This week, BT commissioned our sister site Squawka to analyse vast amounts of Opta data and plot the course of the 2019/20 Premier League, Champions League and Europa League.
The result is The Script, which predicts the outcome of all 380 top-flight league games and European competitions to determine the winners, losers and nearly men of the upcoming season.
What was the methodology behind The Script’s predictions?
Here comes the science. Squawka calculated the attacking and defensive strengths of each team based on goals scored and conceded in recent seasons.
Then, using Google machine learning, it worked out the probability of every score for the season – factoring in variables such as injuries and transfers.
The result is The Script, which predicts the story of the season. While in reality it’s impossible to guarantee every match result, The Script offers a great steer on how the season could pan out.
Are you willing to take a punt on its main findings?
Manchester City to win the league
Liverpool fans, look away now. According to The Script, 2019/20 is another triumphant season for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
After a slow start, City will eventually triumph in the league – pulling together 11 consecutive victories over the festive period in the process. This time, 94 points will be enough to scoop the Premier League crown, with the Reds runners-up on 88 points.
Some shrewd betters will back City to win before Christmas, when Frank Lampard’s Chelsea will momentarily top the league before slipping to a fourth-place finish.
Newcastle United, Norwich City and Sheffield United to be relegated
After losing manager Rafa Benitez and top goalscorer Perez in the transfer window, relegation already seems likely for Newcastle United. The Script confirms they’re going down again.
According to the data, the Magpies will finish third from bottom with 37 points, having suffered humiliating losses to Aston Villa and Everton. That’ll make it three relegations in 11 years for the long-suffering Toon Army.
The Script also predicts a fifth Premier League relegation for Norwich City. The Canaries will finish second from bottom and concede 71 goals across the campaign. An opening-day demolition by Liverpool will set the tone for their season, with a heavy loss to Manchester City confirming relegation on the final day.
Despite a solid season for homegrown marksman Billy Sharp, Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United will also be relegated – finishing bottom of the league. Despite hope-inspiring wins against Crystal Palace and Spurs, the Blades will be heading down on 32 points.
Aston Villa to stay up
After pipping Derby County to promotion in the play-off final, Aston Villa will enjoy a season of relative stability in the top flight after three seasons in the Championship.
However, it won’t be plain sailing, with the Villains suffering heavy defeats at the hands of Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Hard-fought wins against Manchester United and Southampton later in the season will bring hope to the Villa faithful, with a home victory over Arsenal confirming their Premier League status.
Sterling to top Premier League assists
Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling will be involved in 30 goals during the Premier League season – scoring 17 himself and topping the assist chart with 13. Sterling will become the first player to register more than 10 assists and score more than 10 goals in three consecutive seasons.
The Script also predicts a resurgent season for Mesut Ozil, who’ll manage 11 assists – the same number as Arsenal team-mate Alex Iwobi and Manchester City playmaker Bernado Silva. Rising Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold will bag 10 assists from right-back.
Ederson to win the Golden Glove
A spectacular season between the sticks for Manchester City keeper Ederson will earn him the Golden Glove in 2019/20. The Script predicts he’ll keep 21 clean sheets over the course of the campaign, one ahead of Liverpool shot-stopper on 20.
Salah to win the Golden Boot
Liverpool’s Egyptian King Mohamed Salah will continue his world-class form into the coming season, winning the Golden Boot with 29 goals in the league. While Salah’s potency in front of goal will not quite be enough to clinch the title for the Reds, perhaps he’ll find some solace in equalling the record for three consecutive Premier League Golden Boot wins.
Spurs striker Harry Kane will be second-highest scorer with 24 goals, putting him 10th in the all-time Premier League list. Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Arsenal’s Aubameyang will both find the net 23 times.
Manchester City, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea to get Top 4 again
The race for the Champions League places will be as fierce as ever. But when the final whistle blows, it’ll be the same teams as last season occupying Top 4: Manchester City, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea.
Inconsistent campaigns will cause Arsenal and Manchester United to miss out – The Script has them finishing 5th and 6th respectively.
Manchester United to lose against Man City, twice
Manchester United will lose both Manchester derbies this season, for the first time in their 142-year history.
The gulf in quality between the two sides shows no sides of abating, with eyebrow-raising extended contracts for Smalling and Jones – not to mention the long-term appointment of Solskjaer – doing little to bridge the gap between the city rivals.
The disappointment doesn’t end there for United fans…
Tottenham to defeat Manchester United and win the Europa League
Spurs will see off Manchester United in the final of the Europa League, clinching a major trophy for the first time in 11 years with a tense 1-0 victory.
Arsenal will get knocked out by Manchester United in the quarter finals.
Real Madrid to win the Champions League
Real Madrid will get their hands on the Champions League trophy once again this season. The Spanish giants will beat Bayern Munich to triumph in Europe’s elite competition for a record 14th time.
Zinedine Zidane has never failed to win the Champions League as Real Madrid manager – and he’ll continue this incredible run in 2020.
How will British clubs fare? The English top two will be knocked out by the Spanish top two – with Manchester City crashing out to Real Madrid in the last 16, and Liverpool eliminated by Barcelona in the quarter finals.
Spurs will be sent packing in the group stages – but their Europa League triumph will more than make up for it.
Find out the rest of The Script’s predictions for the upcoming season.