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Premier League predictions: High on Chelsea, low on Aston Villa

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Steve Bardens

The Premier League season is just three days away, and the Cartilage Free Captain staff came up with a totally scientific way to predict what's going to happen. We got everyone on the masthead to vote on where everyone's going to finish, threw it in a spreadsheet and told it to spit some numbers at us. This is what we got.

The contenders

1. Chelsea

2. Manchester City

And then there's a huge dropoff. There were writers who picked each to win the title, but no one placed Chelsea or City lower than No. 2. The CFC staff believes that there will be a two-team title race this season.

Champions League is likely

3. Manchester United

4. Arsenal

These two teams were extremely close and ended up with an average lower than four, but higher than 3.5. In only one instance was either of these teams picked to finish outside the top five -- Brett Rainbow has picked Manchester United to finish 7th. Even with that, their average was better than Arsenal's. It turns out our writers have a lot of faith in Louis van Gaal.

Minimal dissent

5. Liverpool

6. Tottenham Hotspur

7. Everton

8. Newcastle

9. Stoke

The variation in votes for these teams was minimal. Ryan Rosenblatt thinks Newcastle are bottom-half, Bryan A. thinks they're better than Everton and the rest of the staff has them 8th or 9th. No one picked Liverpool to finish higher than 3rd or lower than 7th. Only two writers picked Spurs to finish 4th -- Brett and Dominic Wood.

However, most surprising in this group is how confident our writers are in Stoke's ability to stay completely out of a relegation fight. The gap in average from them to 10th place is more than two full places.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

10. Swansea

11. Crystal Palace

12. Southampton

13. Hull City

14. Sunderland

15. West Ham

We have little to no idea what to make of this group. They're all separated by just over a spot on average. 10th-placed Swansea have an average placement of 12.6, but 15th-placed West Ham have an average of 13.8. We think these six teams are likely to avoid the drop, but not come close to competing for Europa League. However, two writers voted for West Ham to be relegated, while one voted for Sunderland to go down.

Avoiding the drop

16. West Brom

17. Aston Villa

We like these teams to stay above water, but not by much. West Brom has three votes to get relegated, while Villa was a team that we disagreed on widely. Even though six writers picked them to be relegated, the writers who didn't think they'd go down voted them high enough to keep them out of the bottom three.

Say hi to the Championship ... again

18. Leicester

19. QPR

20. Burnley

While it was far from unanimous, our writers like the three promoted teams to go down again. This is not necessarily because the writers have no faith in them, but mostly because there's a variation in which teams are liked by CFC staff. All got quite a few votes to stay up except for Burnley, who were relegated by all but two writers. Bryan and Brett like them to stay up.

Minimal deviation

Chelsea, Everton, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle

The standard deviation for voting on these six teams was less than one place. We had the biggest consensus on Chelsea, with a standard deviation of just 0.45.

Wide deviation

West Brom, Hull, Crystal Palace, West Ham

These are the teams that produced quite a bit of dissent among the voters. All four of these teams had a standard deviation of 3 or more, with West Ham evoking the biggest disagreement with a whopping standard deviation of 3.6. Four voters placed West Ham in the top half of the table, in contrast to the two that sent them down. Palace were voted as high as 8th and as low as 19th.