The views of WSC contributors
29 July ~ Manchester City were tipped to retain their title by WSC contributors previewing the 2012-13 season, though Manchester United were expected to run them close. City fan Ian Farrell wondered whether his team would be "toughened by experience or weakened by lack of hunger" before leaning to the side of optimism and predicting it would be their season again. City couldn't keep pace and ended up 11 points behind their rivals from Old Trafford, a finish that ended up costing Roberto Mancini his job.
Manchester United fan Joyce Woolridge expected her club to be "in the mix" but in the end they overcame "the usual extensive injury list, ongoing hair transplants, Twitter-related exhaustion and the improbable refinancing schemes of our owners" to win the Premier League in Alex Ferguson's final season.
The rest of the top five were as predicted, with Chelsea finishing in third – though David Hearn was "hopeful of top two" before the Roberto di Matteo sacking and the appointment of Rafa Benítez – while Arsenal took the fourth expected by Jon Spurling. They were a point ahead of Tottenham, who tested Matt Stone's assertion that "coming fifth and playing passing football would be fine for most Spurs fans".
Newcastle and Sunderland both suffered disappointing seasons. Expected to finish seventh and ninth respectively they ended up just outside the relegation zone – something that will have been a particular frustration to Mark Brophy, who felt that Newcastle's fifth place and qualification for Europe the previous year "didn't seem like a fluke".
Two of the three teams predicted to go down at the start of the season – Wigan Athletic and Reading – did. Though that may have come as a surprise to Paul Middleton, who hoped Wigan would finish upper-mid table but felt 13th was more realistic. The blow of their relegation may have been softened by their victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final. Reading fan Roger Titford said he had been "guilty of under-estimating Brian McDermott in the past" before hoping for safety with a game to spare. McDermott ended up sacked as Reading finished 11 points from safety.
Southampton were expected to take the final relegation place by outsiders but after a change of manager ended the season in 14th, switching places with QPR from our prediction table. Anthony Hobbs will have been surprised by his club's relegation: "We're signing players of real quality we should not be able to afford," he said. "Mid-table could be a realistic target." They didn't win until December and the arrival of Harry Redknapp made little difference as QPR ended the season bottom of the league.
The WSC 2013-14 Season Guide will be in shops on August 1