FFP Inconsistencies & Title Race Predictions

10th April 2024

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The irony in Everton winning their first league game for almost 4 months and then losing 2 of those 3 points cannot be overstated. This week the Toffees have been punished again by FFP rules and have now lost a total of 8 points this season. When the club could have been on 35 points and heading for their best placed finish in 3 years they are back in a relegation fight. There is much to discuss here and first and foremost we have to wonder if the independent inquiry is not snatching figures from mid air? Granted Everton have broken FFP rules- there have been circumstances to that though- from the war between Russia and Ukraine, to Covid and the building of the new stadium. Despite Everton being badly run at times if we put the two FFP charges together we get a ballpark figure that Everton have overspent by £35m. For that they have lost 8 points, does that set the bar for all teams then, unfortunately no- and this is when the FFP charges start to fall apart. We have already witnessed Nottingham Forest losing 4 points this season, how much did they overspend by? £34m. It doesn't add up. Now if we just take into account Everton's first charge which was overspending by £19m the club were docked 10 points, let's put it to one side that on appeal Everton got 4 points back. The bottom line is that the enquiry believed that Everton overspending by £19m was punishable by 10 points. Nottingham Forest overspent by almost double that figure and judging by that should they have not have lost at least 17 points? Now being deducted 17 points just seems unfair in the very essence of gamesmanship because that would have meant Forest being relegated and relegated off the pitch, it just seems wrong however if the inquiry wanted to be consistent and have set the bar that high then why did they not do so?

This is worrying for the game, consistency always has been. From pre VAR officiating to VAR itself, it is still one rule for some and one for rule for others. We already know that a few more clubs are going to be facing charges. And it is ironic that the more you break, the worse you are in your overall charges then the longer it takes, the longer you have to prepare for the worst, in Manchester City's case. The summer of 2025 has been earmarked as a final hearing for City being charged with 115 counts going back to 2009. Chelsea are in the firing line too, but here's the catch; Chelsea have so much money and so many players that are sellable that if they offload 2 or 3 they will be back in the favour of the FFP, so do these charges in effect punish the clubs with the lower budgets and will the elite sides simply flirt with the rules? To rub salt into the wounds for Everton it has been reported that the FA are going to increase how much you can lose over a three year period come the beginning of August. Now one could say why should Everton be aggrieved, the rules are the rules, but is this not a huge admission from the FA that they got this wrong in the first place? Everton have dropped down to 27 points and Luton in 18th has 25 points and a first relegation since the 1950s remains on the cards for Everton. It has to be questionable and this is for any club if being punished near the end of the season is a good thing for the game? All of the effort produced on the training grounds week in and out and on the pitch and we could have relegation, European places and champions decided off the pitch. It feels that the game is moving more into the American sensationalism market than ever before. The sad thing is a lot of dyed in the wool football fans cannot see it.

Premier League: To be relegated: Sheffield Unted 1.01, Burnley 1.08, Luton 1.57, Nottingham Forest 3.00, Everton 5.00


While the relegation battle looks like going down to the wire, so does the league title. Normally it is between two clubs, but this season the Premier League boasts 3 potential champions. Manchester City who have won the last 3 titles in a row, Liverpool who have 1 league title in the past 33 years and Arsenal who are searching for their first title in 20 years. Incredibly just 1 point separates 1st from 3rd . Let's take a look at each clubs run in and try to come to a conclusion:

Arsenal: The Gunners will first face Aston Villa at home, not an easy game by any means and of course this signals the return of Unai Emery and sits in between their Champions League games with Bayern Munich.  Verdict: 3pts

Next up will be Wolves who have been solid this season but Arsenal are flying on the road and we expect another win. Verdict: 3pts

The club are then back at home where they will take on Chelsea. A fiery London derby awaits, Chelsea are certainly beatable but we have seen Pochettino's side repeatedly rise against the bigger sides. Verdict: 1pt

This is the crunch game, the north London derby against Tottenham. Of course Tottenham will do everything in this game to beat their bitter rivals, but the club has not been exactly consistent. However in 10 years Arsenal has managed just one win away. Verdict: 1pt

Now we head into May and Arsenal will take on Bournemouth in what we believe will be a routine win. Verdict: 3pts

The penultimate game will have the Gunners face off against Manchester United away from home. United have had all sorts of troubles this season, but again they are a club who can, like Chelsea, remember the old enemy and make life very difficult. We think this is a key game in which Arsenal could lose at least one match before the end of the season. Verdict: 0 pts

Arsenal's final game of the season is against Everton at home. A comet passes over more regularly than Everton beating Arsenal away from home. A few seasons ago it was exactly the same fixture where Arsenal put 5 goals past the Toffees and we expect Arteta's side to ease to victory. Verdict: 3 pts



Liverpool: Liverpool will play Crystal Palace in between their Europa League quarter final with Atalanta. At home we expect the Reds to have few problems. Verdict: 3pts

Next up will be a bruising game away to Fulham, and on their day the Cottagers under Marco Silva can beat any side. Liverpool could be tested and this should be a close one but we expect them to just get through it by the odd goal. Verdict: 3pts

A few days later it is the Merseyside derby, this one will be electric as ever as Everton battle to stay up. But Liverpool have been so superior in recent games we don't see much change here, yes a draw could be on the cards, but in Klopp's last derby- we think he will get the last laugh. Verdict: 3pts

At the end of the month Liverpool will travel to West Ham, who boast a lot of quality. This could be a game more decided on the fact if both clubs are still in Europe, but the Hammers have been hard to beat at home this season. Verdict: 1pt

In May the Reds will have a tough test against Tottenham but importantly they are at home where they have looked absolutely fantastic and we will back them here. Verdict: 3pts

This game is followed up by a trip against Aston Villa. Villa are strong of course but by now 4th or 5th place and a confirmation of Champions League football could well be set in stone, it's questionable we will see the strongest side to Villa. Verdict: 3pts

Liverpool finish the season at home to Wolves, this is Klopp's last game, they will not lose this one, we really can't see it happening at all. Everything will come together we believe for this one to be a very good victory, and an easy win. Verdict: 3pts



Manchester City: The champions start with Luton, considering they have to play Real Madrid in between these games, the fact that they are at home to Luton we only see one result, an away game would have been trickier. But it would be a real shock to see them lose this one. Verdict: 3pts

Next up will be a trip away to Brighton and we know the qualities of the Seagulls but City need to pull this one out of the bag, there will be a few scares but they should have the quality to get through this test. Verdict: 3pts

City will then face Nottingham Forest away who will of course be fighting to stay up. These games can be closer than one would expect, but if City can bring their A game then surely there is only one winner. Verdict: 3pts

At the beginning of May City open their account at home to Wolves, we expect a close game but City should shade this one. Verdict: 3pts

Next up for City is an away game at Fulham, the worry here is that we know this season how City can drop points by drawing. If they can draw on past experience though we expect a win. Verdict: 3pts

At one point City will face Tottenham away from home, a date has not been finalised because of a fixture clash with their FA game against Chelsea. This is the key match for City, they have the capabilities to win but another tough away game on top of possible European commitments- we could see a draw. Verdict: 1pt

City's final game is at home to West Ham. Being at home and that City has a great record over West Ham in recent matches we will opt for a home win. Verdict: 3pts



So as we have it Liverpool will win the league and the top 3 will look like this:

1st Liverpool             91

2nd Manchester City  89

3rd Arsenal               85


Let's see how this pans out….


Finally we end this blog with the sad news that Joe Kinnear has passed away. Kinnear may be largely forgotten by a new generation of fans but he was certainly one of the best players for 10 years in the English league from the mid 1960s to the 1970s. His time will be best remembered as a successful defender for Tottenham where he won four trophies including the FA Cup and UEFA Cup. Kinnear was a very likeable person and could be quite a maverick too- he moved around in management and how many people could you name who managed Nepal and Doncaster Rovers? That's one for the trivia books for you.

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