Premier League predictions: How does Chris Sutton’s league table compare to reality?
People call Chris Sutton on 606 every week to chat about the Premier League predictions he’s making for the BBC website and tell him he doesn’t know what he’s talking about – but does he?
In a season full of surprises, from Liverpool’s decline in form to Chelsea’s ongoing inconsistency, Sutton’s table (below) still looks pretty close to reality.
He’s got the top and bottom two right – albeit in the wrong order each time – and overall, 13 of the 20 teams are within two places of their true position, with three (Liverpool, Leeds and Leicester) absolutely spot on.
“This season has probably been the toughest for predicting results since the Premier League started so I’m pretty happy with it,” Sutton told BBC Sport.
“In recent years you didn’t have to think every week if Liverpool was going to win and you could always trust Chelsea to beat most teams too, but this time the wheels really fell off for both of them.
“They’ve been on the wrong end of some notable results, while another of the usual top four contenders, Tottenham, has been up and down in such a way that it’s just impossible to predict.
“Moreover, the fact that there is a relegation battle involving nine clubs that can all beat each other shows how difficult it was to get their results right.
“The team at the bottom of my table, Bournemouth, still have a fighting chance to stay up there in real life, which surprised me.
“I wrote them off at the start of the season and did the same thing again for Christmas but they keep scoring points.
“They’ve proved me wrong a couple of times now, but they’re not the only ones because I don’t have many teams that I can rely on to always be good or bad.
“Overall, I think I’m doing really well, but please remember that if I really were a forecasting genius, I wouldn’t be working as an expert – I’d be a billionaire.”
Brighton’s long ‘unbeaten streak’ explained
However, there were no imaginary “invincibles” this season.
In the alternative world, based on Sutton’s results, Manchester City went unbeaten in their first 23 games before (wrongly) tipping Arsenal to beat them at the Emirates in February.
Now it’s Brighton who are currently the longest unbeaten team – Sutton hasn’t paid attention to their losing since they went to the Etihad Stadium in October.
Meanwhile, West Ham and Chelsea are two of the teams doing much better on Sutton’s table than they really are – in contrast to Manchester United who are noticeably worse off.
“I always think Brighton will score goals so I’ll go with them, while United are definitely one of those teams I doubted,” explained Sutton.
“There were moments before the end of the season for the World Cup where I thought they were going to lose every week, but they improved as the season progressed under Erik ten Hag and my predictions have reflected that.
“At Chelsea, I’m a former fan favorite from my productive days there, so I have to keep their supporters happy, don’t I?
“But seriously, I always expected them to get better under Graham Potter, but that never happened. The same goes for the Hammers, who never got going this season.
“I still thought I supported Chelsea to lose more times than I did but then I don’t go through my previous predictions for each team to check what I’ve said about them in the past because that not helping me get their next results right.
“I’m not worried about getting to that table because my goal is to get as many results right as possible each week and to beat my guests. That’s what I did most of the time.”
+/- DENOTES POSITION DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUTTON’S TABLE AND ACTUAL POSITION
How are you doing?
Are you better off than Sutton or his guests? Yes, but not much.
Sutton has got 132 correct results out of 270 this season – 49% – while his guests managed 122 between them, or 45%.
Thousands of you have also made predictions using the voting buttons on his predictions page each week and you have 140, or 52%, To the right.
It’s a good effort, but maybe it proves that predictions aren’t as easy as they seem?