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Everton at Atalanta, Manchester United: Writer Prediction League

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Our writers have made their bets for the week ahead.

Everton v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The Royal Blue Mersey writer prediction league is about to get a whole lot more interesting, as Everton begins participating in the Europa League group stage. More matches means more chances for our writers to pick up points — or more likely to make themselves look foolish.

Speaking of looking foolish, let’s briefly look back on last week’s predictions against Tottenham Hotspur. Eight of our writers predicted Everton would get at least a point at Goodison Park on Sunday...which did not work out well for them.

Those picks are below, with correct guesses in bold.

Spurs Prediction

Writer First Scorer Everton MOTM Winner Score Points
Writer First Scorer Everton MOTM Winner Score Points
Adam Calvert-Lewin Gueye Draw 1-1 0
Brian F. Kane Sigurdsson Draw 1-1 1
Brian L. Kane Sandro Tottenham 2-1 3
Callum Kane Calvert-Lewin Draw 1-1 1
Calvin Alli Gueye Tottenham 2-1 2
Chris Sandro Calvert-Lewin Everton 2-1 0
Matt Alli Klaassen Tottenham 3-1 2
Mike Kane Schneiderlin Tottenham 2-0 3
Sean Kane Schneiderlin Draw 1-1 1
Tom Kane Calvert-Lewin Draw 1-1 1
Tyler Calvert-Lewin Pickford Everton 2-1 1
Zach Sandro Sandro Draw 1-1 0

Six writers were rewarded for picking the obvious first goal scorer, Harry Kane, while another four writers earned two points for predicting a Spurs win. No one correctly predicted the extent of the loss, though.

Though it is still very early in the season, a few writers have already acquitted themselves very nicely in the prediction league, as the standings below indicate.

Prediction League Standings

Writer Points
Writer Points
Mike 79
Calvin 75
Brian F. 56
Matt 55
Brian L. 54
Sean 54
Chris 52
Adam 50
Tyler 49
Zach 49
Tom 46

Last year, Calvin won the prediction league with 70 points from 35 weeks of predictions — an average of 2 points per week. Right now, both Mike and Sean are above that two-per-week threshold, and in good shape to stay at the top of the table if they can keep that pace up.

They do face a new challenge this week though, as Everton travels to Atalanta and Manchester United. I suspect that the Europa League matches will be tough for us to predict this season — we know less about those opponents than Premier League teams, and squad rotation makes it difficult to accurately guess opening goalscorers and the Everton man of the match!

Suffice it to say that any writer who masters Europa League predictions may well win the entire league this season, at least if Everton makes a run into the knockout round.

Our picks for the first Europa League group stage match of the season are below.

Atalanta Predictions

Writer First Scorer Everton MOTM Winner Score Points
Writer First Scorer Everton MOTM Winner Score Points
Adam Gomez Lookman Draw 1-1 0
Brian F. Calvert-Lewin Gueye Draw 1-1 0
Brian L. Calvert-Lewin Calvert-Lewin Everton 2-0 0
Callum Sigurdsson Sigurdsson Draw 1-1 0
Calvin Gomez Gueye Atalanta 1-0 2
Chris Klaassen Klaassen Everton 2-0 0
Matt Rooney Rooney Everton 2-0 0
Mike None Pickford Draw 0-0 0
Sean Calvert-Lewin Sigurdsson Everton 1-0 0
Tom Petagna Pickford Draw 1-1 0
Tyler Rooney Keane Everton 1-0 0
Zach Sandro Sandro Everton 2-0 0

Atalanta has gotten off to a rough start to its Serie A season — losing to Roma and Napoli to start the season, before narrowly defeating Sassuolo last weekend. Our predictions are relatively positive as a result.

Only Calvin predicted an Atalanta victory, with the other picks pretty evenly split between an Everton win and a draw.

There are two interesting things to note here.

First, Mike has predicted the first 0-0 draw on record in the prediction league. If he’s right, he’ll automatically lock up five points (two for correct result, two for correct score, one for correct first goalscorer). It’s a bold move, but one that could see him create some serious early-season separation at the top of the table if he’s right.

Second, our first goalscorer and Everton man of the match predictions pull from a wide variety of attacking Everton players — Ademola Lookman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Davy Klaassen, Wayne Rooney, and Sandro Ramirez. The reality is that, at most, only four of these six players will start on Thursday, meaning that we’ll have some unhappy writers when lineups are announced!

The Manchester United predictions are significantly less interesting because the outcome of that match feels substantially more predetermined.

Manchester United Predictions

Writer First Scorer Everton MOTM Winner Score Points
Writer First Scorer Everton MOTM Winner Score Points
Adam Lukaku Gueye United 3-1 2
Brian F. Lukaku Pickford United 2-0 2
Brian L. Lukaku Rooney United 2-1 2
Callum Rashford Lookman Draw 1-1 0
Calvin Lukaku Pickford United 3-1 2
Chris Lukaku Baines United 4-0 4
Matt Lukaku Sigurdsson United 3-0 2
Mike Lukaku Rooney United 3-1 2
Sean Mkhitaryan Pickford United 2-0 2
Tom Lukaku Keane United 2-0 2
Tyler Lukaku Sigurdsson United 3-1 2
Zach Lukaku Pickford Draw 1-1 0

10 of 12 writers predict Romelu Lukaku will open the scoring — with the other two also predicting United to get on the board first. 10 of 12 writers also have United winning the match, with only two predicting a draw, and none an Everton win.

Even the final score predictions are gloomy — of the 10 writers who predicted an Everton defeat, only one thinks the Toffees will lose by only one goal. Matt and Chris have even predicted an utter annihilation at Old Trafford, picking 3-0 and 4-0 final scores, respectively.