Football

Fantasy predictions: Liverpool win the Premier League, FA Cup as Manchester City conquer Europe at long last

With the new Premier League season underway, we turned to Football Manager to paint the picture for 2019/20.

Liverpool are Premier League champions.

The club who’ve won it all bar a domestic league title since 1990 have finally gotten the monkey off their back. In a season that produced a league and cup double, they were crowned champions at the cost of their European crown.

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They came close, mind. Pep Guardiola had other ideas. With the league out of reach, Raheem Sterling scored first, followed by a Leroy Sané double in the Champions League Final to seal a 3-0 victory.

These could be notes from next June’s end-of-season recap, but we’ve jumped ahead a few months and tasked Football Manager with doing the dirty work.

As some of us in the office are known to tinker with the game, we added every single summer transfer and league update and got down to business over the weekend.

2019/2020 Premier League Roundup

Having watched Liverpool kick off their season in real life with a 4-1 win over Norwich, the Reds would continue their good form from 2018/19, dropping only two losses for the season on their way to a 90-point haul.

Manchester City would finish runners up, 9 points back, with United and Spurs rounding out the Champions League places.

The big surprise – to us anyway – was seeing Bournemouth pip Chelsea to the last European place, comfortably I might add.

Down the other end of the table, it’s a swift return to the Championship for Norwich and Aston Villa while Southampton get dragged into the mire with 8 wins from 38. Sheffield United make the magical 40 point mark and live to tell the tale.

2019/2020 Premier League final standings
2019/2020 Premier League final standings

The Cup Game

Leicester are back to winning ways. Overcoming Accrington on penalties in their third round of the League Cup, they would see off Reading, Man City (on penalties), Spurs (on penalties) and Arsenal 2-1 in the final.

Liverpool added the FA Cup to their league title. Before hammering Burnley in the final they would knock out Middlesbrough (5-0), Arsenal (3-1), Newcastle (3-1), Chelsea (2-1) and Bournemouth (1-0).

Liverpool’s couldn’t make the treble however. Pep Guardiola’s Man City made up for last year’s semi-final loss to progress to the final and stuff Liverpool 3-0 to be crowned European champions for the first time. They also saw off Liverpool in the community shield at the start of the season.

The Big Money Moves

While Harry Maguire made his £80m move in August, Manchester United were the biggest spenders in the January transfer window.

As an aside, Maguire would make 46 appearances in all competitions, providing 3 assists. Everton’s Moise Kea would bag 4 in 25, while Andy Carroll would manage 3 goals in 6 starts for Newcastle.

Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa swapped Italy for England in a £98m move that would see him pick up 8 goals in 23 games in all competitions from January.

Man City would splash £67m on Mauro Icardi from Inter and Donny van de Beek from Ajax for £35.5m while Liverpool would finally make a move adding Alex Grimaldo (LB) from SLB for a fee of £34.5m, rising to £43.5m.

The Standouts

From a player point of view, Harry Kane does the business for Spurs, picking up 21 goals in the league from 31 appearances.

He wasn’t the top scorer though. Nope. That honour went to Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson who nabbed 22 goals with a further 3 assists, pipping Kane and Sergio Aguero (21)

Liverpool’s Alisson managed to keep 20 clean sheets in the league, with Hugo Lloris and David de Gea (both 16) nipping at his heels.

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Team Of The Year

2019/20 Premier League Team of the Year
2019/20 Premier League Team of the Year

The Manager Carousel

Funnily enough, there wasn’t a lot of movement but for the end of the table. Even Steve Bruce managed to hold onto his Newcastle seat.

Daniel Farke would be sacked as Norwich manager in February, Mark Hughes taking over on a permanent basis in March. Ralph Hasenhutti would be sacked as Southampton boss in Christmas week. His replacement? None other than Marcelo Bielsa.

UItimately-relagated Aston Villa would have Dean Smith sacked in early December with John Terry taking over until the end of April as caretaker manager. With the club looking screwed out of the league, Terry was let go with Sam Allardyce making a return to the big leagues to start the Championship reboot in 2020.

What about the Championship?

For the Leeds fans, there’s no joy this time out. Expected to win the Championship, Brentford took the crown. Derby are runners up with Nottingham Forest also making the jump up by clinching the playoffs.

Oh, and Atletico beat Barcelona by 6 points to claim the La Liga title.

What do you reckon – could it all play out this way?

FANTASY CODE: Join the KCLR Fantasy Premier League, use the code box3lf today!

Ken McGuire

A life-long Liverpool supporter and lover of hurling and local rugby, Ken writes and shoots for KCLR Fanzone and presents KCLR Drive, weekdays 3-5.30pm. He rambles about food too at kenonfood.com
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