The Esquire Premier League predictions
Ahead of the Premier League 2014/15 season, the football fanboys/deluded ‘sporting voices’ among the Esquire team put their necks on the line and tried to predict (recorded officially online and in print) what we felt would happen.
On this, the last day of a turbulent nine-month season, we look back and score how we fared. ..
Jeremy Lawrence, Editor
Allegiance: Sheffield Wednesday (Championship). My local team through thick and (mainly) thin since the ’80s. A team is for life not just for Christmas…
Winners: Torn between Chelsea and Manchester City. If the former’s new signings click then they’ll triumph, but if Costa doesn’t score enough then City might have the edge. 0.5 points
Hopeless cases: Burnley and Leicester will definitely struggle and they will be joined by a large supporting cast. If I were a Villa fan, I would not be looking forward to the season. 0.5 points
Best bit of business: Rio Ferdinand could prove to be shrewd signing for QPR. And if Liverpool fail to sign an adequate replacement for Suarez, they’ll be glad of Rickie Lambert, who won’t let them down. 0 points
Biggest waste of money: Luke Shaw. $58 million for a fullback is just crazy money. 1 point
Sacked by October: Paul Lambert has been a dead man walking since last October, never mind this one. 0 points
Player worth watching: Cesc Fabregas knows the Premiership inside out and has a point to prove on his return. He could be the league’s standout player this year. 1 point
Flop in the making: Joey Barton. He thinks he’s good enough to play for England. Everyone else knows he’s lucky to still be playing at all. 1 point
Best dressed: Everton for simplicity, Arsenal for the snug fit – although might not look as good on some of their fans. In broader terms, the Italians will once again look miles better than everyone else. How do they always manage to do that?
If the 2014/15 season were a Robert Ludlum novel, it would be called: The Louis Van Gaamble. Will it pay off for United?
Jeremy’s score: 4
Matt Pomroy – Deputy Editor
Allegiance: Liverpool. I grew up in Jersey and most people picked a team off the telly. I chose Liverpool because the kid I sat next to in primary school did.
Winners: Chelsea. In Diego Costa, they now have the striker they’ve needed since Drogba left and a manager with a similar win-at-all-costs mentality. 1 point
Hopeless cases: I’d be amazed if Burnley stay up. 1 point
Best bit of business: It could be Everton hanging onto Ross Barkley– this should be the year that he really makes his mark on the Premier League. 0 points
Biggest waste of money: The $42 million Liverpool paid for Adam Lallana (pictured right) seems ridiculous, and a perverse perpetuation of the premium attached to British players’ transfer fees. 1 point
Sacked by October: The Paul Lambert and Roy Keane duo at Villa has in-fighting and an early exit written all over it. 0 points
Player worth watching: Diego Costa at Chelsea will replace Luis Suarez as the Premier League player who cheats, dives, argues and does outrageously brilliant things in equal measure. Entertainment throughout. 1 point
Flop in the making: I’m hoping it’s Louis Van Gaal. But I suspect it may be Joe Cole at Villa – a player five years past his best. 1 point
Best dressed: Chelsea away. I’ve got 99 reasons to hate them but the kit ain’t one. Clean, neat and stylish.
If the 2014/15 season were a Robert Ludlum novel, it would be called: The Redknapp Resurrection
Matt’s score: 5
Eddie Taylor - Freelance Features Editor
Allegiance: Leeds United (Championship). Like being married to a psychopath. You put up with the living nightmare in the hope of one more day as magical as when you first met…
Winners: Chelsea. I’m not convinced Diego Costa will make an instant transition to the English game but with Fabregas slotting into a powerful midfield, he may not need to. 1 point
Hopeless cases: With everyone predicting poor old Burnley, I’ll go for Southampton. You can’t lose that much talent in a single summer and hope to prosper. 0 points (Ed’s note: arguably should be minus points for getting it SO wrong)
Best bit of business: Chelsea getting $85 million for David Luiz is immense. For recruits, Fabregas (pictured left) could be the right replacement for Lampard while Ander Herrera looks like he will help fix Man United’s long-term midfield misery. 1 point
Biggest waste of money: “Waste” is perhaps too strong a word but I can’t see Adam Lallana living up to the fee Liverpool paid for him. 1 point
Sacked by October: Sam Allardyce at West Ham remains on very thin ice. And for a man of his size… 0 points
Player worth watching: Looking forward to seeing how Alexis Sanchez fits in to an attacking line-up at Arsenal. He is the right blend of pace, skill and strength for the English game. 1 point
Flop in the making: Liverpool might look back at 2013/14 as a massive missed opportunity. Their upward progress could be interrupted this year. 1 point
Best dressed: Burnley have a pleasingly simple effort for their return to the Premier League.
If the 2014/15 season were a Robert Ludlum novel, it would be called: The Mourinho Manipulation
Eddie’s score: 5 points
Tom Norton – Digital Editor
Allegiance: Tottenham. It’s like being an England supporter: much is usually promised, next to nothing is usually delivered.
Winners: Loathe as I am to admit it, I’m going with Chelsea. Mourinho rarely needs more than a couple of bites at the title apple and they’ve bought well. The Man United rebuild will take some time and I don’t think City have it in them to win consecutive titles. 1 point
Hopeless cases: Rather boringly I’m going with everyone’s relegation favourites, Burnley. The inherent lack of quality will prove too much to overcome. 1 point
Best bit of business: Fabregas to Chelsea. Class player with buckets of Premiership experience, he’ll shine alongside an already enviable midfield. 1 point
Biggest waste of money: Luke Shaw’s fee is a joke, but I think he’ll do okay under Van Gaal. Diego Costa (pictured right)could be another forward flop for Chelsea, though. Mostly because I want him to be rather than any real conviction though.. 0 points
Sacked by October: Despite a few years left on his ridiculous contract, I fancy Alan Pardew will get the chop at Newcastle. After their poor run of form late last season, an abject start could lead to the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ from the board. Or, as we also know it, ‘Stage one of being fired’. 0 points
Player worth watching: Alexis Sanchez , Arsenal. 1 point
Flop in the making: Probably anyone Spurs decide to spend over 25 million on. That aside, seeing Van Gaal flop would be mightily amusing, if only because I’m tired of United fans crowing so much. 0.5 point
Best dressed: Ah, the toughest question yet. Most of the kits look like they’ve been designed by the three blind mice. Manchester City’s stands out for me, though. Nike rarely conjure up an eyesore, which is more than can be said for everyone else this season.
If the 2014/15 season were a Robert Ludlum novel, it would be called: The Roman Ultimatum. Does the Russian millionaire stick with the Special One for another season?
Tom’s score: 4.5