Some did better than others...

Premier League pundits’ 2023-24 predictions revisited – including the one that got Aston Villa right

Now as traditional as the Community Shield in acting as the curtain-raiser to a new season of football, top pundits such as Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards sticking their neck on the line and giving their predictions is an indelible part of the football calendar. Pencil it in for early August.

The vast majority of pundits correctly called that Manchester City would retain their Premier League crown, but we’re not giving them much credit for that. What about the shocks of the season – like Aston Villa finishing in the top four and Manchester United plummetting down to their worst-ever Premier League finish?

We won’t let them forget. So without further ado, here are eight prominent pundits’ 2023-24 pre-season predictions revisited.

Gary Neville

“I don’t think Arsenal could have done any more to close the gap,” Neville told The Overlap back in August.

“They’ve shown real intent with the signings they’ve made. My concern is they are the only team that I look at and think that actually could actually win the league. They obviously fell short last season, but with the three signings they’ve made, they’re going to be better.

“I look at the other teams and think, ‘who is going to be better than last season?’. Chelsea will be naturally better because of the fact the manager [Mauricio Pochettino] has come in – and they couldn’t get any worse. They’re going to be better just naturally.

“I don’t look at Liverpool at the moment and think, ‘wow they’re going to be challenging for the league’, I don’t look at United with what they’ve done so far. So unless United, Liverpool or Chelsea do something miraculous in the next few weeks in the transfer window, Arsenal are for me are the only team that could challenge City at this moment in time.

“And I think they could get very close to them, but I still would go City, just.”

To be fair, that couldn’t be more bang on. But he loses points by contradicting himself, earlier stating: “I am going to go for Arsenal to win the league. I’m going for Manchester City second, then Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Aston Villa.”

Jamie Carragher

“I’m going for Manchester City, then Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham,” Carragher said, speaking at the same event.

“When I looked at City in the Shield as well, there’s been a myth around them that they have a massive squad – they’ve never had a massive squad, always 15 or 16 players who are top class. They always have a few kids on the bench as well. If they have a few injuries, how would they cope with that?

“Arsenal look a lot stronger, as do Chelsea and Liverpool. But – it’s Pep Guardiola, he’s set the bar that high, and his teams never really get lower than 90 points. It’s a big ask for anyone.”

Man City’s final points tally? 91. Arsenal’s? 89. Spooky.

Micah Richards

“Man City’s squad is still better than everyone else’s. They won’t win the Treble again, but they will win the Premier League,” Richards told the BBC.

“I was close to picking Arsenal to win the title, because no team has ever won it four years in a row, but they are without Gabriel Jesus at the start of the season and I think that is just going to kill them.”

READ NEXT: A club-by-club breakdown of the 2023-24 Premier League prize money

TRY A QUIZ: Premier League Quiz: How well do you know the 2023-24 season?

Michael Owen

Not a bad effort.

Roy Keane

“I just think it’s so hard to see beyond Man City,” Keane told Sky Sports after the opening weekend of the season.

“Again, I’ve said before, unless they really drop off and get really bad injuries and lose that hunger, then I think the other teams have a chance.

“United will be top four, Arsenal have improved, look at Newcastle. Aston Villa will respond well to it [losing to Newcastle], obviously Liverpool and Chelsea, for a lot of them teams it’s about being top four and that’s the same for United.”

Martin Keown

“I still think City will be too strong for Arsenal to overcome but I see the Gunners finishing a close second,” the former Arsenal defender told the BBC.

READ: Comparing Arsenal’s 2023-24 Premier League record to the legendary Invincibles of 2003-04: Points, Goals…

Robbie Savage

The former Wales international predicted where all 20 teams would finish on the eve of the season, writing in The Mirror.

He predicted Man City to retain their title, Manchester United to finish 2nd, Arsenal to finish 3rd, Chelsea to finish 4th, Liverpool to finish 5th, Newcastle to finish 6th, Aston Villa to finish 7th and Tottenham to finish 9th.

Savage also predicted Wolves, Sheffield United and Luton would finish 18th, 19th and 20th respectively.

On Liverpool, he wrote: “To lose Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Fabinho in one window is a lot of experience leaving the building. I’m excited by Jurgen Klopp’s refit in midfield, but it may need time to gel.”

On Arsenal, he wrote: “Declan Rice, Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz are fantastic additions to the squad, and the Gunners over-achieved massively by leading the title race for 248 days last season. But they couldn’t quite sustain it, and their best chance of being champions again may have gone.”

Stephen Warnock (and assorted BBC pundits)

Last August, the BBC asked 27 pundits to predict the top four come the end of the season.

Only Stephen Warnock got the correct four teams, and he got them in the right order – Man City champions, Arsenal runners-up, Liverpool third and Aston Villa claiming the last Champions League spot.

“I’ve been out in the United States covering the Summer Series and I was lucky enough to go down and watch Villa train and speak to Emery,” Warnock explained of what he saw in Villa.

“When you see what he’s about and how he works, it’s very impressive. Looking at that, and the form they were in under him last season, I think they might sneak in.”

Ellen White was the only other pundit to predict Villa would make the top four, but she also predicted Arsenal to win the league and Manchester United to finish third.

She was the only pundit not to predict Man City end up as champions, while the vast majority correctly predicted Arsenal would finish 2nd.

Pat Nevin, Shay Given and Danny Gabbidon were the only pundits to correctly predict that Manchester United would finish outside the top four.

Nevin, Given, Chris Waddle, Rachel Brown-Finnis and Lindsay Johnson all incorrectly tipped Newcastle to retain their spot in the top four.