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Cartilage Free Captain predicts the 2023-24 Premier League

We asked, you answered. And with not too many surprises.


Last week, we asked you, the gentle readers of Cartilage Free Captain, to predict the 2023-24 Premier League. You sure did that! Nearly 1000 of you replied to the poll to rank the 20 Premier League teams in order, and to predict a couple of other fun questions.

Let’s get right to it. First, here are the predictions from the masthead.

2023-24 Premier League Masthead Predictions

Club MEAN ST/DEV Highest Lowest Title% Top4% Rel%
Club MEAN ST/DEV Highest Lowest Title% Top4% Rel%
Manchester City 1.1 0.258 1 2 93% 100% 0%
Arsenal 2.5 0.640 1 3 7% 100% 0%
Liverpool 3.3 1.397 2 7 0% 87% 0%
Manchester United 4.5 1.552 2 7 0% 53% 0%
Tottenham 5.3 1.291 2 7 0% 20% 0%
Newcastle 6.1 1.668 3 8 0% 20% 0%
Brighton 6.7 1.944 4 9 0% 13% 0%
Chelsea 7.3 1.580 4 9 0% 7% 0%
Aston Villa 8.1 0.990 6 9 0% 0% 0%
Brentford 10.3 0.594 10 12 0% 0% 0%
Crystal Palace 12.0 1.069 11 14 0% 0% 0%
Burnley 12.9 2.219 11 18 0% 0% 7%
West Ham 13.7 2.120 10 17 0% 0% 0%
Fulham 13.8 1.699 12 17 0% 0% 0%
Bournemouth 14.8 2.077 10 18 0% 0% 7%
Everton 14.9 2.251 12 19 0% 0% 20%
Wolverhampton 16.7 1.345 14 18 0% 0% 33%
Nottingham Forest 17.9 1.060 16 20 0% 0% 60%
Sheffield United 18.4 1.639 14 20 0% 0% 80%
Luton Town 19.6 0.828 17 20 0% 0% 93%

No real surprises here. With one lone exception (likely done to break the curve and who will remain nameless since they voted Arsenal to win), all of us think that Manchester City are going to win the Premier League... again. The variance comes in who will finish in the rest of the top six. There’s a bit of difference between we the individual masthead members think about Liverpool, for example — some are suuuuper high on their chances to bounce back this season, others are a bit more skeptical. Despite Arsenal making a real title run last season, most of us think that they’re due for a (small) slide this year, even as they come in second in the poll.

This is a Tottenham Hotspur blog but we tend to be more realistic about Spurs’ chances. We have Spurs in fifth, which feels right for a median number. Could be higher! ...Could also be lower. With Champions League now going to the fifth place finisher, that feels both like a very fair and also hugely optimistic finish after one year of Ange-ball.

It gets squishy towards the bottom of the table. In conversations after voting, the general consensus of the masthead is that the bottom quadrant of the league is going to be pretty universally garbage, which makes predicting relegation teams tricky. The only thing we’re pretty confident of is that Luton Town is going straight back down.

Onward to the Commentariat!

2023-24 CFC Reader Premier League Predictions

TEAM MEAN ST/DEV Highest Lowest Title% Top4% Rel%
TEAM MEAN ST/DEV Highest Lowest Title% Top4% Rel%
Man City 1.7 2.270 1 15 76% 96% 0%
Arsenal 3.7 3.451 1 20 11% 78% 3%
Man United 4.4 2.710 1 19 2% 63% 0%
Liverpool 4.6 2.475 1 20 1% 59% 0%
Tottenham 5.3 3.222 1 20 7% 43% 4%
Newcastle 6.1 2.884 1 19 1% 25% 0%
Chelsea 6.2 2.144 1 19 1% 20% 1%
Aston Villa 8.0 2.128 1 19 1% 6% 0%
Brighton 8.3 1.825 2 19 0% 2% 0%
Brentford 10.2 2.183 2 19 0% 3% 0%
Crystal Palace 12.6 2.380 1 20 0% 1% 3%
Fulham 13.0 2.418 5 20 0% 0% 5%
West Ham 13.6 3.183 6 20 0% 0% 16%
Burnley 13.7 2.985 4 20 0% 1% 11%
Bournemouth 14.2 3.699 2 20 0% 3% 20%
Everton 14.9 2.633 4 20 0% 0% 16%
Nottingham Forest 16.2 2.098 7 20 0% 0% 28%
Wolves 16.7 2.708 8 20 0% 0% 47%
Sheffield United 17.9 1.677 10 20 0% 0% 65%
Luton Town 18.7 2.268 5 20 0% 0% 81%

Honestly, we’re not that far off. The community thinks a little higher of Manchester United and Burnley than the masthead, and a little worse of Wolves. Otherwise, these are pretty shockingly similar predictions. Go us! [high fives]

Let’s dig into some of the numbers.

City... sigh.

Manchester City

Last year 72% of readers though Manchester City would win the league. This year, that percentage has jumped to 76%. That’s just sad and a pretty clear reflection that the Premier League has basically turned into the Bundesliga. The fun stuff is further down.

Arsenal are #2, but there’s less consensus

Last season there was a pretty clear gap between 2nd (Liverpool) and 3rd (Spurs). Not so this time around. Arsenal got to #2 statistically, but the voting was somewhat close to United.

Arsenal. This is a Tottenham Hotspur blog.
Manchester United

To me this reads more as the Commentariat predicting an Arsenal backslide compared to last season than anything significant United is doing in the offseason. I could be wrong there, but it reads to me like y’all think City are going to walk the league this season. That’s okay — we think so too.

Also check out those 20th votes — the fourth highest number of bottom-table votes of any in the poll. This is a Tottenham Hotspur blog.

Readers are a little divided about where Spurs will finish

That’s a pretty evenly distributed differentiation of votes, to be honest. Readers are generally bullish on Spurs’ chances to rebound (check out those #1 votes which probably skews things a little)) but most realistic Spurs fans settle somewhere in the 4-7 range. Fair enough! This poll didn’t track xFun, but my guess is that it would be off the scale.

Y’all have no idea about the bottom half

Crystal Palace

That’s okay. Neither do we. As stated above, the bottom half is going to be a huge mess, and placement in the top six could come down to who beats the bad teams more and better. Interestingly, though — check out Burnley. I don’t think anyone really expects Vincent Kompany’s Burnley squad to rip up trees this season in their first year back in the top flight, but there’s clearly something there in a year where they blew through the Championship en route to automatic promotion. They are a fun, and potentially dangerous team playing much, much different football to that under Sean Dyche, and that’s reflected, I think, in these rankings.

Luton... ouch.

Luton Town

We should probably enjoy the spectacle of playing once in Kenilworth Road, the smallest stadium in the history of the Premier League. It’s unlikely to happen again for a while. This is the highest percentage of 20th place votes I’ve ever seen in one of these polls.

Q2: Which team OUTSIDE the top 6 is most likely to finish INSIDE the top 6?

This is a Tottenham Hotspur blog. (BTW, the colors are confusing but the 19.08% orange wedge is for CHELSEA, not Luton Town. But that would’ve been hilarious.)

Q3: Which team INSIDE the top 6 is most likely to finish OUTSIDE the top 6?

If one team goes into the top six, another one has to drop out. It’s pretty clear the readers think Brighton will struggle with how to handle European football and its incessant grind of two matches/week for interminable lengths of time. I’m surprised by this — I expected Newcastle here.

Q4: Who will win the Golden Boot?

I mean DUH. Erling Haaland wins this in a landslide. Second place goes to Harry Kane and thanks y’all I’m crying again now. The only other player with more than 1% in this poll is Son Heung-Min. This is a Tottenham Hotspur blog.

By the way, there was an “Other (please list)” field available to you. Five of you took that option. Here are the write-ins, verbatim.

  • Weghorst
  • Hojlund
  • Harvey Barnes (Newcastle)
  • Evan Ferguson
  • Erling Pardew, the distant 9th Norse cousin of his long lost uncle Alan, lights the league on fire with an unprecedented mix of extensive Scandinavian fitness and patented pardew tacticality. He also, of course, dances goofily and complacently after scoring every one of his 33 league goals

I really want to know who put in that last one, and if it’s you, please say hello in the comments.

Q5: Who will get the sack first?

I eliminated all but the top ten results, because honestly who cares about the rest of them? Unfortunately, none of you can take credit for Julen Lopetegui because that happened before the season started, and technically he wasn’t sacked — he resigned. But most of you see the writing on the wall for ol’ Moyesey. Also, where’s Arteta? I thought this was a Tottenham Hotspur blog!

There we go — our fearless predictions for 2023-24. I didn’t go back and review last year’s predictions because the vibes were so bad at the time nobody wanted to, including me. Hopefully that’ll change this year and we can look back and see what we got right, and what we got wrong. Had a lot of fun putting this together. Thanks for voting, and COYS!