‘5 things we learned about…’
‘Why X lost’
‘What the problems were with X’
It’s easy to be knowledgeable with hindsight, whether you’re actually knowledgeable or not. It’s harder (and riskier) to make firm predictions ahead of time and then, crucially, face up to how well you did. But I’m gonna try.
This is how this short trial series of articles is going to go. Towards the end of the week I’ll make a handful of predictions. They don’t all have to apply to the games that weekend, but need to be short term enough for me to follow up on them. Obviously, random things happen so not everything can be predicted with the same degree of confidence – I’ll put a confidence rating by each one.
The predictions all have to be in the realms of my knowledge too, which is where potential embarrassment (or potential to impress) comes. These can’t just be speculative but obvious predictions like ‘Chelsea will beat Boro’. That’s not much of a prediction. I can look outside at grey clouds in the north of England and say that I think it’ll rain this week, but that doesn’t make me a weatherman.
After the weekend’s games (or possibly in an article along with the next week’s predictions), I’ll have an honest look at how I did. I’ll give the predictions a score, but it’ll be pretty flexible in case of random events out of the blue or a longer-term prediction.
This is only a 4 week thing (with potential to expand to 8). We’ll see how it goes. I reckon (first prediction) there’s an 80% chance I’ll look a fool. The important thing will be to resist the urge to be vague and defensive, but instead to be brutally honest when I’m wrong or lacking in things to say. This will also hopefully be a push to learn more, so that I don’t look a fool. But anyway, let’s get started:
This’ll be difficult because it’s the Community Shield weekend and my knowledge of Scottish and English Football League (Championship and below) football is very basic. I’ll run through the confidence rating system while I think of some things to predict.
1 – Guess. This is a hunch that I have. If I’m giving a 1 for a prediction though it probably means that it’s either very speculative but based on what I feel like is a good gut feeling, or it’s a filler.
2 – Hunch. A hunch I have based on a little more knowledge than a 1. Unlikely to just be a filler prediction, but may still be a little speculative.
3 – Waver. This means I’m wavering about whether I’m confident or not, I’m probably about 50/50 on whether I think it’ll happen.
4 – Confident. Quietly confident. Anything could happen, of course, but I certainly think this is more likely than not to happen.
5 – Bet. Not *dead* certain, nothing’s really a dead cert, but as close to one as I would be willing to say. I’m not a better, but I’d bet on this.
Prediction 1: Leicester line up 4-4-2 in the Community Shield with a higher line than usual.
Confidence rating: 4
I have some reticence with starting with a confidence rating of 5, but I’m pretty sure about this one, although it is a bit of an easy one too. Leicester don’t seem to have deviated from their usual 4-4-2 during pre-season, but they have seemed to have played a bit of a higher line to try and be a bit more proactive in defence. It’s a possibility that they may drop off again a little against Manchester United though with their attacking talent.
Prediction 2: United struggle.
Confidence rating: 3
I’ll be honest, this is a bit too general for my liking. It’s almost a coin-flip. However, the 5-2 against Galatasaray is still in everyone’s minds, with Zlatan’s goal and Rashford’s run, so it’s partly that they will struggle relative to expectation. Galatasaray were bad in the second half though, when United scored the bulk of their goals. Really quite bad. Everton was a bore draw, a bizarre mix of testimonial and pre-season warm-up, with Koeman’s side looking like they were getting used to being drilled defensively. This probably helped United look more dominant, although they weren’t really playing a full-strength side either. Leicester’s organisation and attacking movement and pace are likely to be as frustrating this year as last.
Prediction 3: Pogba won’t sign between now and when I write the results up next Monday.
Confidence rating: 1
The confidence rating is a 1 purely because of the fact that this is just a filler prediction. However – as many have noted – the transfer has been ’48 hours away’ since the end of the Euros, and the general rumour seems to be that Pogba doesn’t really want to leave. Why would he? He’s highly appreciated and valued there, they’re champions, have a chance to win the Champions League, and gets to see Patrice Evra every day. United and his agent, so the rumours go, are pushing for the move, which could explain why it’s taking so long.
Prediction 4 (non-Community Shield edition): Racing Club de Strasbourg will mark their first home game back in Ligue 2 with a win.
Confidence rating: 3
OK, I won’t normally do single match predictions but Strasbourg have a special place in my heart. I would give this a 4 for confidence rating if it wasn’t for the fact that single match results can be subject to a hell of a lot of random crap. Racing fared well in their first game back in the professional French leagues, getting a 0-0 draw away from home. Amiens, who Strasbourg face on Saturday, were promoted with the Alsaciens last year too, and actually beat Racing home and away. However, RCS have a decent sized budget by Ligue 2 standards this year and have spent it in the right areas – attack (they conceded just 19 goals in 34 games last season, defensive upgrades can wait). Add to that the phenomenal home support at La Meinau, Strasbourg should ride that wave to 3 points (I hope).
Join me on Monday when I will be mean about my own predictions.