We had the successors to the Dark Lord, the top four dreamers, top six upstarts, and potential wildcards. Liverpool were dreaming of a top four place to crown a memorable season of renewal but Brendan Rodgers delivered a genuine title challenge. Of course, Liverpool were in pole position with three games to go but it is clear that this was a season of exceeding expectations when one looks back at recorded predictions for the season. A thin squad, a mixed summer transfer window, a non-existent January transfer window, young players who needed to move up a level to provide CL qualification, reintegrate a disaffected Luis Suárez, and an outfit that hasn't finished in the top four for a number of years means that finishing second was quite the feat.
Seven points separated the Champions League qualifiers, three points separated the two Europa League qualifiers, and eight points separated seventh from eighth. Three sides broke the 80-point barrier and fourth-placed Arsenal was just a point away from joining them. Everton broke the 70-point barrier to finish in fifth and Tottenham were one point away with 69 points to complete the top six. Skipping Manchester United's poor defence of their title to finish seventh, Southampton scored the best eighth-placed finish since David Moyes' Everton finished eighth in the 2009/2010 season. Southampton's 56 points and plus eight goal difference was not too far behind Everton's 61 points and plus 11 goal difference.
Take a Peek
The first prediction post was posted after Liverpool's impressive start to the season in mid September and even then, only a few predicted Liverpool to be champions. From those who predicted Liverpool to finish in the top four or close to winning the Premier League, I would like to ask you why? Why did you think Liverpool could do it when so many others did not? Were your predictions derived from the endless hope from the bottomless well of your hearts or did you think Liverpool's rivals weren't as good as they thought they were?
Manchester United replaced a legendary manager with one who did not have the mentality or philosophy for a club as big as the champions where some players weren't as good as some thought. Chelsea's dour approach to football under the self-anointed "Special One" took them close but no trophies is a poor return on spending nearly £50 million along with a supposedly winning manager. Manchester City triumphed with the best first eleven and deepest squad but they had to wait until the last day to confirm they were champions.
Arsenal looked to challenge but Liverpool effectively ended any legitimacy of a challenge after that win at Anfield in early February. Spurs signed Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, and many more but they didn't have Gareth Bale. Both North London clubs were humiliated by the top three at various points of the season while Southampton were impressing everyone so much to finish eighth that half their team would be welcome additions to all the sides that finished above them.
Steadyang computed the average placing of predictions in the first edition and it's worth a look. The top four were accurately predicted in the averages and Man United's disastrous season was also identified early on. Totokia's predictions were excellent for such an unpredictable season and the final table's top eight are all present and accounted for. Arsenal were predictably placed in fourth, swap Chelsea and Liverpool around, and play a game of musical chairs from fifth through to seventh for a mirror of the season.
1. Man City
6. Man United
Thanks to all who took part throughout and nods of recognition to those who lurked with a discerning eye. Next season's edition will promise to be a little trickier with bonus questions included. Ideas and opinions for improvements and/or modifications are welcome below the line.