
9. Marcus Rashford
10. Salomon Rondon


Top Premier League stats of the 2018-2019 season, from Opta

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With the 2018-2019 Premier League season officially wrapped up, it’s time here to look back at some of the wild, incredible, and amazing statistics from the last 10 months. From our friends at Opta, here’s some of the top statistics from the last season.

[READ: PST Writers’ PL Best XI]

00:07 – Shane Long scored the Premier League’s fastest goal in just seven seconds in Southampton’s match against Watford.

12 – Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson combined to score 12 goals this season, the highest total since Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer combined for 13 in the 1995 Blackburn Premier League title season.

16 – Liverpool led the league with the most points won (16) from losing positions this season.

16 years, 30 days – Fulham’s Harvey Elliott became the Premier League’s youngest player (16-years and 30 days old) when he was substituted on against Wolverhampton Wanderers in May.

22 – The amount of goals scored by Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah (both Liverpool) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal). It’s the first time three African international (Aubameyang was born in France but plays internationally for Gabon) players have led the Premier League in scoring.

29 – Southampton led the league with the most points lost (29) from winning positions.

49.2% – Eden Hazard‘s (Chelsea) total amount of goals (16) and assists (15) made him responsible for nearly half (49.2%) of his team’s goals in the Premier League this season.

68.13% – Manchester City led the Premier League in possession with 68.13% of the time controlling the ball. Only eight teams finished with more than 50% possession for the year, with Leicester City at 50.73%.

81 – Watford finished with the most cards (81) in the Premier League. 77 yellow cards and four red cards.

141 – Liverpool spent more than half (51.1% and 141 days) of the season at the top of the league, only to fall to Manchester City by one point on the final day of the season.

143 – Wilfred N’Didi (Leicester City) and Idrissa Gueye (Everton) tied for the lead in most tackles in the Premier League (143) this season.

 

PST writers’ Premier League Best XI of the 2018-2019 season

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The 38-game gauntlet of a Premier League campaign is over, and now, it’s time to look back at who were the standout performers over the 2018-2019 season.

So, who made our Premier League Best XI? We polled our PST staff for their opinions to form their Best XIs from the last nine months. It’s a difficult task, considering that there are always more than 11 players who shined, especially with multiple at one position.

Here are our results. Let us know Premier League Best XI in the comments below!

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Top 10 Premier League goals of the 2018-19 season

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The 2018/19 Premier League season has come to a conclusion, and what a thrill ride it was. Manchester City won the title on the last day of the season, but there was so much more that this campaign brought to the table.

What’s the one thing everyone wants to see when the season is over? The best goals of course! So here they are, the top 10 goals of the season, ranked. What do you think should be higher on the list, and what was left off?

10. Andre Schurrle vs. Burnley

It was a tough season for Fulham, but they will have the January Goal of the Month to savor. On-loan Andre Schurrle delivered a thrilling volley that opened the scoring for the Whites just two minutes into the match.

9. Gylfi Sigurdsson vs. Leicester City

It was a season of ups and downs for Everton, perfectly encapsulated by this looping strike from Gylfi Sigurdsson who blasted it from way outside the box and somehow got the ball to hook from top to bottom, burying into the upper-left corner giving the Toffees a lead on the road.

8. Daniel Sturridge vs. Chelsea

If you want a combination of great goal and big, late moment, this is the goal for you. With Liverpool looking to stay unbeaten in the seventh match of the season, Daniel Sturridge came through this this massive moment.

7. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs. Leicester City

A wonderful team goal that featured 15 passes saw Arsenal through against Leicester City at the Emirates. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tapped home for one of his league-leading 22 on the season, but it was the buildup that made it so fantastic.

6. Mohamed Salah vs. Chelsea

An utterly sensational strike that put Liverpool 2-0 up on Chelsea and took out the frustration of a difficult three-month stretch for the Egyptian. It would be higher on this list if it weren’t for the huge amount of outrageous strikes this season. One thing is for sure…it’s better than the one he won the Puskas Award for!

5. Aaron Ramsey vs. Fulham

A backheel goal is fifth on the list? That’s how good the goals were this season. Ramsey had three different touches in the buildup all while sprinting two-thirds of the pitch to be in position at the end of make the final, brilliant touch.

4. Heung-Min Son vs. Chelsea

With an absolutely blistering run down the right-hand side, Heung-Min Son roasted multiple defenders before finding his way to the penalty spot and blasting a strike past Kepa Arrizabalaga to put Spurs 3-0 up over Chelsea in late November, securing a third successive win for Spurs.

3. Eden Hazard vs. West Ham

It’s looking like Eden Hazard will play his last game for Chelsea in the Europa League final this summer before moving to Real Madrid, but Blues fans will always have moments like this to savor from the Belgian’s time at Stamford Bridge. Hazard weaved and meandered through defenders leaving baffled Hammers players in his wake.

2. Andros Townsend vs. Manchester City

The unquestioned Goal of the Season for months before Vincent Kompany happened, Townsend’s strike was an absolute blast that featured just enough curl to find its way into the top corner from miles away. It left Man City stunned in a famous win over the eventual champions as part of their mid-season slump.

1. Vincent Kompany vs. Leicester City

Every kid dreams of this moment: your team struggling to put the ball in the back of the net, not much time on the clock, your title chase on the line. Vincent Kompany, Manchester City’s captain who had battled injuries and form to even find his way onto the field, blasted a howitzer to savor that not only inched Manchester City one win away from securing the Premier League title, but also left mouths agape all across the globe. A stunner that will be remembered for years to come – a goal that finds itself on par with Sergio Aguero’s last-gasp title winner in Manchester City lore.

Honorable mention: Anthony Knockaert vs. Crystal Palace, Fabian Schar vs. Burnley, Jean-Michael Seri vs. Burnley, Andre Schurrle vs. Cardiff City, Sergio Aguero vs. Chelsea.