Looking back at the 2017-18 Writers’ Preview – How did we get on?May 23, 2018
Well, that went quickly didn’t it? It only seems like yesterday that Real Madrid were dismantling Barcelona in the Super Cup, leading to Gerard Pique stating that it was the first time he had felt inferior to Madrid during his time at the club.
Not only had Barça seemingly lost ground on their bitter rivals in the capital, but they’d also lost Neymar. Se queda, Pique had confidently shared on social media, together with a selfie. He’s staying.
Then he left.
Even by the extremely hypochondriacal standards of FC Barcelona supporters, a club famed for its “entorno” of political pressure and high standards, the outlook for new manager Ernesto Valverde seemed bleak.
It’s perhaps unsurprising then that in such a climate of doom and gloom in Catalonia, only one of our writers predicted that Barça would recover from it all and win the league. Step forward Campbell Finlayson.
Yes, he might have mentioned to the rest of us that he was the only one to predict that.
So those of us (everyone else) who went for Real Madrid, however sensible that decision might have seemed at the time, look a little bit silly now that Los Blancos ended up not only missing out on the title, but not even finishing as the best placed side in Madrid. Thanks for making that prediction look even worse, Atleti.
But what about some of our other predictions?
What about the relegated teams, for example? Well, somewhat shamefully, none of us predicted more than one relegated team correctly. Getafe, who ended up in 8th (EIGHTH!) got a lot of mentions. So did one of the form teams of the end of the season, Levante, who were responsible for ruining Barça’s unbeaten dream.
What? OK, OK. It’s true. I didn’t manage to predict any of the relegated teams.
Anyway, let’s move on shall we? Perhaps it gets better.
Let’s look at who we thought would be the surprise package.
Tom Cross: Celta Vigo…”I actually have a good feeling about Unzué and wouldn’t be surprised to see them back in Europe at the end of the season.”
Fortunately, most of our writers successfully predicted that Betis were ready for an amazing season. However, Gerry Johnston and Kristofer McCormack were confident that Depor could easily avoid relegation and surprise people. Sorry boys. OK, it’s true. Kristofer McCormack also predicted Betis would do well, so less shame for him.
In terms of what we wanted to see this season back in August, two of our writers’ predictions stand out the most. Sam Leveridge got his wish of a resurgent Valencia under good management, while Campbell Finlayson wanted a team to challenge the traditional clubs for European football, which Betis duly delivered on.
Unsurprisingly Leo Messi dominated our predictions for top goalscorer, with good reason. Was it ever really in doubt?
Jamie Kemble successfully predicted that Manuel Marquez Roca would be the first manager to be sacked this season, however even he probably expected him to remain in charge for longer than six games.
Back in August we also cast our eyes over the summer transfers and gave our thoughts on some of the best. And to be honest we did pretty well there. Pablo Fornals got a few mentions, as did Ever Banega, even if we expected a bit more from Pablo Piatti.
Atleti dominated the predictions for Copa del Rey winners. Somewhat surprisingly, Barça didn’t, despite having won the previous three. It’s pretty much their trophy for keeps now isn’t it? This, by the way, was one of my only decent predictions made back in August.
And finally, what about Europe? What did we expect would happen? Well, the nature of how the Europa League works means that none of us could have predicted that Atleti would lift the trophy. And the Champions League? Madrid featured quite prominently in our thoughts, with most of our writers thinking another final certainly wasn’t beyond them.
And me? I said that I thought this season might just be the one where a team from Spain doesn’t win the Champions League. However, as a Manchester United fan I’m pretty comfortable with the idea of getting yet another one of my predictions wrong, thanks very much.
You can see our full predictions from August below