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Monday, May 23, 2011

Prediction League Review

Another season over, and history was made in the Soccer AM/MW history with the Prediction League crown being successfully defended for the first time ever.

In truth, the race for the title, convincingly won by Nobes once again, wouldn't win any prizes for its drama. The defending champion led from the front throughout - spending a remarkable 37 out of 41 weeks on top.

However, it was the second half of the season form from Lakes - which saw the perennial wooden spoon winner put pressure on the leader which was arguably the story of the season.

Here's the story of how the race transpired.

Weeks 1-5

Turls topped the first table, but it wasn't long before Nobes got into his stride, scoring four points and then three points in successive weeks to build up a four point advantage over Lakes at the top.

1. Nobes - 14
2. Lakes - 10

3. Turls - 8

Weeks 6-10

At the top, Nobes was determined to stay there with ten points in the next five rounds seeing him pull further away at the top. He now had a seven point margin over his rivals.

Turls moved into second with ten points of his own, but Lakes wasn't far behind. The two would continue to run one another close all season.

1. Nobes - 24
2. Turls - 18

3. Lakes - 17

Weeks 10-15

The fightback begins. After his blistering start, Nobes continued at a decent pace, but found himself outgunned by his rivals.

Lakes had a sensational period, collecting 15 points - and Turls with 14 also had an impressive run of predictions. The pair were separated by just the number of spot-on predictions, and Nobes' lead at the top was down to three.

1. Nobes - 35
2. Turls - 32

3. Lakes - 32

Weeks 16-20

After the feast came the famine, with low scoring all round between Weeks 16 and 20. However, it produced a dramatic finish.

Nobes went three weeks without scoring, which allowed Turls and Lakes to catch up with the defending champion and leave them all locked on the same number of points at the end of Week 20.

It was unprecedented, and they had to be separated by the number of spot on predictions they each had. However, Turls and Lakes found themselves equal on both that score as well as the number of points won from their own team.

1. Nobes - 38
2. Lakes - 38

= Turls - 38

Weeks 21-25

What he had been threatening to do finally came to fruition in Week 22, as Lakes topped the Prediction League table for the first time in the season.

Week 21 had seen him bottom, with Nobes and Turls joint top, but Lakes hit back with seven points in Week 22. Turls bagged four points himself, as Nobes was dumped to the bottom.

By the end of Week 23, Lakes sat six points ahead of Nobes and had a three point advantage at the top. He was the man in form at the mid point of the campaign.

However, like all good champions, Nobes responded in emphatic fashion. He was back up to second by Week 24 and then an amazing Week 25 saw him collect ten points.

Now he was back on top and held a four point lead over Lakes - who could barely believe the turnaround. Little did he know Nobes wouldn't relinquish top spot again.

1. Nobes - 59
2. Lakes - 55

3. Turls - 50

Weeks 26-30

After the drama of recent weeks, the next phase saw little action. Nine points saw Nobes cement his position at the top. A second successive crown was looking ominous.

Having led the table for a few weeks, Lakes suddenly found himself in familiar territory in rock bottom spot at the end of Week 30 though. Turls having found some form to edge ahead by a point.

1. Nobes - 68
2. Turls - 63

3. Lakes - 62

Weeks 31-35

Lakes soon picked himself off the bottom, dumping Turls into third - where he'd remain for the rest of the season.

He then set about closing in on Nobes at the top and reduced a nine point deficit at the end of Week 34 to just four by the end of Week 35. He was hitting form as the season reached its climax.

1. Nobes - 78
2. Lakes - 74

3. Turls - 70

Weeks 36-41

It seemed the story of the season was Nobes saving his best form for whenever his position at the top came under the greatest threat.

The defending champion racked up six points in Week 36 to re-establish a healthy nine point lead over Lakes in second. The title looked destined to go his way.

Lakes cut it back to six the next week, but by the end of Week 38 Nobes sat ten clear at the summit - with Lakes conceding the title only to remember the play off matches still to take place.

Given fresh hope, he scored six points in Week 39 and now was closing in on Nobes - just five points behind.

However, it was to prove too much and five more points in the final two rounds were enough to secure Nobes a healthy win over his rivals.

Lakes managed to hold off a late rally from Turls, who ended up just three points behind in.

Final table

1. Nobes - 97
2. Lakes - 89

3. Turls - 87

In the end, an eight point margin gave Nobes a comfortable win in the Prediction League.

However, it's a sign of how poor the lads were this season compared to last that Lakes, who finished bottom in 2009/10, actually scored 108 points last season.

All three of the lads struggled to match their previous form, with Turls in particular struggling to predict games spot on - he got just seven scorelines all season correct.

He was also the most reliant on his own team for points, with 35 of his total coming from matches involving Forest.

It's probably to be expected that Nobes, with 17, secured the most spot on predictions, but he also picked up the fewest number of points from his own side's games.

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