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Pundits’ pre-season predictions for best young player, most exciting signing, and Golden Boot winner revealed


Ahead of the season a selection of pundits gave their predictions for who would finish in the top four, which team would be the ‘surprise package’ and which promoted team would perform the best in the top flight – see here.

Some were close to the mark in areas, but for the most part widely off target in predicting Chelsea would finish in the top four and Everton would be the ‘surprise package’.

The same pundits also predicted who would win the Golden Boot, which young player would announce himself on the Premier League, and which summer signing would prove to be the best bit of business.

Below we look at the pre-season predictions and see how close to the mark the pundits were.

No one foresaw Mohamed Salah setting the Premier League alight this season

Phil Neville

Golden boot: Harry Kane/ Romelu Lukaku

Most exciting signing: Bernardo Silva

Best young player: Jordan Pickford

Phil Neville was close with his Golden boot prediction, opting for a joint-winner of Kane and Manchester United’s £75million summer signing Lukaku.

Kane won the award in both the 2015/16 and 2016/17 campaigns, while Lukaku scored just four goals fewer than the Englishman last season.

Phil Neville had high hopes for Jordan Pickford

But Kane – along with the rest of the Premier League – was blown away by Salah.

Neville also made a good choice in selecting Silva for most exciting signing, but was perhaps off the mark slightly with Pickford, given Everton’s season.

Michael Owen

Golden boot: Alexandre Lacazette

Most exciting signing: Romelu Lukaku

Best young player: Jordan Pickford

Overlooking Kane as the obvious choice ahead of the season, Michael Owen went for Lacazette as the most likely man to win the Golden Boot.

But Lacazette managed a measly 14 league goals in his debut campaign – a staggering 18 less than the winner of the award, Salah.

Michael Owen was off the mark tipping Alexandre Lacazette for greatness

Lukaku looked like a good pick for most exciting signing early doors as he netted three goals in his first two fixtures, but suffered a drop in form over the Christmas period, and was completely upstaged by Salah.

Like Neville, Owen selected Pickford as his best young player of the season, who was beaten to the award by Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.

Owen Hargreaves

Golden boot: N/A

Most exciting signing: N/A

Best young player: Gabriel Jesus

Owen Hargreaves overlooked both the Golden Boot and most exciting signing awards categories, but was confident Jesus would be this season’s best young player.

Jesus appeared to be ushering Sergio Aguero out of the Manchester City team in the campaign before this one but faced serious resistance from the Argentine this season.

Owen Hargreaves
Owen Hargreaves predicted Gabriel Jesus would lead Man City to glory

Aguero managed 21 league goals to Jesus’ 13 and created six goals – three more than his younger team-mate.

Peter Schmeichel

Golden boot: N/A

Most exciting signing: Victor Lindelof

Best young player: N/A

Like Hargreaves, Peter Schmeichel also overlooked two categories but selected Victor Lindelof as his pick for most exciting signing of the season.

Manchester United splashed out £31million on the Swedish centre-back, who many expected to slot straight into the Red Devils’ first team.

Peter Schmeichel was wildly off the mark tipping Victor Lindelof to set England alight

But Lindelof made just 17 unconvincing appearances for Manchester United this season, and may well be sent on loan in the summer.

Trevor Sinclair

Golden boot: Sergio Aguero

Most exciting signing: N/A

Best young player: Dominic Solanke

Trevor Sinclair overlooked the most exciting signing of the season, but picked Aguero as the man most likely to win the Golden Boot.

To be fair to Sinclair, the pundit correctly predicted a resurgence from the Argentine, who helped fire his side to the title with 21 goals – the third most in the league this season. But Sinclair let himself down by picking Solanke as best young player.

Trevor Sinclair had high hopes for Dominic Solanke

The Liverpool striker has made just 21 league appearances this season, and has mostly been used as part of a rotation system, while the first team stars rested up ahead of crucial Champions League matches.

More worryingly, the young Englishman managed just one goal all season.

Lee Dixon

Golden boot: Harry Kane

Most exciting signing: Gabriel Jesus

Best young player: Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Like Neville, Lee Dixon made the obvious choice by selecting Kane as the most likely winner of the Golden Boot.

However he seems to have got his wires crossed in naming Jesus as the most exciting signing ahead of the season, considering he joined Manchester City in the campaign before.

Lee Dixon
Lee Dixon tipped Harry Kane to win a third consecutive Golden Boot

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was picked as Dixon’s potential best young player, and despite showing glimpses of class, didn’t play enough to even be considered for the award.

Maitland-Niles made just 15 appearances in the Premier League, and unlike the eventual winner of the award, Sane, failed to inspire his team to victory.

Robbie Earle

Golden boot: Romelu Lukaku

Most exciting signing: Alvaro Morata

Best young player: Jordan Pickford

Robbie Earle appeared to be on the money early doors with his prediction for Golden Boot, after the Belgian’s start to the season.

But as aforesaid, Lukaku’s mid-season lull left him with too much catching up to do in the business end of the campaign.

Robbie Earle thought Alvaro Morata would be better than he has been

Many expected Morata to set the Premier League alight after joining Chelsea for £60million, but for the most part the Spaniard was unable to lace the boots of Diego Costa, the man he came in to replace.

Like Owen and Neville, Earle tipped Pickford to assert himself on the Premier League this season, but despite the odd standout save, suffered as a result of Everton’s woeful season.

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