Manchester United are preparing for their first season of the Erik ten Hag era, but a supercomputer has predicted disappointment.
The 2022/23 season is officially underway in England following the Community Shield which was won by Liverpool against Manchester City, and fans are seriously excited for the return of the Premier League on 5 August.
United finished sixth in a dismal campaign last season that saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked and Ralf Rangnick underwhelm on interim basis, but a fresh start under Ten Hag has given fans hope following a promising pre-season.
With Liverpool and City looking as strong as ever, Arsenal and Tottenham appearing resurgent and Chelsea perhaps in for a whirlwind end to the transfer window, there is an air of unpredictability at the top of the table.
That extends down through the pack, too, with plenty of teams tipped to be in the hunt for European football and newcomers Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest and Fulham all tasked with retaining Premier League status throughout the 38-game slog.
Consider also the added factor of the winter break to make room for the World Cup later in the year, it’s hard to envisage a scenario where this season isn’t wildly unpredictable throughout the campaign.
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However, FiveThirtyEight have called on a supercomputer to do their best to predict how it might pan out, and the results are certainly interesting.
The data from the supercomputer provides a full prediction of what the table will look like come the end of the season, as well as details on goal difference, points, position throughout the season and the chances of teams being relegated, qualifying for the Champions League and winning the league.
For United fans, those details make for dismal reading. Despite the optimism that has come from losing just once so far in pre-season, the supercomputer has predicted the Red Devils to finish sixth as they did last season.
And what’s worse, it states that they have a mere 1% chance of winning the Premier League, and just an 18% chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
No United fan probably realistically expected a title charge in Ten Hag’s first season at Old Trafford, nor does the supercomputer’s prediction mean that cannot happen. But it is concerning, and certainly a mood killer.
Elsewhere, noisy neighbours City are predicted to win the Premier League yet again with Liverpool falling short in second, with a mere 30% chance of winning the title themselves.
Arsenal are also expected to miss out on the top four at the expense of Tottenham once again, despite enjoying such a flawless pre-season, but still finish ahead of United in fifth.
At the bottom of the table, the supercomputer doesn’t hold out any hope for the newly promoted sides. Nottingham Forest are predicted to finish bottom, followed by Bournemouth in 19th and Fulham in 18th. Southampton are tipped to narrowly miss out on the drop; a worrying sign for the Saints.
However, what is important to remember among all the fun and games of supercomputers is that this is a prediction. The reality is that the Premier League is wildly unpredictable and will grip us with its ever-changing storylines throughout the coming campaign.
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