How Premier League pundits' pre-season predictions fared for dramatic 2023/24 season

Jamie Carragher did better than Gary Neville (Image: Getty)

The Premier League season has drawn to a close, which means it’s time to revisit the predictions made before the first ball was kicked last August. Unsurprisingly, Manchester City were most of the pundits’ favourite to clinch the title. However, not all their claims hit the mark, with some now appearing more misguided than others with the benefit of hindsight. It’s only right to acknowledge both the hits and misses. Here’s how some of the familiar faces fared with their pre-season predictions, including the Monday Night Football team and regulars on Match of the Day.

Gary Neville

Manchester United legend Neville bucked the trend by backing Arsenal to topple City. “I’m banking on three things. Post-treble, [City] have a little bit of a [drop off],” he explained.

“The challenges over a season when you’re competing in Super Cups, Club World Cups. They don’t have the largest squad. With Haaland, he only missed three games last season. If he were to miss 10 or 15, I think that would give Arsenal a real shot.”

None of those factors truly materialised as City clinched a record-breaking fourth consecutive title. Another prediction he got wrong was his former club securing a top-four finish.

However, Neville did predict Liverpool to make the cut and Aston Villa’s European football qualification, although he didn’t foresee their Champions League achievement. His prediction of Chelsea finishing in the top six was also spot on.

His forecast of Bournemouth being relegated alongside Luton and Sheffield United turned sour, and his tip for Andre Onana as the one to watch didn’t quite hit the mark. However, he correctly predicted Erling Haaland as the top scorer and Declan Rice as the impact signing.

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Micah Richards had mixed success with his predictions (Image: Getty Images)

Jamie Carragher

Unlike his co-pundit, Carragher accurately predicted City finishing above Arsenal. He also believed United would finish third ahead of Liverpool, and had Newcastle coming sixth behind Chelsea.

Overall, it was a largely successful set of predictions for the Liverpool legend, whose extensive knowledge of the game often proves accurate. He correctly identified the three teams to be relegated, tipped Haaland to top the scoring charts, and singled out Andoni Iraola as his one to watch – a brilliant call as he led the Cherries to a record points total of 48 and a 12th-placed finish.

However, his choice of James Maddison as the impact signing didn’t pan out as well as Neville’s, with both Maddison and Tottenham fading towards the end of the season after a promising start.

Karen Carney

Joining the MNF duo with her predictions, Carney nailed the top three perfectly. It was United again who spoiled her clean sweep of the Champions League spots.

Like fellow pundit Carragher, she predicted Newcastle would finish fifth and Chelsea sixth, though the Magpies finished a tad lower in seventh place after juggling multiple competitions early on in the season.

She accurately picked the relegated teams but her other predictions were less successful. She “wanted a different name” for top scorer and chose Mohamed Salah based on her “gut feeling”, but the Liverpool star fell short by nine goals, landing in seventh place.

Similar to Neville’s choice, she selected Onana as the impact signing of the season and named Kaoru Mitoma as the player to watch. However, an unfortunate injury saw him sidelined for much of a challenging season for Brighton.

Micah Richards

His prediction accuracy has already been brought into question this season after he incorrectly forecasted all four Champions League quarter-finals for CBS Sports last month.

Despite that gaffe, Richards’ Premier League shouts for the BBC proved more accurate. He firmly believed former club City would secure another league title.

“Their squad is still better than everyone else’s. They won’t win the Treble again, but they will win the Premier League,” he remarked, almost prophetically. His take on Arsenal was also spot on.

He added: “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.”

His prediction of the top four was scuppered by United’s lacklustre season, which showed no sign of a swift return to the Champions League.

Martin Keown

Arsenal legend Keown had similar predictions to Richards. “I still think City will be too strong for Arsenal to overcome but I see the Gunners finishing a close second,” he correctly called.

However, his forecast falls apart with him placing United in fourth spot despite highlighting their prior poor form when he said: “United lost eight away games in the league last season, compared to just one at Old Trafford. I am not sure you can change that overnight?”

He voiced concern about Liverpool seeming “off track” in the transfer market, but transfers like Wataru Endo, Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai have proven beneficial so far.

Keown also posited that Newcastle might not experience domestic impact due to the “excitement” of European football, a prediction which fell flat in actuality.

Martin Keown wasn’t on the money (Image: Allstar via Getty Images)

Robbie Savage

Savage went the whole hog and predicted his 1-20 for the Mirror. That is, in fairness, a far tougher task, but it shows when reflecting on it now.

In descending order, it seemed sound with City at the top – but Savage misplaced their Manchester rivals as the closest contenders in second, followed by Arsenal in third place and Chelsea in fourth.

He incorrectly had Liverpool fifth, with Newcastle in sixth and Aston Villa seventh, while Nottingham Forest at 11th and Burnley in 12th stood out as significant misjudgements.

Savage predicted Wolves would face relegation alongside Sheffield United and Luton, but under Gary O’Neill’s stewardship, they remained comfortably clear of danger.

Danny Murphy

Match of the Day analyst Murphy praised Erik ten Hag’s transfer dealings last summer, expressing concern for rivals given United’s strengthened squad. However, his prediction hasn’t aged well as the season progressed.

Murphy anticipated improvements in United’s away form following Onana’s arrival as goalkeeper, yet it was at Old Trafford where they picked up the most points. He also lauded Mac Allister’s move to Liverpool, a transfer that proved successful, and he accurately pinpointed Newcastle’s slim top-four prospects and their vulnerability to injuries in defence.

“The intensity and huge physicality they play with means playing that way twice a week will be hard,” Murphy said. “They have made some really good signings, don’t get me wrong, but I still think they are short of a centre-half or, ideally, two if they have any injuries there.”

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Chris Sutton

Sutton correctly predicted City’s triumph and even called the emergence of Josko Gvardiol as an attacking force, which came to fruition later in the season.

He boldly predicted: “Guardiola evolves something every year – some tweak to his tactics will emerge and another player always seems to step in and become key.”

He cautioned against “reading too much” into Arsenal’s Community Shield win and was also sceptical about Manchester United’s title prospects, but placed them third nonetheless.

His dismissal of Aston Villa’s chances for a top-four finish proved misguided. Conversely, he expressed enthusiasm for Ange Postecoglou’s first season at Tottenham, suggesting they could have clinched fourth if Harry Kane had remained; Spurs finished fifth.

Stephen Warnock

A regular on Sky Sports News, Warnock has earned significant kudos as one of only two BBC pundits to back Villa for a top-four finish, alongside England football icon Ellen White. While she favoured United for third over Liverpool, Warnock’s predictions were spot-on across the board.

Having witnessed Unai Emery’s squad in the United States Summer Series, Warnock was convinced of their potential. His insights on Ten Hag’s United were eerily accurate too.

“United were bailed out massively last season by Marcus Rashford’s incredible form after the World Cup, but he couldn’t sustain that and I am not sure they have got anyone else who can take over when he’s not in top form,” he observed.

Warnock anticipated Chelsea would improve but still miss out on the top four, and he correctly noted Liverpool’s urgent need for new signings, which they addressed later in the summer.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1901372/premier-league-Gary-neville-Jamie-carragher