The inaugural RoyalBlueMersey Writer Prediction League is drawing to a close, as Everton’s final match of the season approaches. The Toffees close the season at Arsenal, where the Gunners will likely need a victory to keep hopes of a Champions League place alive.
Everton, of course, has nothing left to play for but pride, as the club has been locked into a seventh-place finish for several weeks now. That lack of motivation has been the partial cause of an uninspiring run of matches, the most recent of which was a 1-0 victory over Watford.
The victory ended a miserable three-week winless streak, but it wasn’t exactly a joy to behold. Fortunately for our writers though, nearly all of us got to celebrate earning some points in the prediction league. Our guesses for that match are below, with correct picks in bold.
Among participating writers, Brian L. and Chris didn’t earn two points for correctly choosing Everton as the winner of the match. Nobody picked a 1-0 scoreline, though three writers correctly guessed Tom Davies would be voted Everton’s man of the match.
Brian L. also picked up an additional point for correctly forecasting that Ross Barkley would open the scoring at Goodison Park.
These results made things extremely interesting in the prediction league standings.
Calvin picked up one more point than I did last week, bringing us into a tie for first place heading into the final week of the season! The battle for places three through seven is very much alive as well, but the most interesting point is at the top of the table.
With Arsenal facing a virtual must-win and Everton lacking any kind of positive performance over the last month, it should come as no surprise that our predictions this week largely lack confidence. Those picks are below.
Only Sean has picked Everton to pull out a victory, with Brian F., Matt, and Tyler predicting draws. Everyone else has Arsenal beating the Toffees, with 2-0, 3-1, 3-0, and 2-1 all accruing votes.
Alexis Sanchez drew more than half of the opening goalscorer votes -- the Chilean will need one goal to catch Lukaku for second in the Golden Boot race, and three to catch Harry Kane. Lukaku also received three votes in that category — he’ll need two goals to tie Kane atop the leaderboard, but will probably need three to beat the Tottenham man, as Kane holds the tiebreaker.
The man of the match voting revolves around the center of midfield, with Morgan Schneiderlin, Idrissa Gueye, and Tom Davies all accruing multiple votes. Ross Barkley and Leighton Baines both got a vote as well.
Calvin and I will be watching nervously, as three of our four prediction categories are different, leaving a pretty good chance that this match will decide the prediction league! If we end in a tie, one or more tiebreaker / playoff formats will be settled upon.