With the football season kicking off this weekend, it’s time to pick our wildly inaccurate predictions for the upcoming campaign.
A mad stat to kick things off. Only nine of the 30 teams to suffer relegation from the Premier League in the last ten years have achieved promotion at the first time of asking - and only four of those achieved automatic promotion. So with that in mind, it shouldn’t be assumed that one of last season’s relegated sides will win the league let alone get promoted.
However, as much as it pains me to say it, Stoke City look like the favourites to finish top of the pile this season. They’ve retained plenty of players from last season, while adding some talented additions like Benik Afobe, Tom Ince and Nigeria’s Oghenekaro Etebo.
Based on the mad stat above, I don’t think two promoted sides will go up. So, a bit of a left-field choice here, with Leeds United. On paper they’ve got a really strong squad that’s been boosted by the arrival of Barry Douglas, who was excellent for Wolves last year, and with the potential arrivals of Patrick Bamford and Matej Vydra they could flourish under Marcelo Bielsa.
I think West Brom will push for promotion, potentially just falling short into the play-offs. And they’ll be joined by Frank Lampard’s Derby County, the solid but unspectacular Middlesbrough and Brentford to nick the last place.
Where will Bolton Wanderers finish?
Relegation looks like an absolute guarantee. We’ve added a load of freebies, of whom very few have solid Championship experience, and still don’t have a reliable goalscorer, a central midfield or any strength in depth. Another long season ahead.
League Top Scorer
I think Britt Assombalonga will score goals for Middlesbrough, while Matej Vydra could repeat last season’s feat, depending where he’s playing. If we’re looking for an outsider, then Jack Marriott is a decent shout after scoring 33 goals for Peterborough last season.
Mad Random Event Prediction
Saido Berahino to actually score a goal - technically, he’s now approaching 30 goalless months going back to 27 February 2016. I’m backing him to break his drought when Bolton come to town on 2 October.