Aaron Ramsey’s late goal against Everton on Sunday may have been the most meaningless goal in a Toffees’ match this season.
Everton was already locked into seventh place and losing 2-1 to Arsenal, who could only watch Liverpool clinch fourth place and a Champions League spot. The Welshman’s perfectly curled effort changed little on the pitch, but it firmly decided the RoyalBlueMersey writer prediction league.
Entering the final match of the season, Calvin and I (Adam) were deadlocked on points at the top of the Prediction League table — but Calvin picked a 3-1 Arsenal victory, which was confirmed by Ramsey’s late strike! With all the points from the season tallied, our final standings looked like this:
Congrats to Calvin! With that said, it is now time to hand out the end-of-season awards for our prediction league!
The Romelu Lukaku League Title Award - Calvin
Given that A) Lukaku was Everton’s best player this season, and B) Lukaku’s final-match penalty helped Calvin clinch the title, it seems fitting that we name our league title trophy after the big Belgian.
Calvin was consistently at or near the top of the table all season, though he needed Ramsey’s final strike to clinch the title and avoid a playoff with yours truly. Bitter though I may be, Calvin was the most consistent performer all season long, and deserved to win the league.
The Aston Villa “What the Hell Happened?” Award - Matt
In all competitions, somebody has to come in last place. That’s the nature of competitive endeavors — and there’s no shame in being the unfortunate soul that winds up looking up at all the other participants.
That being said, there’s coming in last...and there’s struggling at near epic proportions. Sorry Matt, but picking up 33 points from 40 matches in all competitions is very very bad — somewhat akin to 2015-16 Aston Villa, who picked up an astonishing 17 points last season!
There’s good news though Matt — no relegation in our prediction league!
The Oumar Niasse “Too Little, Too Late” Award - Brian F. and Chris
Everton’s out-of-favor striker Oumar Niasse left the Toffees on loan in January to join Hull City, a club seemingly destined for relegation. Niasse played well, for the most part, and nearly guided his team to safety. But, his four goals and one assist weren’t enough to guide Hull out of the bottom three.
Similarly, Brian F. and Chris joined our writing staff halfway through the season, and were awarded a starting pool of points based on the average number of points held by the other writers. That put them in a spot that made it incredibly difficult to catch up to the league leaders.
To their credit, they averaged about 1.83 points per week — which over the course of a full season, would have been good enough for third place. Instead though, they were stuck with a mid-table finish.
The Jake Livermore “Is This Really the Best England Can Do?” Award - Tom and Sean
Once again today, England inexplicably released a national team roster that included Jake Livermore. Just let that sink in for a moment.
For a country with a rich footballing history, plenty of domestic talent, and a new manager, surely England can do better than Jake Livermore, right?
Speaking of disappointing Englishmen, only two of RBM’s writers are from England — Tom and Sean...who finished seventh and eighth out of our 11 competitors this season!
The Steven Gerrard “Slipped at the Finish” Award - Adam
We can all enjoy this GIF for a moment or two, right?
In seriousness though, Gerrard’s slip and fall that ultimately took his team out of the title race, while the Premier League trophy was so close to his grasp, is one of the most memorable failures of modern football.
For the first time in my life, I can say that I relate to Steven Gerrard. With two weeks to go in the season, I held a one-point lead on Calvin, but failed to put him away. Calvin tied things up going into the final week of the season, then surpassed me on the final day with Ramsey’s late goal.
At least I can take solace in the fact that Gerrard messed up more grandly on a much bigger stage.