Worst Premier League pre-season predictions – including Gary Neville blunders

The 2021/2022 Premier League season is finally at an end with the table now having been confirmed.

It has been a titanic battle for the title between Manchester City and Liverpool, a close run-in between Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and West Ham for the European places and an almighty scrap over relegation. There have been plenty of memorable moments over the course of the campaign and a ton of surprises.

With the football season over for another year, now is the perfect time to look back to August and how the experts predicted the campaign would pan out. Gary Neville will not be wanting to check out this list, with the former United skipper featuring prominently as Daily Star Sport looks at the worst pre-season predictions.

Manchester United to have a successful year

Sky Sports' Gary Neville predicted United would finish above Liverpool: "I just think they've got a better squad. I think Liverpool have got a better first XI but you know Liverpool, with a couple of injuries, do have that drop in level. United don't really have that drop in level in any position."

BBC Sport pundit Stephen Warnock thought the Red Devils would fight for the title: "I see it as a four-horse race this year but the only difference between United and the other three is with their manager – I don't think Solskjaer is the man to win the title. He's done well tactically in some games but there have been times when something is not quite right."

Who do you think will win next year's Premier League title? Let us know in the comments section…

Lukaku would win the title for Chelsea

BBC Sport's Chris Sutton: "If Harry Kane goes to Manchester City, then he is the perfect fit for them and I would fancy them. If he doesn't, I think Chelsea will nick it, because they are getting Romelu Lukaku. I don't think City will win the title without signing a centre-forward. I know they won it last season largely playing without one, which was remarkable. I don't see it happening again."

Matthew Upson: "As things stand, I'd back Chelsea. It looks as if Lukaku is definitely going there, while things are very different with City and Kane – who knows if that will happen? It's a big ask for them to win the league again without a new striker but, if they do get Kane, that turns that problem position into a massive positive – and I'd change my prediction."

Ashley Williams: "Chelsea made big improvements last season and I think they will be better again. I played with Lukaku at Everton so I know him quite well – his goal record for us was incredible but having seen him play for Inter Milan and Belgium, he's even better now. It's as if he has recognised his own ability and strengths more than he did before, and he knows when and where to use them."

United winning the transfer window

Neville on Raphael Varane: "I want to see how Varane does for Manchester United. I am intrigued to know how this World Cup winner with numerous Champions Leagues does. To see how he builds a partnership with Harry Maguire takes Paul Pogba off the one to watch."

Pat Nevin on Varane: "It feels like Manchester United have been trying to sort out that centre-back position forever and, finally, by getting Raphael Varane in alongside Harry Maguire it looks right. I suspect it will turn out that way too, but let's hold fire slightly to see – Varane was always lightning quick when he was younger but I have watched him a few times recently and wondered if he had lost half a yard of pace. I will only find out by watching him in the Premier League."

Jamie Carragher on Jadon Sancho: "I think he could be a superstar, I really do. You look at his numbers in German football. Gary has mentioned that they need this player on the right side, at times I think he is as good on the left if you look at his stats."

Neville's other misses

Neville predicted Everton to overachieve: "I've been clear I don't quite like the idea of the ex-Liverpool legend manager going to Goodison Park. Many Evertonians don't. But I've got no doubts about what he'll do as a performance. I think he'll make them have their best season for a long time. I think they could do what West Ham and Leicester did last season and get up to that fifth, sixth position."

And tipped Arsenal to underachieve: "I think they've got a good young coach but at the moment I worry about the make-up of the squad, it doesn't feel right. That's not because they've lost their first two games. They've got a mixture of young players that you can imagine are committed, desperate to do well, have got talent, and then I think about the guidance I got as a young player at Manchester United, from unbelievable senior players in that dressing room, and I don't think they've got the right direction around them in that structure."

Underestimating Liverpool

Alan Shearer, Fara Williams, Sue Smith, Ashley Williams, Clinton Morrison, Michael Brown, Pat Nevin, Leon Osman and Lindsay Johnson all told BBC Sport that Liverpool would finish fourth, with the Reds instead mounting a title challenge. Jermaine Beckford thought they would miss out altogether, instead tipping a surprising team to claim that place.

Beckford on the top four: "I am going with Leicester to finish fourth. They are a breath of fresh air in terms of how much they invest in their squad compared to the teams who finished above them last season. They still spend some money of course, but they spend it so well. Their recruitment is absolutely brilliant, and I am a huge fan of the way Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers sets up his teams and gets everyone working hard together."

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