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Reviewing the Cartilage Free Captain pre-season table predictions

Overall: not too bad, everyone!

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Nine months ago, the writers at Cartilage Free Captain put our collective heads together and gave what we thought were perfectly reasonable, well-thought-out predictions for the 2016-17 Premier League table. And then we opened it up to all of you for your picks.

Well, we were all wrong.

Well, okay, actually neither group was THAT wrong, and actually most picks were pretty close. Predicting the table is hard, and since we’re now at the end of the season, it’s probably worth a look back to see what we got right and where we were hilariously off-base.

First, here’s the actual final table.

2016-17 Premier League Table (Final)

# Team W D L GD PTS
# Team W D L GD PTS
1 Chelsea 30 3 5 52 93
2 Tottenham 26 8 4 60 86
3 Man. City 23 9 6 41 78
4 Liverpool 22 10 6 36 76
5 Arsenal 23 6 9 33 75
6 Man Utd 18 15 5 25 69
7 Everton 17 10 11 18 61
8 Southampton 12 10 16 -7 46
9 Bournemouth 12 10 16 -12 46
10 West Brom 12 9 17 -8 45
11 West Ham 12 9 17 -17 45
12 Leicester City F.C. 12 8 18 -15 44
13 Stoke City F.C. 11 11 16 -15 44
14 Crystal Palace 12 5 21 -13 41
15 Swansea City A.F.C. 12 5 21 -25 41
16 Burnley F.C. 11 7 20 -16 40
17 Watford 11 7 20 -28 40
18 Hull City Tigers 9 7 22 -43 34
19 Middlesbrough 5 13 20 -26 28
20 Sunderland 6 6 26 -40 24

Since I don’t want to clutter up this article too much, instead of recreating the tables of the masthead and community ratings, instead I’ll just refer you to the previous article from August (also linked in the first paragraph).

Well, well, well. So what kind of conclusions can we draw from this?

We’re all disappointed in Pep.

If there’s one thing the masthead and the commentariat has in common, it’s this: we all thought Manchester City would win the Premier League. And they didn’t, not even close. For whatever reason -- probably some combination of an aging City squad combined with not really figuring out what the hell Pep was doing — City underachieved, finishing third by some distance. That’s not a BAD finish by any means — just well below what pretty much everyone expected.

The commentariat nailed Tottenham’s & Arsenal’s finish.

Look, let’s be honest: the Carty-Free writing staff are all Spurs fans, but as we noted in the original article, we’re also rather more pessimistic than your typical commentariat member. So while we thought Spurs would improve on last year’s squad, we saw the amount of money and improvement the teams around Tottenham were making and predicted a backslide.

Likewise, I kinda-sorta doubted y’all when you predicted that Arsenal, who finished second last year and didn’t lose anyone of significance, would finish in fifth. Welp. Congratulations, commentariat. Your rampant optimism carried the day.

We were all pretty close on the relegation race.

With the exception of West Brom, who under Tony Pulis finished a surprising 10th in the table this season, all of the teams we thought would be bad were, in fact, bad. While nobody nailed all three relegated teams, the fact that Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Watford, and Hull were all right there at the bottom is a pretty good indication that we all knew they would struggle.

West Brom, West Ham, and Everton surprised everyone.

Among the teams with the biggest variance between predicted finish and actual finish were West Bromwich Albion and Everton. Both masthead and commentariat picked West Brom to be among the relegation fodder, but T*ny P*l*s led them to a respectable tenth place this season. Everton finished a comfortable seventh place — well behind the Champions League pack but better than the mid table, even with all the drama surrounding Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley. Continuing our “Ronald Koeman is a fraud” theory, the masthead had them finishing 11th; the Commentariat ninth.

And then there’s West Ham, who stabilized things late but looked for a while like they might be in trouble. They finished 11th, lower than either the masthead (7th) or commentariat (9th) predicted.

Conclusion: not too shabby!

Nobody picks a perfect table, but in broad strokes neither the masthead nor the commentariat were too far off. Chelsea and Liverpool were a little better than expected, City and Arsenal a little worse. Our predicted mid-table teams were all pretty much mid-table. Overall, there were very few things that were hilariously wrong, and in the that’s pretty good, y’all. Pat yourselves on the back!