We are less than a week away from the opening day of a new Premier League season and as my last post stated, I am excited to get things started.
So excited in fact that I used FIFA 19 on the Playstation 4 to simulate how this season would end up for Palace as well as the rest of the league.
Before I dig in, a few disclaimers I want to address. One, I have painstakingly updated all of the Premier League rosters as of 3rd August with a few exceptions.
That means no Moise Kean for Everton as he was announced a day later. I’ve also taken the liberty of adding Harry Maguire to Manchester United’s squad and I hope I did not jinx anything by adding Victor Camarasa to Palace (at the time it sounded very real and it was only a matter of time before he joined the club!). Knowing how things go with the club, the deal has already fallen through and we are left scratching our heads but I’m trying to be positive here.
Now for the fun stuff
How I went about simulating the upcoming season was firstly adding the new Premier League clubs to the top league. Hello to Aston Villa, Norwich City, and Sheffield United. I also simulated the season 20 times. That means, scrolling over to the calendar option, skipping ahead until 29th May, and hitting the simulate button. I then recorded my data, exited career mode, and did it all over again.
What I learned early on is that while the game would take care of any injury concerns that Palace would have, it did not sign a single player during the January transfer window in any of the 20 simulations. Every Palace fan knows that the club always waits until 31st January to find a loanee player to keep us afloat and the fact that the game did not do this for me, negatively effected the average position for Palace.
Let’s take a look at how FIFA19 thinks this season will play out
I have listed teams below in the overall place in the table based on their average points tally according to my 20 simulated seasons.
Liverpool – 72.20 points – Champions 4 times
Spurs – 71.85 points – Champions 5 times
Manchester City – 71.20 points – Champions 6 times
Manchester United – 66.35 points – Champions 2 times
Arsenal – 64.80 points – Champions 3 times
Chelsea – 60.75 points – Highest finish was 2nd
Everton – 58.95 points – Highest finish was 2nd
Wolveerhampton Wanderers – 53.30 points – Highest finish was 4th
West Ham United – 51.60 points – Highest finish was 4th
Leicester City – 47.75 points – Highest finish was 4th
Bournemouth – 46.15 points – Highest finish was 9th
Newcastle United – 44.50 points – Finished in the relegation zone 4 times
Brighton & Hove Abion – 43.35 points – Highest finish was 4th. They were never relegated which surprised me, FIFA must have a developer that is a Brighton fan.
Burnley – 42.25 points – Relegated twice
Watford – 41.85 points – Highest finish was 7th, also relegated three times
Crystal Palace – 41.20 points – Relegated 5 times
Norwich City – 39.70 points – Relegated 7 and narrowly avoids simulated relegation
Aston Villa – 39.60 points – Relegated 7 times
Southampton – 37.20 points – Relegated in 11 of the 20 simulated seasons
Sheffield United – 29.50 points – Relegated in all but one simulated season
To recap how the table will look according to FIFA19
The top four consists of first time Premier League champions Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester City, and Manchester United. The teams being sent to the Championship are Aston Villa (by the slimmest of margins), Southampton and Sheffield United.
Some other interesting stats taken from the simulation
Spurs won the most FA Cups with a count of 4 with Liverpool, Manchester City, and Manchester United each tallying 3 victories. Southampton actually won the FA Cup twice and Arsenal, Newcastle, Everton, Bournemouth and yes, the hated Seagulls each won a single FA Cup. Liverpool was also runner up in 4 finals and Chelsea did the same in 3 simulations. Palace made an appearance in the final, losing out to Liverpool 3-0 in one of the seasons.
I also kept track of the Golden Boot winner from each simulation as well as the top scorer for Palace and believe it or not, they never overlapped. The average number of goals for a Golden Boot winner was 19.70 and Harry Kane took home the most trophies with 6. Alexander Lacazette finished top 4 times, Sadio Mane 3, Leroy Sane and Richarlison each finished with 2. Other players to win a Golden Boot title were Jota from Wolves, Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Anwar El Ghazi from Aston Villa.
As for Palace’s top scorer, it wasn’t pretty. Andros Townsend led the charge in half of the simulations with a high tally of 12 goals scored (done three times). He was followed by Christian Benteke, Jordan Ayew, and Wilfreid Zaha, each recording 5 seasons where they were either tied or scored the most goals for the club. The interesting thing about Zaha I found was that he rarely played more than 20 games in a season. I’m not sure if that was due to injury or the in game version of Roy Hodgson trying to sabotage the season, but I found it curious none the less.
Lastly, the three teams most likely to be promoted according to the simulations were West Bromwich Albion, Fulham and Leeds United. They finished at the top of the Championship table in pretty much every simulation and reap the benefits of being in the Premier League for the 2020/21 season.
So what does this all mean?
Well, nothing really. It was a fun way for me to pass a few hours on a Saturday but I do think there is merit to a lot of what the simulation had to offer. Will Liverpool win their first Premier League title? Do Wolves continue their accent in becoming that formidable club just outside of the top six? Will Palace fans be forced to endure another season in a relegation scrap? Only time will tell. And thankfully, that time begins this Friday. Another season awaits.
UP THE PALACE!!!