Gary Neville recalls his Premier League pre-season predictions as ‘pretty accurate’… but how did he and Sky partner Jamie Carragher REALLY get on? And whose title race call proved to be dreadful?!
- Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher shared their mixed opinions last August
- The Sky duo had been quizzed for their views on some of the hottest topics
- Here, Mail Sport has looked at how both pundits have stacked up in hindsight
With the Premier League campaign reaching its climax, Gary Neville has delved back over his pre-season predictions and believes they are ‘pretty accurate’.
Before the top-flight drama got back underway last August, Manchester United legend Neville and his punditry partner, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, were quizzed for their opinions on several of the hottest topics at the time.
Alongside colleagues Roy Keane, Micah Richards and Jamie Redknapp, Neville and Carragher had their say on the title race, the clubs destined for relegation, the sides that would push the top two and United’s protracted Cristiano Ronaldo saga.
However, who out of the duo was closer with their guesses?
Here, Mail Sport has taken a look.
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher delivered their Premier League predictions in pre-season
The Sky Sports pundits had their say on the title race, with Manchester City tipped to win again
Who wins the title?
For this, Neville predicted Manchester City and is likely to be proven correct this weekend. Pep Guardiola’s side require just one more victory to retain their Premier League crown, while an Arsenal slip-up would also hand them the trophy.
Contrastingly, Carragher tipped Liverpool to win their second title under Jurgen Klopp. At the time, this would not have been a radical prediction, especially given the Reds had finished second behind City last year by just a single point.
But based on how the table now looks, Carragher may well be feeling red-faced.
Richards and Keane, incidentally, also picked City.
Carragher incorrectly tipped Liverpool to lift the trophy and may well now be feeling red-faced
Who will be relegated?
Suffice it to say that both Neville and Carragher incorrectly called the fight at the foot of the table, with neither pundit naming Southampton in the bottom three.
Indeed, all three of their respective picks are currently incorrect.
Neville instead predicted the three clubs promoted from the Championship last season – Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth – to go down.
In hindsight, Fulham are 10th and eight points clear of the bottom half of the table, while Bournemouth are safe and still may cross the 40-point milestone.
Forest, admittedly, are still in danger but do hold a three-point cushion over 18th.
Explaining his choices on The Overlap in August, Neville had said: ‘I’m going to go with the three that came up going straight back down.
‘The reason I say that is the inequality in terms of the actual money, is pushing it more that way [down] all the time.’
Carragher, meanwhile, chose Bournemouth, high-flying Brentford and Forest. He also admitted concern for Fulham but envisaged Marco Silva keeping them up.
Bizarrely, Fulham were mentioned in both relegation predictions despite their superb form
Who will push the top two?
Again, both Neville and Carragher were wide of the mark with their guesses. Indeed, the two men were unified in tipping Tottenham to be the best of the rest this season.
‘Spurs are the only one who could but something would have to go badly wrong for Liverpool and City for that to happen,’ Neville explained.
Carragher predicted Spurs to finish third in the absence of Chelsea, with Antonio Conte mentioned as the deciding factor in the Champions League chase. Their strong showings against Liverpool and City last year also helped sway his decision.
Neville also raised the alarm bells at Chelsea, pointing out they were unstable from the controversy that engulfed Roman Abramovich before his sale of the club.
‘It feels rocky, something doesn’t feel stable,’ he added.
Keane, giving his own verdict on Spurs, prophesised them finishing behind City and Liverpool, praising Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Conte.
‘Spurs could have a brilliant season,’ he said. ‘There’s expectation now at the club. I’ve said before they ultimately always let you down. Can they back it up?’
Tottenham were hailed as the side that would finish as the best of the rest this campaign
Cristiano Ronaldo – stick or twist?
United endured their worst ever Premier League campaign last season and the mood at Old Trafford was worsened by Cristiano Ronaldo handing in a transfer request.
The superstar expressed his desire to leave following a bitterly disappointing year which saw United miss out on the Champions League, and later forced home his stubbornness in an explosive, no holds barred TV interview with Piers Morgan.
But before his sit down and at the end of a dramatic summer at the club, Carragher and Neville vehemently disagreed over whether United should have sold the ace.
Neville urged his former team-mate to ‘settle down’ and declared that he had the power, strength and status to influence matches and the dressing room.
Carragher, though, said that offloading Ronaldo should have been Erik ten Hag’s first task as manager, believing that the situation had overshadowed the entire club.
Suggesting United’s goals flowed more freely without Ronaldo, he said: ‘You can put up with that if he’s one of the best players in the world – I don’t think he is right now.’
Finally, Keane insisted United had to ‘try and keep’ Ronaldo, believing the off-field tension involving the forward was not ‘as big of a deal as everyone’s making out.’
Neville believes Manchester United were right to keep Cristiano Ronaldo despite the tension
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