FTD's Pre-Season Predictions- How did we do so far? We look at Arsenal, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Chelsea and Crystal Palace
If the Premier League is one thing, it's unpredictable. We're only a third of the way through the season but teams have surpassed and fallen short of expectations in equal measure.
At the beginning of the season, we took a look at all 20 clubs in the Premier League and assessed their chances for the season. Looking at the current table, at present our predictions compared to reality are hit and miss to say the least.
Today we look at Arsenal, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Chelsea and Crystal Palace. We thought Chelsea and Arsenal would make up the top two, Bournemouth and Villa would be fighting out relegation, and that Palace would be sitting pretty in mid table...
Pre-season Prediction: We felt that Arsenal would be Chelsea's (we'll get to them) main contenders for the title, but would ultimately just fall short.
As it stands: Well one thing's for sure, the Gunners won't be challenging Chelsea for the title. They are however one of a number of clubs within touching distance of top spot.
Key Signing: Petr Cech- At the time of writing he was their only signing, and by the end of August that was still true. After a nightmare debut against West Ham, Cech has recovered to be a key player for Arsene Wenger as many expected.
Star Player: Alexis Sanchez- The Chilean winger just doesn't stop. His impact has not been quite as abrupt as last season however, and his tireless attitude may be catching up with him. For his sake and Arsenal's he could do with a rest if he is to be remain at his top level, and avoid being on Arsenal's growing injury list.
New Prediction: We still think Arsenal will challenge, but it's tough to say who's favourite for the title at the moment. It could easily be them, but City will be their main contenders- title or runner up.
Pre-season Prediction: A season of consolidation was expected for Villa, who were expected to struggle but would eventually avoid relegation and consolidate under Tim Sherwood...
As it Stands: They've certainly struggled, and them some. Rock bottom of the league with only one win all season, the sacking of Sherwood became inevitable. Remi Garde has been brought in to try and turn it around, but their position becomes more perilous by the week.
Key Signing: Emmanuel Adebayor- How quickly the world of football can change. Adebayor seemed all but confirmed as a Villa player at one point, but the deal fell through, and with his former Spurs boss Sherwood now gone, it probably won't happen any time soon.
Star Player: There wasn't one! Benteke and Delph had both departed and with a flurry of new signings that we were yet to see, we didn't think there was a player that warranted it.
New Prediction: Avoiding relegation is looking less and less likely. There is however a lot of football to be played and a new manager, but survival is looking a lot tougher- 17th/relegation.
Pre-season Prediction: A show of admiration for the job Eddie Howe did winning the Championship and his team's style of play, but we were skeptical of how they could implement that style against bigger teams. Similar to Burnley the previous season, they would be everyone's second favourite team, but would fall short of staying up.
As it Stands: They have certainly put on some gutsy displays in their debut season in the Premier League. Eddie Howe can look to their shockingly unlucky injury list (see below) and wonder what might have been. They have slipped into the relegation zone, but will certainly not plan on staying there.
Key Signing: Tyrone Mings- One of many of Bournemouth's key players who have suffered long term injuries since the start of the season, Mings barely got going for his new side before he was ruled out for the rest of the season.
Star Player: Callum Wilson- Showed signs that he could continue to provide the goals for his team, with a hat trick against West Ham in August showing a player who was adjusting well to the top flight. Like Mings and several others however, long term injury has curtailed his season.
New Prediction: With the injuries they have relegation is looking increasingly likely. Whether Howe can spend in January could be a factor, but we still expect them to be playing Championship football next season- relegation.
Pre-season Prediction: Like many pundits and fans alike, we couldn't look past Chelsea for the title this season having won it at a canter last year. With the same squad intact, and the 'Happy One' at the helm, a fourth title under Mourinho looked inevitable.
As it Stands: How wrong we were. We can however take comfort in the fact that absolutely no one would have predicted Chelsea's season to pan out the way it has.
Mourinho seemed at one point to be actively looking to get himself the sack, with media outbursts, a very public dispute with the club doctor, and a title winning squad that looked sluggish and uninterested.
An improvement in performances in recent weeks has provided some respite, but with the champions currently 15th in the league and twelve points behind the top four, they have a lot of work to do to salvage their season.
Key Signing: Radamel Falcao- We said his signing would be either a masterstroke or a massive mistake. It was the latter.
Star Player: Eden Hazard- Last season's Player of the Year has looked anything but this season. He has been one of many Chelsea stars to under perform and has a lot to do if he wants be compared with the world's best again.
New Prediction: There are signs that they are finally getting back to some semblance of their former selves, but they may have left themselves to much to do. The title is out of the question now, and they would do well to get a Champions League spot, but given how unpredictable the teams at the top are currently, they could do- top four/six.
Pre-season Prediction: The positive atmosphere at Palace under Alan Pardew would only continue after he turned things around for them last season. A mid table or top half finish is definitely on the cards.
As it Stands: The Eagles are currently 10th, albeit on goal difference only, but looking at the teams below them, they shouldn't have any reason to believe they can't stay there. They have again produced some great football and show no signs of letting up.
Key Signing: Yohan Cabaye- His impact at Palace has been substantial. As well scoring four goals in his twelve Premier League appearances, his passing and creative play has given Pardew another dimension to his attack. Money well spent.
Star Player: Yannick Bolasie- He has again proved to be one of Pardew's key players, providing the same width and frightening pace as he did last season. He may have only scored twice so far but his contribution to his side cannot be underestimated.
New Prediction: From what we've seen so far there's nothing to suggest that Palace can't do what we predicted at the start of the season- top half finish.