Meet our 2020/21 United Predictions champion!

Sunday 20 June 2021 12:59

Last season saw the first edition of our United Predictions game in the Official App, with hundreds of thousands of Manchester United fans taking part.

On each matchday, supporters had to submit their predicted line-up, first scorer, the correct result and Man of the Match. Score highly, and your points tally could lead to a variety of top-of-the-range prizes.

After 61 matches, the winner emerged as Kaarthik Sundar, from the United States, who edged out Somto George from Nigeria.
 
We caught up with Kaarthik to try and find out just how he managed to come out on top, how he got into United and what his predictions are for the upcoming 2021/22 season...
'How I became United Predictions champion' Video

'How I became United Predictions champion'

United Predictions champion Kaarthik Sundar reveals some of the secrets behind his success in 2020/21...

Congratulations, Kaarthik, you're our winner. How does it feel?
“Thank you, it feels amazing. I've been a United fan since I was seven or eight, so pretty young. The first game I saw was probably United ending Arsenal's invincible run. The fact that I didn't quite really know what football was, but it didn't feel like a sport at all. There was so much and energy and intensity between the players and the atmosphere, oh my God. It instantly captivated me.”
 
What are some of your other favourite memories?
“The second UCL win back in 2008. [But] I think it was after 2010 when I really got into football. I wanted to watch the old videos of us winning in '99 and all that stuff. I learned about the Busby Babes and the Munich Air Disaster.”
So you're the United Predictions champion. You finished with more points than any other player in the world, and there are a lot of United fans in the world! Did you do some research? Was it luck? Tell us how you go about choosing the scorelines for the predictions...
“It was a bit of both, but I'd say it's more research than luck. I studied how we selected the teams against different oppositions. I knew the team selection was the part where I would get most points, and I put a lot of effort and time into choosing the selection, because I thought that would be the best way to score points. I always lingered on social media for any pre-match updates or rumours about the line-up, so I could change my line-up before the time ran out!”
 
There were some pretty crazy scorelines throughout the season – beating Leeds 6-2, beating Roma 6-2 as well, and 9-0 against Southampton, so you can't tell me you got any of those right, surely?!
“No, no! I'm quite certain I didn't get any of those right!”
 
Well you got enough right to win the prize, and your grand prize is a flight from where you are, in New York City, to Old Trafford and you get hotel accommodation in Manchester as well. How excited are you about that?
“Oh, I'm super excited. I'm very thankful to Manchester United for allowing me to bring a guest as well, and I cannot wait to experience Manchester and, of course, the world-renowned British weather!”
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That's not something you want to be wishing for, although it would be an authentic experience I suppose. Who are you bringing with you, Kaarthik?
“I have two or three people who want to come with me, but I'm not sure yet. It's going to be a tough pick.”
 
You need to pick names out of a hat! Have you ever been to Old Trafford before, or would this be your first time?
“I have never been to Old Trafford and it's one of my greatest regrets and my biggest dream, of course, so you can imagine how excited and buzzed I was when I found out I'd be going there.”
 
So what you are looking forward to most about Old Trafford? Is it going to be that first walk through the tunnel and out onto the pitch to see the Theatre of Dreams?
“Absolutely, the tunnel is going to be the best part.”
 
Which player are you going to pretend to be? You've got to do that when you walk through the tunnel, surely?
“Ooh, probably Roy Keane, I guess. He was an absolute monster!”
 
Is he your United hero, then?
“I have a lot of heroes. I wouldn't say he's the hero, but yeah, one of the heroes.”
 
Obviously United have a big fanbase over in the United States and in New York, where you are, so how do you watch United? How do you follow the team? Are there any specific places that you go, or do you get up early at home to watch the games? What's the plan for you on a matchday?
“Well, I've only been here for a couple of years, and that was during the time that COVID hit, so I can't really go to public places to watch United games, so it's mostly me at my home. But I did my schooling in Dubai so most of the games I watched were probably during the night, and the Champions League games were past midnight, so it's pretty rough!”

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There must have been some weird kick-off times for you, getting up at all sorts of times in the morning and the night?
“Oh absolutely. I remember getting up at 4am to watch some Champions League games.”
 
Was it worth it? Did United win?
“A few of them! A few of them hurt! Like the Real Madrid game when Nani got sent off. That was hurtful.”
 
We appreciate your dedication, and we won't talk too much about that Nani red card. Let's look forward instead of looking back. The fixtures for the new season were released the other day – how excited are you for the new season?
“I'm very excited. I'm very positive for the new season. It was quite unfortunate how we ended last season, but I think there were plenty of positives, and with a few signings – I think a defensive mid[fielder] and right wing, which I hope is a certain England international from Germany – will comfortably make us title challengers, I believe.”
 
I think I know who you are referring to with the England player! Are there any other particular players that you would like to see grace the field at Old Trafford?
“That would be quite a big list, but at the moment I'd be quite happy with a defensive mid[fielder] and a right winger.”
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Next season is obviously going to be exciting. Do you think what we saw last season has shown you enough, Kaarthik, to be confident that United can make a tilt for the Premier League title? After finishing second, and also runners-up in the Europa League, do you think that there's a chance next year that United can go all the way?
“Absolutely. There's been an upward curve, I think. We finished third two seasons ago, and second last season and have been to a cup final, and it was quite unfortunate the way we lost it. But yeah, there has been significant improvement, so it's looking very positive for us.”
 
What do you think would represent a good season? What would you be happy with? It was so gutting not to win the Europa League in Gdansk a few weeks ago, but what do you think would represent success in the next season for Manchester United?
“Definitely a quadruple, including the Carabao Cup!”
 
Set your standards high! Could you make it another trophy by winning the United Predictions game again next season? Do you think you can retain your crown?
“It's going to be really tough but, yeah, I'm going to put up a fight.”
 
Which games are you looking forward to most? Obviously Leeds on the first day of the season, that's an exciting one...
“Leeds, of course, and then Liverpool after that.”
 
Well congratulations, Kaarthik. Enjoy your prize and your trip to Manchester, and fingers crossed it doesn't rain for you! If it does, I'm sorry, but at least you're going to get an authentic Manchester experience. Congratulations for winning United Predictions 2020/21, and hopefully we'll see you back next season.
“Thank you so much.”

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