By Tony Attwood
During the summer we undertook a review of the various blogs and newspaper websites that were making predictions for the top four places in the league by the end of the season. To a man and woman the predictors went for the same top four this season as last
- Manchester City
- Tottenham Hotspur
even though, as we pointed out several times, never in the history of the Premier League had the top four of one season been repeated en masse for the following season. And at the moment it looks like history holds sway. It probably won’t be the same top four as last time.
Our view of course was different, predicting Arsenal to go into the top four, not least on the balance of evidence from how the last season went after the first three games when the new players were bedding in, and Arsenal was suffering from a number of players going down with illness. No respite was allowed by the league due to the cases of illness, although later in the season Liverpool were granted just such respite, even when it turned out that most of the alleged cases of illness were not illness at all, but false positives on a covid test. Something which, incidentally, had not happened on that scale anywhere in the country either before or since.
So as we approach the start of the Europa campaign let’s just pause and see how things have been going for the four teams who got those places in the Champions League…
England are incidentally one of only four countries that is entitled to have four teams in the Champions League (Germany, Italy and Spain are the others).
In round one, two of the English teams won but Liverpool and Chelsea both lost. Liverpool heavily and Chelsea sacked their manager. It’s not really what we are used to, and certainly not at a time when, according to all the pundits, Liverpool and Chelsea will retain their top four places by the end of the season.
Chelsea are currently sixth in the league, five points off the top and Liverpool seventh, six points off the top.
Of course, it can all change around very quickly, and nothing is won after six games, no more than it is lost after the first match in the Champions League, but I find it interesting that not one single pundit foresaw even the slightest of wobbles for either Liverpool or Chelsea. It really makes one wonder what the point is of all these pundits and experts who occupy so much time and space on TV, radio, newspapers and websites, when none of them can make an accurate forecast of the difficulties of Liverpool or Chelsea this season.
One may argue that such things are impossible to foresee, but then in that case, why have pundits and prognosticators at all? Why not focus on evidence from the past rather than predictions for the future?
On the evidence from the past, Arsenal, top of the Premier League, should easily beat FC Zurich who on the evidence of the past are one from bottom.
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Arsenal are top, and still have the same manager although last season we got headlines such as Sports Mole with “Mikel Arteta could be sacked if Arsenal miss out on top four”
And here is one that really made us chuckle, this from the Express. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta tipped to be first Premier League manager sacked next season
Nothing about Chelsea sacking their manager, nothing about Arsenal rising to the top. And yet all these pundits and journalists who write all this gibberish are still out there, still telling us about what will happen, and never once do they apologise for getting it continuously wrong.
The fact is these commentators just don’t bother to check facts, don’t bother to think for themselves, and most certainly don’t bother to apologise.
I’m reminded of the infamous occasion in which Lord Sugar suggested that all the commentators on the women’s game were women, and Ian Wright really went for him, pointing out that he was working with the BBC commentating on the women’s game. Sugar then made himself look even more stupid than he actually is (which is pretty difficult) by claiming the credit for Wright having got his commentating job, which of course was nonsense.
But it’s football. That’s how it goes. Who cares about reality?
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