THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

What WSC contributors got right and wrong

icon premb3 July ~ "I was over-confident last season, so I will temper my expectations to the upper-end of the top three.” As it happened, Chelsea fan David Hearn needn't have worried, as the Blues romped to the Premier League title by eight points, and a spot above their predicted second-place finish.

Manchester City supporter Ian Farrell was right in thinking that keeping "Sergio Agüero and Yaya Touré fit and focused" could have a huge impact on pushing his team to the title. Unfortunately for City, Manuel Pellegrini saw Agüero struggle with injuries and Touré struggle to get out of first gear as they surrendered their title.
 
Arsenal and Manchester United also swapped places in the top four compared to predicted league positions, though both Arsenal fan Jon Spurling and United's Joyce Woolridge will have been satisfied to finish among the Champions League places. Jon will be the happier of the two as Arsenal secured an FA Cup to satisfy his desire for a "decent cup run".

2014-15 PL PREDOur Premier League contributors were kind to Southampton, placing them 11th in a season that many pundits had predicted would see them struggle to stay up. The optimism of fan Tim Springett was rewarded, however, and his view that "another top-half finish should be achievable" behind a "new manager to bring in players whom he knows and to shape the squad his way" proved on the money as the Saints exceeded expectations and finished in seventh, sustaining a challenge for the Champions League places until the final few months.

In a situation much the reverse, a season that might have seen Everton push for Champions League contention was derailed by defeats to Stoke, Newcastle and Hull as they slumped to 11th. Mark O'Brien was right in thinking Everton would "do OK", but they achieved little else.

In Wales, Huw Richards’ anxiety about Swansea City was misplaced. Hoping only for survival, his team secured eighth place under Garry Monk, doing the double over Arsenal and never losing more than two games in a row, defying a prediction of 15th in the process.

Both marked for relegation, West Brom and Leicester ended up finishing comfortably clear in 13th and 14th. Managerial changes were not as frequent this season, with seven compared to last year’s 13, though West Brom supporter James Baxter was right to predict Alan Irvine would be sacked "somewhere along the way" of his sides journey to safety. The Scotsman faced the axe in late December, having won only four of his 19 games in charge.

One man who justified keeping his job was Nigel Pearson. His team looked like relegation certainties until seven wins in their final nine games made them safe, though he was sacked over summer.

Down the bottom of the table, few predicted Hull would be consigned to relegation, although Matthew Rudd acknowledged the possibility that his team would eventually wind up in the bottom three, saying the Tigers could finish "anywhere from ninth to 20th.

"I see a lot of average sides in the Premier League," noted Kevin Clarke as he justified his 14th-place prediction for Burnley, but the Clarets lack of Premier League quality told, finishing just one place above where his fellow Premier League contributors placed them in 19th. Tom Lewis

2014-15 PL ACTUAL

The WSC 2015-16 Season Preview will be in shops on Thursday, August 6

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