Arsenal

Tbfantasy predictions update: Nailing it on Hojlund and forgetting Liverpool existed

It’s Christmas time and there’s no need to be afraid…unless you made an absolute mess of your pre-season predictions. We take a look at roughly the half-way stage to see who will be chumps and who will be champions.

You can read the full pre-season predictions here.

As is traditional, tell me who will win the league.
‘F*** it, Arsenal will do it. Three great signings (four with David Raya) and Man City will drop off after doing the treble,’ said Lewis Oldham, who was joined by Jason Soutar and Matt Stead, who can claim that he predicted this way back in 2020. The rest of us went safe with Manchester City, which is a massive shame as we can usually rely on John Nicholson to do something batsh*t like tip Manchester United.

And the rest of the top four, in order. Which nobody ever gets right.
Credit to Oldham and Soutar for mentioning Aston Villa at all. Obviously, this one really cannot be truly judged until the end of the season but way, way, way too many of us were fooled by Manchester United and Chelsea. And not enough of us included Liverpool with any real confidence. We told you nobody ever gets this right.

 

Three picks for relegation please.
‘Luton and Sheffield United are surely doomed before a ball is kicked’ is how Sarah Winterburn started her prediction, and that was the theme throughout. But not one single person mentioned Burnley. We really did fall under Vincent Kompany’s steely-eyed spell. A lot of folk worried about Wolves while Bournemouth and Everton also got a few mentions. But Soutar suggesting ‘West Ham, Fulham and Brentford could be in a spot of bother’ sets him up as the McChump here.

 

Which club will be a pleasant surprise?
‘The easy answer is Burnley but I don’t think anybody will be remotely surprised at their mid-table finish.’ Well they would now, Winty.

Points are available for those (Ian Watson, Winterburn) who said Everton would cruise. And they really would without that 10-point deduction. And Soutar and Dave Tickner had arms across the north London divide as they both predicted that Tottenham could do some great things as well as potentially disastrous things. Done and done.

Is Joe Williams right? Do Luton ‘have what it takes to avoid relegation’?

 

Who will win the Golden Boot?
We all said Erling Haaland. And we will all be right barring an extended injury absence.

 

Which new signing will have the greatest positive impact?
There were mentions for Andre Onana (‘a clear and obvious upgrade’? Hmmm.), Pau Torres, James Trafford, Nicolas Jackson (Chelsea fan Will Ford there), Jurrien Timber, Dominik Szoboszlai, James Maddison and Moussa Diaby. But not a single soul mentioned Declan Rice, which is probably the ‘right’ answer so far

And which one will turn out to be a massive flop?
Johnny was wrong on this – ‘Rasmus Hojlund has strong Angel Di Maria vibes. £72million is a lot to pay for a player with his goal record. Will be only playing in the League Cup come the winter’ – but only because Manchester United are not still in the League Cup.

As Tickner predicted: ‘Rasmus Hojlund will do precisely as well as a 20-year-old striker with a roughly one-in-three scoring record thrown into a new league can reasonably be expected to do, but that fee, the lack of any other centre-forward in Manchester United’s squad and the harsh but inevitable comparisons with Haaland down the road and Kane who United “should have signed” (even though they had no chance of doing so) means expectations will be far from reasonable and he is thus heading inexorably for flopsville.’

Hojlund was a popular choice but Kai Havertz, Sandro Tonali and, erm, Calvin Bassey also got mentions. Nobody looks a complete fool.

 

Who will be the biggest bloody bargain?
Guglielmo Vicario for £17m is probably the ‘right’ answer as it stands, but Pau Torres was an excellent choice from the boss. Not such an excellent choice was Mahmoud Dahoud, who we had almost forgot joined Brighton at all. And no, Joe Williams, ‘Benie Traore, signed from Swedish side Hacken for £4m’ cannot score the goals to keep up the Blades. He’s scored exactly none.

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