Sons of Alan Hansen: The 2021-22 EPL Predictions Thread

coremiller

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Jul 14, 2005
5,559
With one week to go until the season starts, it's time for our annual inevitably wrong predictions. Which petrodollar giant will win the league? Who will crash and burn and get relegated? Will any promoted teams stay up? With which team will Harry Kane win the Golden Boot? After missing out for four seasons, can Everton reclaim the Everton Cup and finish 7th?

Links to previous years:

2020-21: https://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/2020-21-premier-league-prediction-thread-its-that-time-again.31423/
2019-20: https://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/2019-20-epl-predictions.27934/
2018-19: https://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/premier-league-predictions.24532/
2017-18: https://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/predictions.20481/
2016-17: https://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/2016-17-epl-predictions-thread.15279/
2015-16: http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/premier-league-predictions-2015-16.10570/
2014-15: https://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/premier-league-predictions.5041/
 

Tuff Ghost

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Jul 15, 2005
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Last year, my picks demonstrated why I would never bet actual money on anything I predict. I remember feeling pretty good while typing up my table, thinking long and hard about various factors, and I still ended up a total of 70 places off, or an average of 3.5 places wrong per team. The only ones that I got exactly right were City (1), Liverpool (3), and West Brom (19). Most spectacularly wrong were West Ham (6 actual, 15 predicted) and Sheffield United (20 actual, 12 predicted). My annual overconfidence in Arsenal also hurt (8 actual, 5 predicted).

43299

With the utmost lack of confidence, I present my 2021-22 picks:

1. Manchester City
2. Chelsea
3. Liverpool
4. Manchester United
5. Leicester City
6. Tottenham
7. Aston Villa
8. Arsenal
9. West Ham
10. Brighton
11. Everton
12. Leeds United
13. Wolves
14. Watford
15. Newcastle United
16. Southampton
17. Crystal Palace
18. Burnley
19. Brentford
20. Norwich City

Bonus picks, or Garbage in the Wind:
Golden boot: Salah
Golden glove: Mendy
Most red cards: Cristian Romero
Largest overachiever of goals versus xG: Son
Largest underachiever of goals versus xG: Maupay
First manager sacked: Steve Bruce
 

Kliq

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Mar 31, 2013
19,723
1. Chelsea
2. Manchester City
3. Manchester United
4. Liverpool
5. Tottenham
6. Leicester City
7. Arsenal
8. West Ham
9. Everton
10. Leeds United
11. Crystal Palace
12. Brighton
13. Aston Villa
14. Newcastle
15. Burnley
16. Southampton
17. Brentford
18. Wolves
19. Watford
20. Norwich City

- I think Lukaku makes a huge difference for Chelsea and a team that played very good defense after the transfer window closed. He's exactly what that team needs and they have depth everywhere and played really well as TT got familiar with the team.

- City are the prohibited favorites but does anyone else think that Pep might be nearing his expiration date with this team? Chelsea figured him out and they still lack a strong #9 (for now). Part of this is me trying to avoid picking the massive favorites, but I could see some slippage and that leaves the door open for Chelsea.

- It's been a long road but United have somewhat consistently been getting better under Ole, and I think they pass a fading Liverpool this year.

- Aston Villa go belly-up without Grealish.

- You always want to say this is the year that Burnley and Southampton finally get sent down, and yet they always find a way to stay up.
 
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swiftaw

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Jan 31, 2009
3,141
I disagree about Villa, they’ve made some very smart purchases with the Grealish money.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Jul 15, 2005
630
1. Chelsea
2. Manchester City
3. Manchester United
4. Liverpool
5. Tottenham
6. Leicester City
7. Arsenal
8. West Ham
9. Everton
11. Leeds United
12. Brighton
13. Newcastle
14. Wolves
15. Burnley
16. Southampton
17. Brentford
18. Aston Villa
19. Watford
20. Norwich City
Crystal Palace is missing, so I am going to assume that you predict the entire club disappears in a strange wormhole scenario, making for the biggest story of the season (or, perhaps, and a little less fun, you meant to put them 10th!).

I disagree about Villa, they’ve made some very smart purchases with the Grealish money.
Same here, I think Villa have a nice season, they've been pretty smart.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Jul 2, 2006
21,271
Philadelphia
This is always difficult to do before the window closes but especially hard this year because a lot of teams are leaving their business late. I will post a full prediction toward the end of the window.

Thoughts for now:

-I like Chelsea for the title unless City gets Kane.

-I think there is a really big gap between the top four and the rest.

-My biggest difficulty is picking the 5th and 6th spots because I just don't like how any of the main contenders look. Arsenal are weaker right now than the team that ended the year, I hate the Nuno appointment for Spurs and the Kane saga is likely a huge distraction and I have no sense of how it will end, I think Leicester could really struggle with both Fofana and Evans injured and Vardy potentially looking cooked (he had a run of 2 goals in 20 league matches in the second half of last year), West Ham has literally added zero players and needs to play in Europe this year, Villa has done decent business but I'm not going to put them in the 5th-6th conversation after losing Grealish, I liked the Rafa appointment but Everton has done no meaningful business to strengthen their squad. It feels like all these teams have a few really important weeks ahead of them in terms of the window.

-I can't decide how high to put them but I think Leeds may be underrated.
 
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coremiller

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Jul 14, 2005
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The title hopefuls:
1. Chelsea. They were just as good as City last season once Tuchel came in. A full offseason of prep, more time to adjust for Werner and Havertz, plus adding Lukaku and I think they're favorites.
2. Manchester City. Still really good but who is going to score the goals?

The longshot challengers:
3. Manchester United. Enough talent on paper to challenge, but not quite the depth and I'm not sure Ole is good enough to put it all together cohesively.
4. Liverpool. I could see Liverpool challenging for the title again if everything goes right. But I can't see that as their mean projection, they would need some breaks.

The Europa division
5. Tottenham. Getting rid of Mourinho alone was a big boost, but it's also been a productive summer. Some distance off the top four though.
6. Leicester. Probably the best-run team in the EPL. Eventually old man Vardy will slow down, but they are good if they can stay healthy, which they never do.
7. Arsenal. Will again flatter to deceive.

The feisty midtable. Could see these finishing in any order.
8. West Ham. They were legit good team last year. But hard to see them improving much.
9. Brighton. Eventually that amazing xGD has to start producing results, right?
10. Everton. Sorry Toffees, Andros Townsend is not leading you to glory.
11. Leeds. Forza Bielsa!
12. Aston Villa. Buendia is a good Grealish replacement, Watkins is fun, Ings will score goals and get hurt.

Not good enough to make waves, probably good enough not to go down
13. Wolves. Probably good enough to avoid the relegation scrap. But other then the two times a game Traore runs with the ball, they are not at all interesting.
14. Southampton. It's really difficult to keep selling off your best players every year. Could get into the relegation fight if they're not careful.
15. Crystal Palace. I expected they would be a relegation favorite but I think they did enough good business to keep them up.
16. Norwich. Usually one promoted side stays up. They could land some pucnhes if they can avoid shipping too many goals.
17. Newcastle. Will once again pray there are three teams worse than them.

Thanks for playing
18. Brentford. Could be fun for a while but the EPL will wear them down.
19. Burnley. Eventually the Sean Dyche miracle dust has to wear off.
20. Watford. Yawn.

Top scorer: Salah
PotY: Kante
YPotY: Sancho
 

teddykgb

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Jul 16, 2005
10,326
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Too many of you are sleeping on Liverpool. The quality is still there. I can’t really complete this exercise without knowing the remainder of the transfer window but I think City, Liverpool, Chelsea, United in some order are your top 4. I do wonder if Chelsea can actually challenge for the league with a back 5 setup. I’m not fully onboard with the idea of Lukaku as reborn and I think they may draw a lot of matches as teams respect them more and don’t commit to attack their back 5. Also any injury to an aging Kante really hurts that system
 

tmracht

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Aug 19, 2009
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Yeah I'm not sure I see Chelsea as a title favorite. I think Top 3 is easy, but they still have a bit of a problem if Kante or Jorginho get any kind of knock. They are extremely deep up front, and in back its okay. But that's a soft gushy center if you don't have Jorginho/Kante covering up for the front 4.
 

dirtynine

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Dec 17, 2002
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Love the Brighton top 10 picks. Is this a trend? I won’t be changing much from what I’ve seen here, but I do think Arsenal is due for an up year.


1. Chelsea
2. Manchester United
3. Manchester City
4. Arsenal
5. Liverpool
6. Tottenham
7. Leicester City
8. West Ham
9. Brighton
10. Everton
11. Crystal Palace
12. Aston Villa
13. Leeds United
14. Newcastle
15. Wolves
16. Southampton
17. Burnley
18. Norwich City
19. Brentford
20. Watford
 

67YAZ

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Dec 1, 2000
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1. City - but they’re going to Pep up in the UCL semifinals again, roll out a never before seen back 6 with 4 fullbacks against PSG
2. Liverpool - Big Virg is back and makes everything so much more stable & aggressive. But losing Salah & Mane for the CAF will be a drag.
3. Chelsea - end of last season was so great, but now Tuchel is going to establish his system and somehow integrate 58 world class attackers into it.
4. ManU
5. Spurs - Harry comes back and takes out his frustrations on many innocent keepers.
6. Everton - Benitez will be rock steady.
7. Leicester
8. Arsenal
9. Leeds
10. Villa - they’ve been doing great business and are a more balanced team, though not as scary without the Haircut
11. Wolves - plenty of talent left
12. Brentford - it’s about their whole approach - scouting, recruiting, development, match planning. They’re going to surprise.
13. Brighton
14. West Ham - Europa League is draining.
15. Norwich - injuries wiped out their defense last time around, they’ll be steadier this time.
16. Soton
17. Palace - they brought so many great young players, but are they too young? Is there enough experience here, manager included, to hit 40pts? I really hope so.
18. Burnley
19. Newcastle
20. Watford
 
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OCST

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Jan 10, 2004
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The 718
1. Chelsea. Fortress defensively. The attacking pieces are there to be sorted even without Lukaku, and if he signs then I think they win going away.
2. Utd. Not sure when Shaw figured out he was an elite talent, but now that he has they're strong front to back. The keeper situation is troubling - like they say about quarterbacks, if you have two, you don't really have one.
3. City. Questions about the shape. Obviously if they bag Kane then this is open to revision but right now this feels like six attacking mids in search of a striker. Was Grealish really necessary? FWIW I'm also bearish on Kane, he's been overperforming for years, he had a long run in the Euros, and he's been physically beaten to death. Not sure how many more miles those ankles have in them.
4. Pool. More players who have been ground into dust. Jota was a great pickup but there haven't been enough quality adds to offset the attrition. Not doing enough to reload on the fly, unlike the team I have ranked just below them.
5. Leicester. Since Vardy's game is pace, you had to think that sooner or later he'd slow down and they'd be in trouble if they didn't replace his threat. Looks like they're doing that. Loss of Fofana is a blow. Secret sauce here is the guy no one ever talks about but for my money is as good as they come: Schmeichel.

---Tier 2---

6. Leeds. Came up cohesive and well-drilled, forced opponents to play their game, solid players all over the pitch.
7. Villa. Bailey, Ings, Buendia and presumably more to come is great business cashing in on Grealish.
8. Spurs, and will be lower if Kane leaves. Is Nuno the answer? I'm not feeling it.
9. Brentford. This year's Leeds. Going to take advantage of moving on up to that deluxe apartment in the sky.
10. Arsenal. The kids are all right. What about Auba and Laca? Who knows. Transition year.
11. Everton. This group was second on Boxing Day. This group was in relegation form in calendar year 2021. I could see Rafa reinvigorating this flaccid bunch with a kick in the ass. I could also see Goodison collapsing in toxicity after a snooze of a transfer window.
12. Wolves. No one is paying attention, could surprise.
13. Brighton.

---Tier 3---

14. Palace. Here's a dark horse if you're looking for one. Good offseason work.
15. Newcastle.
16. Watford. Defensively strong enough to stay up. Too bad because I dislike them.
17. Burnley.

--Goodbye--

18. Whoe ver I forgot
19. Norwich.
20. Southampton. Goodbye, Kansas City A's to Liverpool's Yankees.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Jul 15, 2005
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--Goodbye--

18. Whoe ver I forgot
19. Norwich.
20. Southampton. Goodbye, Kansas City A's to Liverpool's Yankees.
West Ham, which sadly means you are ready for their pretty bubbles to enter the "fade and die" portion of their chant, "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles." They truly "nearly reached the sky" by qualifying for Europa, but the song lays it out pretty clearly what comes next!
I'm forever blowing bubbles / Pretty bubbles in the air / They fly so high / Nearly reach the sky / Then like my dreams / They fade and die. / Fortune's always hiding / I've looked everywhere / I'm forever blowing bubbles / Pretty bubbles in the air.
 

veritas

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Jan 13, 2009
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Winner
1. Manchester City. It's not going to be much of a competition, especially if they get Kane. I think it's insane to have anyone else at the top.

Competing for bragging rights
2. Manchester United. They added one of the best players in the world who is exactly what they were lacking last season. Varane is a great add too.
3. Chelsea. I love Lukaku but their attack wasn't the area they needed to improve.
4. Liverpool. VVD getting close to 100% might bump them to #2.

Need a miracle for top 4. Playing for Europa
5. Leicester. Shrug.
6. Spurs. Think they have the most upside in this group, but they could easily fall apart if they don't replace Kane wisely. Big Nuno believer.
7. Brighton. They get some finishing this season.
8. Arsenal. Who is going to score? Lacazette and Aubameyang have been in decline for a few years.
9. West Ham. They're probably better than this, my gut refuses to believe it.
10. Everton. Just too old.

Safely mediocre
11. Leeds. Not sure their style can hold up for another whole season, especially with a crowded schedule, but they're a top half team when they're on.
12. Aston Villa. Buendia isn't Grealish but he's legit.
13. Wolves. I think losing Nuno will be a big blow, but they'll have Jiminez back, and they're young.
14. Southampton. Hasenhuttl will keep them safe, but they're very thin.
15. Newcastle. I hate them and hope they get relegated, but think they're a bit too good for that.

Interesting race to stay up
16. Norwich. Like coremiller said, someone will probably stay up, why not Norwich.
17. Burnley. Burnley will Burnley
18. Palace. They're too bad to keep staying up.
19. Brentford. They're interesting and could make a bit of noise
20. Watford. Nope
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Jul 2, 2006
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Screw it. Here is my full prediction with no clue about what the transfer window brings.

Superclubs Division

1. Chelsea - Great options on every part of the pitch, a tactical set up that nobody seems to have quite figured out how to counter yet, and a hungry team.

2. City - No less talented than Chelsea, but repeating is really really hard. A little staleness could make the difference. If they get Kane, I would bump them to favorites.

3. United - Very talented but the Ole tax keeps them from truly challenging the top two.

4. Liverpool - Great talent, great manager, but too many players on the wrong side of their peaks, with too many miles on their tires.


Europa League Dreams


5. Spurs - Two world class forwards on a midtable roster, led by a manager with no track record of constructing a side that can consistently be on top in matches.

6. Arsenal - Young team that will benefit from a lack of European play, but remains miles off the top four and held back by declining strikers they can't move.

7. Leicester - Vardy looks cooked and he is the one player they may not be able to easily replace. The Fofana injury was a killer, especially with Evans already hurt.


Midtable Scramble

8. Brighton - Assuming they use the rest of the White money to bring in a striker or two who can finish a chance.

9. Leeds - Acclimated to the league, benefitting from squad continuity, Bielsa-ball produces enough wins to edge them a bit upward.

10. West Ham - Same squad as last year, but now playing in Europe. A team dependent on outworking opponents that may run out of gas.

11. Everton - I like the Rafa appointment but don't really see the roster improvement.

12. Aston Villa - The summer business was good but only enough to have them treading water, not taking a leap forward.


Quest for 40 Points

13. Wolves - Enough talent to be safe and maybe to get into the midtable scramble if things click quickly with Lage.

14. Burnley - Their date with relegation will come eventually, but not this year.

15. Norwich - I expect a bit more pragmatism than the last time they made it here, and that will be just enough to keep them up.

16. Palace - I love their summer business, but think it'll be hard going with so many new arrivals and they'll flirt with relegation much of the year.

17. Southampton - Bravely turning over some of their older, top players like Ings and Vestergaard but also really taking a big risk in doing so.

Nice Knowing You

18. Newcastle - Steve Bruce inspires no faith whatsoever.

19. Brentford - Love everything about their story, don't think they have enough talent or resources to stick around.

20. Watford - You need to score goals to stay up. Their best striker is still Troy Deeney.
 
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candylandriots

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I guess I'll give this a try. No explanations because these are just wild-ass guesses anyway. I'm sure I'm tempting fate by putting this down though.

1. Man City
2. Chelsea
3. Man United
4. Liverpool
5. Arsenal
6. Leicester
7. Spurs
8. Everton
9. Leeds
10. West Ham
11. Villa
12. Wolves
13. Palace
14. Burnley
15. Brighton
16. Norwich
17. Brentford
18. Newcastle
19. Southampton
20. Watford
 

Cellar-Door

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Aug 1, 2006
28,398
1. Man City
2. Liverpool
3. Man United
4. Chelsea
5.Leicester
6.Spurs
7.West Ham
8.Arsenal
9. Villa
10. Leeds
11. Brighton
12. Everton
13.Wolves
14. S'Hampton
15. Brentford
16. Burnley
17. Newcastle
18. Palace
19.Norwich
20. Watford
 

Carbo Loading

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Dec 8, 2002
752
Vancouver, WA
1. Liverpool FC
2. Manchester City
3. Chelsea FC
4. Leicester City
5. Manchester United
6. Tottenham Hotspurs
7. Leeds United
8. Arsenal
9. West Ham
10. Aston Villa
11. Everton
12. Crystal Palace
13. Brighton
14. Wolves
15. Norwich City
16. Newcastle United
17. Burnley
18. Southampton
19. Watford
20. Brentford
 

67YAZ

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Dec 1, 2000
6,283
LOL Everton. The Athletic are reporting this morning that 5 players, including James, are in COVID protocol isolation today and will miss the opener.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Jul 15, 2005
630
The Athletic's staff picks are also out (from same article as the Optimism meter).

43427

(Source: https://theathletic.com/2766808/2021/08/13/the-premier-league-is-back-and-we-might-even-have-a-title-race/)

Last year, The Athletic's staff picks ended being wrong by a total of 62 places, which was worse than SoSH consensus (58 picks off) and much worse than Cellar-Door's 42 picks off. The Athletic's worst picks last year were Sheffield United (pick: 12, actual: 20) and Aston Villa (pick: 18th, actual: 11th).

This year, so far, the SoSH consensus is trending very closely to The Athletic. I'll post the final SoSH average later (in case any more picks come in before the games start later today), but at the moment the only pick that is more than 1 place apart on the Athletic vs. SoSH consensus is Aston Villa (The Athletic: 8, SoSH: 11).
 

swiftaw

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Jan 31, 2009
3,141
1. Chelsea
2. Man City
3. Liverpool
4. Man Utd
5. Leicester
6. Aston Villa
7. West Ham
8. Tottenham
9. Arsenal
10. Leeds
11. Brighton
12. Everton
13. Brentford
14. Newcastle
15. Wolves
16. Burnley
17. Watford
18. Crystal Palace
19. Southampton
20. Norwich
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
SoSH Member
Sep 14, 2002
7,237
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada
1. Liverpool
2. Man City
3. Chelsea
4. Man Utd
5. Leicester
6. Tottenham
7. Everton
8. Aston Villa
9. Arsenal
10. Leeds
11. Brighton
12. West Ham
13. Brentford
14. Newcastle
15. Wolves
16. Southampton
17. Watford
18. Crystal Palace
19. Burnley
20. Norwich
 
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Kliq

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Mar 31, 2013
19,723
I have altered my original thoughts after I clearly have underrated Aston Villa.
 

Tuff Ghost

Member
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Jul 15, 2005
630
The SoSH consensus this year looks a whole lot like The Athletic staff consensus. Every pick is within 1 spot on the table, except for Aston Villa who is 2 spots apart (The Athletic: 8, SoSH: 10).
43437

The greatest variability was with Brentford:
  • Average: 16.2
  • Highest pick: 9th (OCST)
  • Lowest pick: 20th (Carbo Loading)
The highest level of consensus was Manchester City:
  • Average: 1.8
  • Highest pick: 1st (5 posters: Tuff Ghost, 67YAZ, veritas, candylandriots, Cellar-Door)
  • Lowest pick: 3rd (2 posters: dirtynine, OCST)
Finally, I hope Burnley gets relegated just as SoSH has (barely) predicted.