Seven pre-season predictions made to look silly: Aguero, Fulham, Ronaldo…
It’s an unquestionable fact of life that we all talk absolute sh*te about football.
On this website, we try to keep our noses clean by not actually publishing our own predictions, instead opting to just be snide b*stards and sneer at those of much braver people than us.
So we’ve taken a look back at seven calls from the start of the season which were considered perceived wisdom in many corners but ended up looking a bit daft.
Sergio Aguero is ready to make way to Gabriel Jesus
At the time, Jesus scoring a 94th-minute winner in Manchester City’s final game of the 2017-18 campaign as Pep Guardiola’s side brought up 100 points appeared symbolic.
Guardiola had given Aguero some tough love throughout the campaign, while Jesus had scored 13 goals in his first full Premier League campaign, starting half City’s matches. A changing of the guard is inevitable at City over the coming seasons, and Jesus taking Aguero’s mantle appeared one of the logical first steps.
Aguero, however, had other ideas. Thirty-one goals in all competitions has seen the striker pass the 30+ mark for the fourth time in five years – he fell one short in 2015-16.
Jesus, on the other hand, has struggled for form and consistency, yet the 22-year-old has still bagged 21 goals in all competitions – bettering last season’s tally of 17, which seems mental.
Either way, Aguero is still The F*cking Man in Manchester.
Fulham will be great
We’re not quite sure how Fulham managed to get promoted with such an impressive, talented side, spent a sh*tload of money on even more talented players, and get far, far worse than the team they already had.
Both Wolves and Fulham were tipped for big things this season. As it transpired, only one of them had a coherent plan.
Cardiff will get a record low points total
If expectations were incredibly high at Fulham, the opposite was true of Cardiff City – at least from the outside looking in.
There were plenty of predictions that Cardiff could ‘break’ Derby County’s record low points tally of 11 from the 2007-08. Given they’ve played a full-back up front for most of the season, you can kind of understand why.
Yet Neil Warnock’s side didn’t disgrace themselves and made a pretty good fist of battling against relegation.
And Colin was more than happy to remind the doubters of their pre-season pessimism – especially Chris Sutton.
“At least we’ve nearly got three times the amount of points he said we’d get!” Warnock told BBC Radio 5Live in April. “We’re onto 31 at the minute, I think he said 11 points would be our best target, but hey you’ve got to make a living saying something haven’t you!”
Cristiano Ronaldo will win Juve the CL
Given their domestic dominance over the past decade, the Champions League is a glaring omission from Juventus’ trophy cabinet in recent years.
And so their proposed remedy to their woes in the competition was simple: spend lots and lots of money to sign the master of the tournament, even if it risked alienating the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala.
At one stage it even looked like it might work. Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Atletico Madrid in the round of 16 inspired a remarkable turnaround from 2-0 down against Diego Simeone’s watertight defence, setting up what looked like a favourable tie against Ajax in the quarter-final.
Ronaldo scored a crucial away goal in the first leg and seemed to be firing Juve to the semi-finals by opening the scoring in Turin.
We don’t need to tell you what happened next.
Watford will be anything other than Watford
For such a transient group of players and managers, Watford as a whole have been consistent in their achievements since returning to the Premier League four years ago.
That doesn’t stop them being picked as relegation candidates at the start of every season, and that was again the case this year.
Even though Javi Gracia was the first Hornets manager to start a campaign having finished the previous season in charge for the first time since Beppe Sannino in 2013, Watford were expected to struggle.
Indeed, over at our good friends Football365, four of seven writers picked Gracia’s men to be relegated.
Yet, true to form, Watford have been comfortable in the top flight, played some excellent football at times and even made the FA Cup final.
Now watch them go and get related next season…
Money matters in the Championship
Every season we are told that the Championship gets a harder and harder division to get out of, mainly due to the number of clubs entering the competition buoyed by parachute payments having been relegated from the Premier League.
But it often goes overlooked that clubs get relegated from the Premier League because they are sh*tshows.
Hull, Middlesbrough and Sunderland all cocked up their attempted returns to the top flight last season, and Swansea, Stoke and West Brom have all had nervous breakdowns to varying degrees this term – with the latter two in particular spending big alongside a number of other clubs.
Instead, the teams to have so far secured promotion in Norwich City and Sheffield United have been masterminded by two managers who have squeezed every last drop out of their players’ talent in Daniel Farke and Chris Wilder.
As Johan Cruyff once said: “Why couldn’t you beat a richer club? I’ve never seen a bag of money score a goal.”
Sam Allardyce will save a club
A whole season has passed by without a club raising the Big Sam Signal, which we presume is a hologram of a pint of wine, and we can’t quite believe it.