Last year we predicted six league winners correctly. Can we do it again.

By Tony Attwood

Last year on 4 August we published Andrew’s analysis of European football which showed the correlation between winning the league and having the most valuable squad in the league.

Following this Untold predicted who would win six European leagues, and we got them right.  Those leagues were the Premier League in England, and the top leagues in Scotland, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.

Now I admit it was a bit of a close run thing in Germany, but still we got all six right.

There were some comments that what we were doing was hardly difficult – and indeed in many ways that was the point.  It was not difficult.

But my point in running this piece was that it really ought to be much more difficult if football is to retain its attraction.  Being able to predict six European leagues and get them right is bad enough.  But there is every chance we can do it again.

Indeed when Leagues get to the point that they are set up in such a way that a group of amateurs who watch football for fun, can simply predict the winning club of six leagues at the start of the season, surely that suggests that the leagues are in trouble.

Now in response to this, some people suggested that this was how it had always been, but I beg to differ.  Figures from the EFS website do show five clubs occupying the top three slots in the league across three time frames: Liverpool get in there once, as do Manchester City. Chelsea and Manchester United get in the charts twice, and Arsenal are the only club to be listed in the top three in all three time settings.  Meaning Arsenal’s position at the top table really is established and secured across time.

Period Top club Second placed Third placed
All time Liverpool Manchester United Arsenal
Last 10 years Chelsea Manchester United Arsenal
Last 5 years Manchester City Arsenal Chelsea


It is an interesting calculation given that the whole premise of the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal movement is that we are going backwards!  But in the last five years we have got the second most points.  (Although if I may add before anyone else does, points are not a trophy.)

These calculations are based on the number of points gained in the top division during the period, not the number of trophies, and of course some people will want to count trophies nothing else.

So let’s do that:

Club League titles Last title FA Cup wins Last FA Cup Total major domestic trophies
1* Manchester United 20 2012-13 12 2016 32
2 Liverpool 18 1989-90 7 2006 25
3* Arsenal 13 2003-04 13 2017 26
4 Everton 9 1986-87 5 1995 14
5 Aston Villa 7 1980-81 7 1957 14
6 Sunderland 6 1935-36 2 1973 8
7* Chelsea 6 2016-17 8 2018 14
8* Manchester City 5 2017-18 6 2019 11
9 Newcastle United 4 1926-27 6 1955 10
10 Sheffield Wednesday 4 1929-30 3 1935 7
11 Leeds United 3 1991-92 1 1972 4
12 Wolverhampton 3 1958-59 4 1960 7
13 Huddersfield Town 3 1925-26 1 1922 4
14 Blackburn Rovers 3 1994-95 6 1928 9
15 Preston North End 2 1889-90 2 1938 4
16 Tottenham Hotspur 2 1960-61 8 1991 10

Arsenal stand second for major domestic trophies across time.  But also we must note that quite a few teams in this list have not won anything in the 21st century, which given that we have had 20 seasons concluded in this century, is quite a long time.

Tottenham are the most notable here, having won neither major domestic trophy since 1991.  Liverpool are not quite so far off the pace having last won the league in 1990 (it will be the 30th anniversary of that if they don’t win it this year) and the FA Cup since 2006.

In fact only four teams have won the league this century, which is perhaps a lower number than many people think.

So maybe we are now quite as competitive as we like to think.

Anyway, to repeat last year’s successful run of winners in six leagues across Europe, and to emphasise my view that things are now rather stuck and not going anywhere, I am going to suggest that the same teams as won the league last year will win it again this year.

  • England: Manchester City
  • Scotland: Celtic
  • France: PSG
  • Spain: Barcelona
  • Germany: Bayern Munich
  • Italy: Juventus.

Real Madrid have had a net spent of £162m this summer – and it may go up further and so could challenge Barcelona.  Inter have a net spend of  £103m.  These two could pose a challenge in their respective leagues.  But otherwise I suspect more of the same.

10 Replies to “Last year we predicted six league winners correctly. Can we do it again.”

  1. Tony, you wrote
    “In fact only four teams have won the league this century, which is perhaps a lower number than many people think.”

    If my memory serves me right, there are rather 5 teams instead of the 4 you mentioned.
    Man Utd
    Man City
    Leicester City

    I’d say I’m surprised Arsenal are among the top 3 in points tally in the last 5 years given that we’ve been outside the top 4 in the last 3 years.

  2. It’s hard to criticize some premises if your own data is not correct. League point calculation for last 5 years:

    Man City 421
    Chelsea 372
    Liverpool 370
    Tottenham 368
    Arsenal 354
    Ma U 352

  3. “It is an interesting calculation given that the whole premise of the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal movement is that we are going backwards!”

    The entire premise of our ‘decline’ is based on the fact that for 10 years we were top 2, then for 10 years top 4, now for 3 years out of the top 4.

    So yes, taken literally and without taking account of external circumstances and/or using context, you can certainly say we have declined.

    But to not use context, or to take into account the massive changes in the football landscape would be, and is, utterly misleading.

    Firstly Wenger achieved our top 2 status on the back of:

    -His vision of how football should be played.

    -Of how players should train and behave.

    -By using his knowledge of a largely untapped pool of talent across Europe.

    All this took Arsenal ahead of all but Manchester United who not only had one of the best managers in the World but also had a Global Marketing operation beyond anybody else in the World, giving Ferguson almost unlimited funds. If not unlimited they were vastly superior to ours and gave Sir Alex first pick of almost any player he wanted.

    Secondly our decline from top 2 to top 4 was on the back of 2 massive changes.

    1 – Our financial commitment to building the Emirates Stadium.

    2 – The arrival of RA, or rather his Billions at Chelsea, followed by an even bigger windfall at Manchester City.

    This not only ham strung us with regards to available funds for transfers, it also put us down to 3rd then 4th in the pecking order of players preferred destination in the PL, and as well as that it made it difficult for us to keep the great players we did have.

    If people choose to believe we actually had £30 to £50 Million (Nett) to spend a year on players, a la Manchester United, Chelsea and City then you must believe in money trees because it is simply an unsustainable claim.

    We then loosened the purse strings a bit and immediately won 3 FA Cups in 4 years, a similar trophy haul to what Spurs have achieved in 35 years. We also managed a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th placed finish. Hardly a decline.

    So as far as I can see the only real term ‘decline’ has been since 2016/17 and even then we only missed the top 4 by a single point and of course we did win the FA Cup, so hardly a dramatic ‘decline’ really was it?

    And then we had the one season, 2017/18, that can really be called a ‘decline’ where we finished 6th and didn’t win a trophy.

    And even that seasons downfall can be put down to one thing, our away form. Why that should so suddenly of taken such a massive decline is a quandary that even Wenger was struggling to address. Maybe given time he would of done, maybe not, we shall never know.

    Either way, in my opinion it was hardly a reason to hound the man that gave us all that success out of a job, but there you go, it is what it is and here we are.

    Now anyone who reads my ramblings should no 2 things.

    1) I admired and supported Wenger to the end.

    Despite what others have said, I have never called him perfect, or a God.

    I have said he was a great manager, possibly our best ever, who moved our club forward in ways unimaginable to me back in the days I frequented Highbury in the 70’s and 80’s, and I believe he was critisised by the media, ex players and a section of our fans, way beyond anything he ever deserved.

    But that is just MY opinion.

    2) I am as much behind our new manager as I was our last manager. He has very large shoes to fill and it wont be easy but for me he has started with promise.

    He has his own ideas of how to play and who am I to argue.

    There are obviously some teething problems with certain aspects of what he is trying to achieve, but given the fact we have a lot of new faces, we have a few injuries and the quality of teams in the PL, last years exploits in Europe surely proving the extraordinarily high standard of the PL, he is doing okay.

    Despite Saturdays minor setback I am still very optimistic for the season ahead and I believe Emery is perfectly capable of returning us to the top 4.


  4. Nitram
    Though I agree with the first part of your post but would disagree to the last part and the faith you have in Emery that he will take us forward or even he will be able to keep us at the level which Arsene Wenger kept us for 2 decades. I will ask you a few questions on coming Sunday to have your view point on my reservations about Emery.

  5. Rosicky@Arsenal

    I have read your reservations and understand were you are comming from.

    As I said Wengers boots are big ones to fill, and it wont be easy.

    I have said a few times that if Emery even manages to match Wengers recent failings of 3 FA Cups and 3 top 4 finishes over a 4 year period, he will of done very well.

    Simply re establishing our top 4 status and a cup or 2 would be doing well in my opinion.

    But whatever he does I will back him. That’s just how I am. I honestly cant ever remember barracking a player OR manager in all my time as an Arsenal fan.

    I see Arsenal as my family. I love them unconditionally.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t think players have stinkers, or are perhaps not good enough, but whilst they pull on that shirt they will get my support.

    Similarly the manager.

    Keep the faith my friend. Try to enjoy the ride. If it doesn’t work out, well, we’ll move on to the next phase.


  6. So Tony when pgmo give you 98% accuracy figures you ask how they got at those figures, but when euro football stats ssy arsenal has been the 2nd best English team in the last 5years, you propagate without asking… Things will never change

  7. That is a bold prediction Sue and not one that I would go along with. But the simple difference is that on the Euro stats site it is obvious how the calculation is made because all the details are on the site. But PGMO has never once given us the data on which their claim has been made. It’s not that hard to work out, surely.

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