Pascal Gross

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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.

Man City win the Premier League title

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  • Back-to-back PL titles for City
  • 4th PL title in 8 years
  • 14th straight win for Man City
  • 2nd highest points total (98) in history
  • Brighton took the lead
  • Aguero, Laporte, Mahrez, Gundogan score

BRIGHTON — Manchester City were crowned 2018-19 Premier League champions on Sunday, as they beat Brighton & Hove Albion 4-1 at the Amex Stadium to retain their crown as the champions of England.

Pep Guardiola‘s men have now won back-to-back Premier League titles, as their incredible run of 14-straight victories to end the season saw them finish one point clear of Liverpool, who they trailed by seven points in early January.

[ MORE: Guardiola reacts, as City cement spot in history

After Glenn Murray opened the scoring to give City a scare, Sergio Aguero equalized soon after and then Aymeric Laporte put City ahead before the break. Riyad Mahrez scored a stunner to make it 3-1 in the second half, as City eased to the title with Ilkay Gundogan adding another.

City finish the season on 98 points, one ahead of Liverpool, as they recorded the second-highest points tally in PL history, two less than the record they set last season.

With the League Cup and Premier League title already secured, Man City will now be the first English team to ever complete a domestic treble if they beat Watford in the FA Cup final next Saturday.

We are truly witnessing greatness.

City started brightly as Bernardo Silva weaved his way into the box but was eventually tackled at the crucial moment just as he was about to shoot.

Brighton then went close as a cross was whipped in that Murray nodded wide, but he was in an offside position anyway. Man City continued to dominate possession with having too many clear cut chances, as Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan fizzing went close. Then all hell broke loose.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Brighton took the lead as a Pascal Gross corner from the left saw Murray flick home to beat Ederson at his near post and give the hosts a 1-0 lead. But just seconds later City made it 1-1.

David Silva‘s flick found Aguero and he finished calmly at the near post through Ryan’s legs to equalize. Silva then went close with a header at he back post which Ryan saved as City clicked through the gears before the break.

[ MORE: Final Premier League standings ]

A bad giveaway from Murray set Mahrez free but his shot towards the near post was pushed away by Ryan and from the resulting corner City took the lead. Laporte got free of his runner and sent a towering header home to make it 2-1.

Right on half time Lewis Dunk‘s dipping free kick was fumbled and pushed onto the bar by Ederson as City survived a scare.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

In the second half City came flying out of the traps to try and put the game to bed.

They came close on several occasions before a moment of magic from Mahrez saw the Algerian jinx past two tackles and smash home to make it 3-1 and seal the title win.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Man City went close to extending their lead as Gundogan curled just wide, and moments later he did make it 4-1 as the German curled home a superb free kick to seal the glorious title win in style.

Arsenal’s top-four dreams crushed in Brighton draw (video)

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  • Arsenal 3 points back of Spurs with inferior GD
  • Aubameyang scores 20th PL goal this season (9′)
  • Murray nets career goal 200 to draw level (61′)

Arsenal, much like Manchester United before them, couldn’t hold onto an early lead and ultimately dealt their own top-four dreams a fatal blow by drawing a bottom-four side on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

1-0 up on 17th-place Brighton & Hove Albion after nine minutes, Unai Emery‘s Gunners failed to put the game away with a second goal and let the Seagulls back into the game. As such, Arsenal (67 points) trail fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur by three points with just one game left to play. The problem for Arsenal: their goal differential (+20) is eight goals worse than that of Tottenham.

For all intents and purposes, they’re set for another season in the Europa League, unless the can win Europe’s “other” competition later this month.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan went inches from firing the Gunners into the lead after 73 seconds, but the Armenian’s shot from the edge of the penalty area smashed the front side of the post and squirted across the face of goal in agonizing fashion.

It didn’t take much longer for Arsenal to jump out in front, though. Nacho Monreal was tripped inside Brighton’s 18-yard box, which sent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the penalty spot where he bagged his 20th PL goal of the season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Shkodran Mustafi very nearly made it 2-0 with a diving header in the 36th minute, but Mathew Ryan leapt into action, and across his goal, to make a spectacular save at a full-stretch. Ryan made an even better stop to deny Aubameyang two minutes later. A cross came in front the left side and found Aubameyang near the penalty spot. He swept his left foot through the ball and sent it toward Ryan’s right-hand post, but the goalkeeper sprang to life once again and pushed the ball just around the post.

Brighton drew level hugely against the run of play. Granit Xhaka needlessly dragged down Solly March who had made a dangerous, but containable, run inside the box. Glenn Murray stepped up and converted to reach the 200-goal mark in his 15-year professional career.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Arsenal’s best chance to win it saw Aubameyang smash the ball just inches wide of the post in the 74th minute. With much of the left side of the goal at his mercy, the Gabonese goalscorer couldn’t keep the ball on frame when he leapt into the air struck a volley with great power.

Brighton had two chances to steal all three points in the 84th minute, but March’s header was saved by Bernd Leno at point-blank range, then Pascal Gross wasn’t able to put his follow-up effort on target. The near post was wide open and required just a bit of composure to touch the ball home.

Arsenal will visit Burnley on the final day of the season, next Sunday, while Spurs will host Everton.

Gross goal saves Brighton point, maybe PL status (video)

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  • Seagulls move four points clear of drop
  • Magpies unbeaten in three
  • Perez scores fifth in three matches

Pascal Gross‘ late goal, Brighton and Hove Albion’s first in 735 minutes, saved the Seagulls a massive point in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

Ayoze Perez scored his 11th goal of the season as Newcastle United, having scored thrice last week and once the previous match day.

Newcastle now has 42 points, good for 13th, while Brighton is four points clear of 18th place Cardiff City.

Brighton faces Arsenal and Man City in its remaining fixtures, while Cardiff has Crystal Palace and Manchester United.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Newcastle was far superior over the first hour, and were denied a pair of penalty shouts.

In the first half, Salomon Rondon was felled in the box after tangling legs with Bruno. Early in the second frame, it was a close range handball that went uncalled off a corner kick. The first was more interesting than the second.

Perez scored his goal at the quarter hour mark, taking a chested layoff from Salomon Rondon and absolutely screaming a shot into the upper reaches of the goal from 12 yards. 1-0 Magpies.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Brighton snapped into the match after the hour mark, but Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka was in command of his 18 as the pressure increased at the Amex.

A Pascal Gross flick of a Solly March cross nearly met Glenn Murray at the back post but Dubravka was wise to the play.

Brighton found its way through when Bruno’s cross was headed back across goal by Murray, and Gross snapped at the chance to nod it over the line.

The Seagulls kept pushing, and were easily the better side over the final stages.

A 90th minute corner saw Murray flash a header over the goal in what would’ve almost certainly sealed the Seagulls’ PL status.

Brighton grab huge point at Wolves (video)

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  • Brighton move 3 points clear of relegation zone
  • No win in 3 for Wolves
  • Jota hits post, bar for Wolves

Wolverhampton Wanderers were held to a 0-0 draw by Brighton & Hove Albion at Molinuex on Saturday, as the Seagulls boosted their hopes of Premier League survival.

Wolves had the better chances throughout as Diogo Jota hit the bar in the first half and the post in the second half, as Brighton hardly threatened but returned to the South Coast with a vital point.

With the draw Brighton move on to 34 points for the season and are three points above Cardiff City in the final relegation spot. Wolves are on 48 points and will see this as two points dropped in their battle to finish seventh.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Wolves did all the pressing early on, as Matt Doherty fired over and Raul Jimenez sent a header wide at the back post.

As the first half wore on, the home side became more dangerous and Brighton failed to create any clear city chances.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Diogo Jota was tackled by Pascal Gross in the box and the former appealed for a penalty kick, as Gross took a chance but didn’t give a spot kick away.

Jota then wriggled free and fired a low shot just wide of the goal as Wolves continued to dominate, and the Portuguese forward hit a shot into the ground which bounced up and hit the bar right on half time.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Brighton were a different team in the second half, as substitute Beram Kayal whistled a shot just over.

Wolves piled on the pressure late on as Jota’s header from Jimenez’s cross hit the post and then Ryan somehow denied Leander Dendocker’s shot. Soon after Willy Boly sent a free header over as Brighton were clinging on.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

At the full time whistle Brighton’s players celebrated a big point, as they now have to play Tottenham, Newcastle, Arsenal and Man City in their final four games of the season.