So why did all the predictions of this season go so wrong?




By Tony Attwood

In recent articles (listed above) I’ve been trying to show that the way the media looks at the Premier League is fundamentally flawed.  We can tell this not just by the way their forecasting has been so far away for what has happened, but also by the lack of apology for the errors in forecasting and the fact that certain key issues have been completely ignored.   

Now we can see that it seems quite likely that the four teams qualifying for the Champions League next season from the Premier League will be Arsenal, Manchester City, Newcastle United and Manchester United.   Which means that three of this season’s Champions League teams from the Premier League (Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur) will be losing out on Champions League football in 2023/24.

While that won’t matter financially to Chelsea and Liverpool who seem to have the ability to spend whatever they want without the FFP watchers ever getting excited,  Tottenham look to have a tougher time ahead, what with them losing a lot of senior staff at the same time and having the mortgage to pay.

We might also note that if next season’s Champions League participants is as I suggest above, it would be the first time this century that only one of the top four from one season makes it back into the Champions League for the next season.  And yet none of the media have seen this coming.  Which if they were doing their job properly would be decidedly odd. 

Tottenham are the only one of the Champions League teams from last season, other than Manchester City, who look even slightly close to qualification, but their current points total shows them six points behind Manchester United, with Tottenham having played two games more.  Indeed both Liverpool and Brighton could overtake Tottenham into fifth, although neither look to have any chance of making the top four.   This is last season’s top four with their current league positions shown in the last column.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts Current pos
1 Manchester City 38 29 6 3 99 26 73 93 2
2 Liverpool 38 28 8 2 94 26 68 92 7
3 Chelsea 38 21 11 6 76 33 43 74 12
4 Tottenham Hotspur 38 22 5 11 69 40 29 71 5


And not only has the old rule about those in the top four staying in the top four been broken wholesale this year, it has taken all the journalists by surprise.   So much so that the Athletic is reduced to saying, in one headline “How far has this season fallen below expectations?”

Notice how the approach now is not, “How on earth did we the journalists all get it so wrong in failing to see what was coming?” but rather, “how did the clubs get it wrong?”  It’s their fault not ours!!!

There is also the rather interesting comment that, “The drop-off [by some of the major clubs] has been alarming,” as if the concept of change is itself somehow desperately worrying.   And when one comes to think of it, that is right – it is worrying for journalists.   Journalists like solidarity and continuity so that they can simply phone up their old mates and get a regular quick thought about what is going on, and leave it at that.  Indeed I think football journalists would love the Premier League to be like the Scottish League where you pretty much know the winner and second team, before the season starts.  Certainly makes life easier for those lunching with a pint or two.

As it is, it has been a shock for those who simply take football journalists at their word, for the season started with journalists salivating over the continuity of the old guard at the top.   When Liverpool beat Manchester City in the Community Shield the Observer newspaper for example said, “As an augury of the 2022-23 season Liverpool will be the happier as Jürgen Klopp’s side already appear a slick team ready for serious combat.  Manchester City do not.”

In retrospect, the comment, “Oh dear,” seems about the most appropriate that one can make.

Now the trick of the journalist looking back is of course to deny that he or she ever said anything of the kind – an approach which itself is based on the notion that football supporters are people of very little brain.  So the Athletic’s commentary on where it all went wrong says, “Rewind to last July when Liverpool beat Manchester City in the Community Shield and their supporters were expecting them to be serious contenders for the Premier League title once again.”

Ah yes, so it was “their supporters” who were expecting, not “us journalists who are paid good money to write this stuff and do proper research, were expecting”.   And that one comment excuses the journalists from explaining how on earth they got this season as wrong as they have done, and also explains why there have been no apologies.

The conclusion to this little series about the gross incompetence of football journalism this season, will appear in the next article.


One Reply to “So why did all the predictions of this season go so wrong?”

  1. “How far has this season fallen below expectations?”
    Whose expectations? The lazy, incompetent, sometime corrupt (the perks are a joke, seats,food and drink, transport, etc) journos I think. Although they pretend to speak for the fan they rarely do. There may have been a time when they were the “voice of the people” but that’s so far in the past very few of us can remember. They have their own agenda and self-fulfilling prophesies. Who exactly listens to them anymore?

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