What WSC contributors got right and wrong
2 August ~ Manchester United were tipped as the Premier League champions by WSC contributors at this time last year, ahead of Manchester City. In the end it was City who claimed the title on the last day of the season. The finish will have been something of a shock for Ian Farrell, our City fan, who was "confident that we'll make the top four again" but didn't look further than that. He went on to suggest that "a lot depends on who plays the Carlos Tévez role". Controversy followed Tévez around for the entire season, though he only made 14 appearances and scored four goals.
It was another player from Argentina, Sergio Agüero, who shone. He scored 30 goals in 48 appearances, including the last-minute winner that sealed the title for City. The finish to the season will have disappointed Joyce Woolridge, who was hoping her "Manchester 'not all that good really' United" could "draw their way to a 20th League title." It wasn't to be and they missed out on goal difference.
Chelsea fan David Hearn was right to be cautious when he said that "after what happened last season and the appointment of a relatively untried manager, I hope we secure a top-three finish in a transitional season." Transitional it was, with André Villas-Boas departing and Roberto di Matteo taking charge in March. It was too late to save their league campaign, where they finished sixth, but Chelsea still managed to win the FA Cup and Champions League.
Liverpool were predicted to finish fifth but had a worse season than most expected. The Anfield side eventually ended in eighth, four points below Everton. It will have been a disappointment to Seb Patrick, who questioned his team's recruitment policy but was hoping to get back into Europe. His wish for "a nice quiet season with no trauma" went unheeded by Luis Suárez and Kenny Dalglish.
Norwich and Swansea were picked out as relegation fodder by almost all the contributors, and their own fans weren't too optimistic. Dan Thompson predicted Norwich would do "brilliantly, but not brilliantly enough", while Swansea fan Huw Richards suggested that "staying up would be a real achievement".
In the end both sides finished comfortably mid-table and drew many plaudits for their performances. So much so that both lost their managers at the end of the season. That will have disappointed Huw, who thought that Swansea retaining Brendan Rodgers, along with their playing style and financial sense, was as important as remaining in the Premier League.
Nobody expected Bolton Wanderers to be relegated. Our prediction league had them in 11th position and Chris Manning thought the replacements for Johan Elmander and Gary Cahill would be the difference between bottom and top-half finishes. In the end Bolton didn't lose Cahill until January, but were relegated by a single point anyway.
Below them were Blackburn, which Bruce Wilkinson saw coming. "Without hefty investment the coming season will be just as difficult as the last one," he said, "with relegation a distinct possibility." The investment never came amid season-long protests against Venky's and manager Steve Kean at Ewood Park.
Glen Baldwin's cautious optimism at Wolves' chances proved to be misplaced. "With a decent start and a following wind, I can see us creeping up to mid-table safety," he wrote. There was a decent start – seven points from their first three games – but the momentum didn't continue and Wolves were rooted to the bottom of the league from mid-March onwards.