How Did We Do? Re-Visiting Season Predictions

Once upon a time in a land far away, there was a blog that did season predictions. And now we get to laugh at them because they are fools.

Isaiah’s Predictions:

  1. Barcelona (nailed it!)
  2. Atletico Madrid (off by -1)
  3. Real Madrid (off by 1)
  4. Sevilla (off by -3)
  5. Valencia (off by -7)
  6. Athletic Bilbao (off by -1)
  7. Villarreal (off by 3 — obviously I meant to switch Sevilla and Villarreal! Obviously!)
  8. Real Sociedad (off by -1)
  9. Malaga (off by 1)
  10. Espanyol (off by -3)
  11. Getafe (off by relegation levels of crap)
  12. Celta Vigo (off by 6)
  13. Real Betis (off by 3)
  14. Sporting Gijon (off by -3)
  15. Levante (off by really, really relegated levels of crap)
  16. Granada (nailed it!)
  17. Rayo Vallecano (off by -1, to their relegated chagrin)
  18. Deportivo La Coruña (off by 3)
  19. Eibar (off by 5)
  20. Las Palmas (off by 9! Holy yowza!)

Okay, so nerd time: thanks to friggin’ Las Palmas, I was off by an average of 3.15 places (spot on with 2 predictions, off by just 1 with 6 teams). I claim some sort of moral victory for that prediction, but man, if Atleti had beaten Levante, of all teams, I would have been spot on 4 times! That’s 20% of the time and 20% is basically perfection, right?

Here are my other predictions from the season, also with comments:

Pichichi: Cristiano Ronaldo (50) — Thankfully, it was Suarez with 40 and little ol’ flex-o-matic “only” got 35 (with 6 penalties)

Most Assists: Lionel Messi (30) — Nailed it! Or at least according to Fotmob, which is now the only source of stats I will look at. Tied with Suarez, with 16.

Most Goals (Team): Barcelona (112) – Nailed it! Like, exactly. 112 goals! Thanks for the last day hat trick, Mr. Pistolero.

Fewest Goals (Team): Las Palmas (25) – Las Palmas netted 45 goals, 9 more than the league-lowest 34 Real Betis managed…one place above them in tenth. What?

Most Clean Sheets: Atletico Madrid (19) – Nailed it! But no real prize there. They got 24 clean sheets just in La Liga.

Best Signing: Jackson Martinez – Okay maybe from a profit standpoint? But yeah, no.

Worst Signing: Alvaro Negredo – I don’t even know how to quantify this so, I’ll just say nailed it?


Bonus Prediction!

Copa del Rey Champions: Real Madrid – hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha take a breath hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Levon’s predictions:

  • Barça 2nd (or even third!), but a run at the CL. – Nooooope.

Kevin’s predictions:

  1. Atletico Madrid – (off by -2, having also given Jackson Martinez a nod as a great signing)
  2. Barcelona – (off by 1)
  3. Real Madrid – (off by 1)

Better luck next year, to all of us.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


  1. Any body have the no. of through balls Messi had in the season, please..
    Was talking with someone, who argues Barca has infact fecked away a vast majority his through balls and possible assists. Looking at that video posted here a couple of days back, that might be true. Still..

    1. From Whoscored:

      Messi… “As one would expect, the numbers behind Messi’s rating of 8.46 – the best in Europe’s top five leagues – speak for themselves. The 28-year-old ranked first for clear-cut chances created (37), accurate through balls (34) and WhoScored man of the match awards (13) in Spain’s top tier this term, while podiuming for successful dribbles (117), shots (158) and successful final third passes (792), not to mention 77 key passes, the joint-fourth best in La Liga this season. Messi ends the season as a title winner and with it WhoScored’s best rated player of the campaign once more.”

      Neymar…. “Their domestic domination was in part down to Neymar’s stunning form on the left of Barcelona’s attack, with the 24-year-old completing more dribbles (143), playing more key passes (102) and being fouled more times (130) – in turn winning Barcelona eight penalties, also the most – than any other player in La Liga as opponents tried and failed to stop the Brazil international. He was directly involved in 40 goals (26 goals, 16 assists) in the league to ensure Barcelona ended the campaign top of the Primera Division for the 24th time.”

  2. Ok, time to own up. I think I started mine by saying I hadn’t a clue but finally settled on. Word for word below.

    “We still have the best forward line in world football by a mile but we did well last year with injuries and can’t hope for the same. Our subs there are a step down from Pedro.

    There are signs we’ve lost our discipline at the back in terms of ensuring sufficient numbers back and we still , imo, don’t have a consistent pairing. TV could come into the equation though which would be useful.

    Which brings me to the midfield. Not a weak area as such but not a strength we can fall back on if in bother and for me if the midfield isn’t hacking it the biggest problem is that Messi immediately falls deep, leaving him a lot to do to be on the end of balls as well.

    My final worry is still LE. Has he learned from the mistakes he made last year ? I don’t agree, for different reasons with his rating of some players ( Mathieu, Rafinha, Rakitic, Gumbau and Samper. ) and I worry that he is trying to build a much more physical squad which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

    So, sticking a pin into my crystal ball ( is that a mixed metaphor? Not sure. ) I reckon we’re gonna miss out on the big two and LE will depart at the end of an acrimonious season though he may surprise me by continuing to adapt his thinking. ”

    Bit of a painful seat on the fence at the end there but not way off. Lost the CL, came within a game of blowing the league and Messi’s injury although we coped better than I thought we could. Reckon Mathieu has come good at CB when played but def less discipline in defence for me. However, way off beam with LE’s departure. Wonder what would’ve happened had we blown the league on the last day though ?

    Anyway, just a bit of fun and doesn’t count unless you’ve backed it up at the bookies as my wife said to me last week on returning from the local races when I questioned her placing some of our retirement currency on an obviously asthmatic malingerer of a grey instead of my pick, chosen while rewatching it on TV.

    Some other quick thoughts. Foto, I reckon it’s inevitable that we muck up most of Messi’s balls. Most of them are impossible and the path only exists for a fraction of a second while he dispatches it . If I can’t see them coming on tele I can’t get onto anyone else for not seeing them or finishing them all. Speeding ball meets speeding player add first touch necessary and you have a low percentage on your hands.

    Did I see that they are adding synthetic element to our new pitch ? Hmm, never seen one that didn’t push up number of injuries or slow down ball circulation but they must have thought about this.

    Finally, enough already LE. Promote Samper now ! He’s the only world class youngster I’ve seen on our books last season, he knows our system so no adjustment time and he’s cheap beyond our wildest dreams. He’s also taylormade for a team which has continual possession, can’t lose it and none of the rest of the league offer that so a loan is a waste.

    1. barcastuff ‏@barcastuff May 16
      Barcelona played 84 through balls in the Liga this season, at least 47 more than any other team #fcblive [via opta] – More than one third of those through balls are from Messi. Neymar too seems to have made a lot of them. Which actually is not an excellent pointer of our midfield.

      Jim, the only difference in opinon, on the conversion of the through ball is that most of the time a player did manage to get to the ball in time, but then failed!

    2. Well, I think your criticism of the midfield is not entirely fair. Often I would think a midfielder would be the one receiving the pass in these situations. Or else, Suarez. Isn’t part of the strategy to get the ball the “wingers” who will then create (and sometimes receive a pass back as they come running into the box following their pass)? In other words: midfielders get the ball to Messi and Ney, and then they run into the box to create space (for themselves or for the winger, by occupying defenders). To me, this is using the players’ strength wisely – would you rather that Rakitic should do the creating? He has two options: pass forward or (more often) back to the def. Messi & Ney have many more tools to use and should be at the creative end of things. It is no coincidence that Messi’s runs into the box have decreased – and hence he scores less but creates more.

  3. Well, Jim, for an alternative view on your performance, in all honesty I think you missed nearly all of them! By missed I mean ‘not right’ — for example saying we’ll miss out on the big two and that LE will be gone means if we get one of the big two, and LE is still here, you’re wrong. Not ‘close’, but, ahem, well, wrong.

    Regarding the forward line and injuries, when messi was out the team was on a tear!

    Regarding the back line, our de facto pair was Masche and Pique, and the defense was (in my view) very solid. I realize you’d prefer this not be our consistent pair, but if at the end of the season we see that they started nearly all the games, it means they were in fact our settled backline. This is not to say there weren’t blowout scorelines, but those are team collapses, not simple backline problems, if memory serves. TV was absent!

    Midfield did very well (hmmm…. wish I could say more to substantiate this, but the season ended successfully so it MUST mean the midfield did well), and when messi did fall back he also tended not to try and get on the receiving end of his own passes. The long diagonals were a new development that to mean suggest an understanding of this. By the end of the season the hints of a very strong midfield for next year are clear.

    We won one of the big two (let’s not be greedy, eh?) and are in the running for the minor one. By any measure, that is a success. LE has done exceptionally well in a very difficult job.

    1. Yup, DL. Definitely no cigar for me.

      To be fair, all I forecast was more injury problems for the forwards but you’re right I didn’t expect us to cope as well and I am surprised Neymar hasn’t been injured more given his style. Pretty happy to say I was wrong about the league (by one match) although right about CL. That’s not a disaster. Had we lost that one match I’d still be curious to know whether LE would have survived ( or if he’d have just walked away). We can agree to differ about the defence and mids ( I can see the strength in numbers but not sure yet about quality) although there’s no denying Pique / Masche are LE’s chosen pairing.

      Seems good news is on the way as far as sponsors are concerned which is comforting as I was just starting to get twitchy. Fascinating close season coming up. I have a growing feeling that all we might see coming in ( apart from recall of Suarez) is a younger CB, bought with the season after next in mind and not as much of a clear out as we thought. Which would leave us in contract do-do given the current expensive talks which must be ongoing at the moment . Not quite sure how we lower the average age of the team if that’s the case.

      I reckon that’s LE’s biggest challenge. It’s okay bringing in SR to fill a gap temporarily but are he, Rafinha, Suarez and Vidal really going to replace permanently any of our world class players ?

    2. The generation shift is definitely the big challenge within 1-3 seasons, even earlier for our key mid Iniesta. I think it is inevitable that there will be a dip in quality following this generation, and we should accept this. If LE (and whoever comes after him) can find a way to benefit from Messi’s qualities even when he starts to fade (peak was probably last season, when he combined striker/playmaker like he never will again), the blow from losing Iniesta might be softened. I agree with you, Jim, that Samper needs to start integrating already. He will be no Busquets, running the show almost from the start, but he is a good opportunity long term, especially if he is SR-patience.

      But if Samper works out reasonably in, say, two seasons, we buy a young and promising CB (to challenge Masch next season and then, hopefully, take over), retain Neymar and tend to La Masia, and possible transfers long-term… well, it might work out. I think Rafinha could be a real factor, but never top notch (like Denis), and SR will play a part (but never star, unless his RB skills keep improving). I have some hopes for Halilovic, but no place for him as long as Messi is RW. Munir? Who knows, but I would think he needs to go out on a loan to find his rhythm while bulking up a little.

      There will always be a post-Messi (& co) depression coming, but I think Neymar has the potential to carry the team on a world class level, given the right circumstances.

  4. So it seems we have a new deal with Nike for 10 years for 100m the year!Thats huge!I hope the rumours about Pepsi as our new sponsor be true.With 160m only from the two companies our future is safe.

  5. If the Nike deal is real, that is one hell of a piece of business. It also locks down Neymar for the foreseeable future. No way Nike pen that deal if they are not pretty damn sure that Ney is staying put for now. I bet the club announces both the Nike deal and the Ney contract renewal at the same time, they tie up very nicely.

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