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Cartilage Free Captain predicts the 2020-21 Premier League table

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It’s time to reveal the annual Carty Free table predictions!

Chelsea v Arsenal - Preview Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

The 2020-21 Premier League season starts tomorrow when Arsenal visits Fulham at Craven Cottage in the Saturday early match. So now is the perfect time to reveal the Cartilage Free Captain table predictions for this coming season.

Each year the writers at Cartilage Free Captain put their heads together to come up with the best, most sensible, and perfect Premier League table predictions known to humankind. Actually, we just all put our predictions into a spreadsheet and let it average everything out, but whatever. And then we asked the community for your rankings on that handy dandy online poll. Well, the results are in.

It’s weird this season, we know. For starters, the transfer window will be open until October 5, which means clubs can still improve their squads well after the start of the new campaign. It could mean that our predicted tables here are going to be even more hilariously inaccurate than usual. But hey, isn’t that part of the fun?

This year, the masthead rankings and community rankings are again shockingly similar. I’ll include both and then my usual Qualtrics graphics from the community rankings as a means of evaluation.

Masthead Table Predictions 2021-22

Club AVG ST/DEV Highest Lowest Title% Top4% Rel%
Club AVG ST/DEV Highest Lowest Title% Top4% Rel%
Manchester City 1.2 0.40 1 2 82% 100% 0%
Chelsea 1.8 0.40 1 2 18% 100% 0%
Manchester United 3.4 0.50 3 4 0% 100% 0%
Liverpool 3.6 0.50 3 4 0% 100% 0%
Leicester 5.5 0.52 5 6 0% 0% 0%
Tottenham 5.5 0.69 5 7 0% 0% 0%
Arsenal 7.8 0.98 7 10 0% 0% 0%
Aston Villa 9.1 1.04 7 11 0% 0% 0%
Brighton 9.2 2.18 6 13 0% 0% 0%
Leeds 9.5 1.37 8 11 0% 0% 0%
West Ham 10.1 1.97 7 13 0% 0% 0%
Everton 12.0 1.61 9 15 0% 0% 0%
Wolverhampton 12.6 0.81 12 14 0% 0% 0%
Brentford 15.0 1.26 13 17 0% 0% 0%
Southampton 15.6 1.96 12 18 0% 0% 18%
Burnley 16.2 1.66 14 18 0% 0% 36%
Crystal Palace 17.2 1.47 15 20 0% 0% 36%
Newcastle 17.5 2.25 14 20 0% 0% 45%
Norwich City 18.1 1.92 14 20 0% 0% 73%
Watford 18.9 1.51 15 20 0% 0% 91%

Community Table Predictions 2021-22

Team AVG ST/DEV Highest Lowest Title% Top4% Rel%
Team AVG ST/DEV Highest Lowest Title% Top4% Rel%
Manchester City 1.6 1.7 1 15.0 69% 97% 0%
Chelsea 2.4 1.5 1 19.0 20% 94% 0%
Manchester United 3.7 1.9 1 18.0 3% 80% 0%
Liverpool 3.9 1.7 1 17.0 3% 75% 0%
Tottenham 5.1 2.1 1 19.0 4% 32% 0%
Leicester 5.9 1.5 2 17.0 0% 10% 0%
Arsenal 8.3 2.6 1 20.0 2% 3% 2%
Aston Villa 9.3 2.9 1 20.0 0% 3% 1%
Everton 9.5 1.8 5 17.0 0% 0% 0%
Leeds 10.1 2.5 3 20.0 0% 1% 2%
West Ham 10.3 3 4 20.0 0% 0% 6%
Wolves 13.6 2.9 4 20.0 0% 0% 12%
Brighton 13.8 3.4 1 20.0 0% 2% 16%
Crystal Palace 14.1 3 3 20.0 0% 0% 17%
Southampton 15.0 2.5 8 20.0 0% 0% 20%
Newcastle 15.5 2.4 3 20.0 0% 0% 23%
Burnley 15.6 2.9 5 20.0 0% 0% 29%
Brentford 16.6 3.6 2 20.0 0% 2% 48%
Norwich 17.4 2.1 8 20.0 0% 0% 53%
Watford 18.2 1.9 9 20.0 0% 0% 70%

Everyone’s on the same wavelength.

It’s a little bit surprising just how close the masthead and the commentariat are in terms of predictions this year. What we’re seeing, and y’all agree, is that the top of the table looks pretty clear, as does the bottom of the table.

Here’s how the commentariat ranked the top four.

Manchester City
Liverpool
Chelsea
Manchester United

It’s interesting that everyone seems to think that Liverpool, who haven’t really refreshed their squad after a historic season, are going to drop a notch this season. Not THAT far, maybe, but Man City as champions is far and away the most popular response. It is however not as dominant a win for City as last season’s predictions.

This is a Tottenham Hotspur blog.

Hope springs eternal, sort of. Most of you think that Spurs should be better this season. However, that didn’t translate into a top four finish, even though more of you chose Spurs to finish fourth than fifth. The gap between Spurs in fifth and United in fourth isn’t that large, though, according to y’all.

Whither the West Clubs?

Yowza. Y’all really don’t like clubs with West in their name. West Bromwich Albion was far and away the lowest ranked club in this poll, with a whopping 82% of you choosing the Baggies for the drop, and 43% of you picking them to finish dead last.

West Brom

Fulham served a little better, but not by much and not enough to save them from going down... again.

Fulham

West Ham is the commentariat’s third choice, but their numbers are weird. Basically, nobody’s quite sure what to do with them, but enough people thought that they were bad that they juuuuuuuust squeaked into the bottom three ahead of Aston Villa. But look at the distribution of votes! Wild.

People are kinda high on Leeds

Leeds United

These polls aren’t usually big on newly-promoted teams. The exception was two years ago when Fulham had spent big in the summer... and that prediction was dead wrong. That said, a lot of people think that Leeds under Marcelo Bielsa is headed to a comfortable finish outside of the relegation zone, and might even end up mid-tableish when all is said and done. Nobody thinks they’ll pull a Sheffield United, but it’s a fairly warm welcome back to the Premier League for The Damned United.

All in all, nobody’s rocking the boat in these predictions. There aren’t many outliers here — nobody’s gate-crashing the top four (if not Spurs), the middle is especially mushy, and the polling shows that people really think that there’s going to be a pretty stratified table this season with the best clubs far and away better than the rest of the league.

Will all this play out? If history is any indication... no. But that’s why we do this, right?