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The Premier League ‘big six’ head-to-head table of 2023-24: Man City struggling for wins…

Manchester City have won just one of their six clashes against fellow ‘big six’ opposition this season, having only beaten Manchester United, while dropping points against Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool and home and away against Chelsea – results that put their bid to retain their title in doubt.

There’s some debate over whether the concept of the ‘big six’ is relevant in the Premier League in 2024 following Newcastle United’s takeover and qualification for the Champions League, while Aston Villa look a solid bet to finish in the top four this season.

Still, the fact remains that the same six clubs – Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea – have tended to be the only clubs that have finished in the top four, while being responsible for six of the top seven wage bills and comfortably the most-expensively assembled squads in terms of transfer fees.

And it’s often the much-hyped meetings between these top clubs that can make or break their seasons. We’re now well over halfway through the 2023-24 campaign and have enjoyed a fair few of these blockbuster clashes, many of which have actually lived up to expectations.

Last season Man City had the best record in ‘big six’ clashes last season. They did the double over runners-up Arsenal, which proved pivotal in ending the season five points clear at the top of the table.

But they lost their first ‘big six’ clash of 2023-24 with a narrow 1-0 defeat away to Arsenal, their first league defeat to the Gunners since 2015.

The reigning champions have now played each one of their ‘big six’ rivals, and have a somewhat mixed record, with just one win – over city rivals Manchester United – from those six outings. Elsewhere they’ve registered score draws against Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea (home and away).

Arsenal’s title charge faltered a little over the Christmas period with defeats to West Ham and Fulham, but they’ve tended to show up on the big occasion and remain unbeaten in ‘big six’ clashes in 2023-24 so far, with victories over Liverpool, both Manchester clubs and draws against Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool.

The Gunners’ latest victory takes them within two points of Liverpool, who they’ve now taken four points from this season.

Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham have also been impressive in the big games this season, having already taken more points against big six opposition than they mustered in the entirety of last season. Spurs have taken four points from Manchester United. They also inflicted Liverpool’s only Premier League defeat of 2023-24 so far and drew with Arsenal and Man City.

Mauricio Pochettino has taken time to turn Chelsea’s form around. The Blues sit underwhelmingly in midtable, but there have been glimmers of hope to be found in some of their performances in the big games – particularly with their madcap victory over Tottenham and spirited displays in draws against Liverpool, Arsenal and Man City (twice).

There are question marks over exactly how much they’ve improved, though, with Chelsea being battered 4-1 away to Liverpool after a draw in October’s reverse fixture. The landscape has now changed for the Reds, who are trying to win the Premier League in what has turned out to be Jurgen Klopp’s final season in charge.

Liverpool have also been poor in the big matches this season, with their only win against ‘big six’ opposition coming against floundering, midtable Chelsea. Their only two league defeats this season have come in North London – away to Tottenham and Arsenal.

We’re only counting Premier League clashes for this head-to-head table – Liverpool’s FA Cup win away to Arsenal doesn’t feature, for example – but the upcoming Carabao Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool will be an interesting marker of where the two clubs are at.

Manchester United have endured woes throughout the season. They produced a confident and solid display to beat Chelsea but have otherwise been unconvincing as they’ve gone winless against Tottenham (home and away), Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Here’s how the ‘big six’ head-to-head table stacks up in 2023-24 so far. We’ve ordered them in terms of points per game, with goal difference used if they’re level.

1. Arsenal

Played: 6
Won: 3
Drawn: 3
Lost: 0

Goals for: 12
Goals against: 7
Goal difference: +5

Points: 12

Points per game: 2.0

2. Tottenham

Played: 6
Won: 2
Drawn: 3
Lost: 1

Goals for: 12
Goals against: 12
Goal difference: 0

Points: 9

Points per game: 1.5

3. Manchester City

Played: 6
Won: 1
Drawn: 4
Lost: 1

Goals for: 12
Goals against: 10
Goal difference: +2

Points: 7

Points per game: 1.16

4. Liverpool

Played: 7
Won: 1
Drawn: 4
Lost: 2

Goals for: 9
Goals against: 9
Goal difference: 0

Points: 7

Points per game: 1.0

5. Chelsea

Played: 7
Won: 1
Drawn: 4
Lost: 2

Goals for: 13
Goals against: 14
Goal difference: -1

Points: 7

Points per game: 1.0

6. Manchester United

Played: 6
Won: 1
Drawn: 2
Lost: 3

Goals for: 5
Goals against: 11
Goal difference: -6

Points: 5

Points per game: 0.83


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