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The Premier League top six head-to-head table of 2023-24: Aston Villa holding their own…

Manchester United have picked up more points than Liverpool in games against fellow top-six sides this season, while Unai Emery’s Aston Villa are more than holding their own against the European contenders.

It’s worth questioning whether the traditional ‘big six’ still has relevance in 2023-24.

There was a time in which the same six clubs tended to occupy the top six spots in the table, but things have changed in recent times – last term Newcastle qualified for the Champions League ahead of Liverpool, and this season Eddie Howe’s Magpies are challenging to finish ahead of Manchester United. Aston Villa look well-placed to finish in the top four. Chelsea, meanwhile, are way off the pace and set to finish midtable for a second successive season.

Mikel Arteta’s title-chasing Arsenal are unbeaten against the traditional ‘big six’ this season, but they have suffered home and away defeats to fourth-placed Villa – the latter of which, 2-0 at the Emirates, looks particularly costly to their hopes of lifting the Premier League trophy.

Still, the Gunners have an otherwise excellent record against the current top six, having taken 15 points from their nine outings, with just Manchester United – who they beat at home already – to come in the run-in.

Manchester City’s record isn’t far off, with defeats to Arsenal and Villa this season. Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions have struggled for wins against the top sides this season, with draws home and away against Liverpool and a 3-3 against Tottenham – who potentially stand in their way of the title. They have comfortably done the league double over their Manchester rivals, at least.

Tottenham have beaten Aston Villa, Liverpool and Manchester United this season. They also took a point away from the Emirates in the first North London derby of 2023-24, but couldn’t quite complete a famous comeback in their recent 3-2 defeat on home soil. Ange Postecoglou’s men still have Liverpool and Man City to come – games they’ll surely need to win if they’re to have any hope of pipping Villa to Champions League qualification.

Unai Emery has turned Villa back into a proper outfit, with their credentials underlined by their back-to-back hard-fought 1-0 victories over Arsenal and Manchester Cuty earlier in the season, before going on to complete a double over the Gunners with a counter-attacking masterclass at the Emirates.

Villa have lost home and away to Manchester United in 2023-24 though – the fact that they’re despite that 12-point swing, they’re still 13 points ahead of Erik ten Hag’s Red Devils in the race for Champions League qualification is testament to their superiority elsewhere this season.

Those wins over Emery’s high-flying side are as much as United have had to crow about this season, although they have proven themselves a major nuisance for Liverpool – spoiling Jurgen Klopp’s farewell party by drawing against them at Old Trafford and Anfield in the league, as well as eliminating them from the FA Cup.

You can pinpoint their record in the big games as a major reason for Liverpool’s shortcomings in this seasons title race. They’ve failed to beat rivals City and Arsenal in the league, taking just three points from 12 available, and frequently dropping points elsewhere. Their only win against a fellow top-six side this season was a 3-0 over Aston Villa all the way back in August.

 


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Here’s how the full top six head-to-head table breaks down.

1. Arsenal

Played: 9
Won: 4
Drawn: 3
Lost: 2

Goals for: 13
Goals against: 10
Goal difference: +2

Points: 15

Points per game: 1.66

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2. Manchester City

Played: 9
Won: 3
Drawn: 4
Lost: 2

Goals for: 15
Goals against: 9
Goal difference: +6

Points: 13

Points per game: 1.44

3. Tottenham

Played: 8
Won: 3
Drawn: 3
Lost: 2

Goals for: 18
Goals against: 13
Goal difference: +5

Points: 12

Points per game: 1.5

4. Aston Villa

Played: 9
Won: 4
Drawn: 0
Lost: 5

Goals for: 11
Goals against: 17
Goal difference: -6

Points: 12

Points per game: 1.33

READ: The incredible Premier League table since Aston Villa appointed Unai Emery

5. Manchester United

Played: 9
Won: 2
Drawn: 3
Lost: 4

Goals for: 11
Goals against: 18
Goal difference: -7

Points: 9

Points per game: 1.oo

6. Liverpool

Played: 8
Won: 1
Drawn: 5
Lost: 2

Goals for: 10
Goals against: 10
Goal difference: 0

Points: 8

Points per game: 1.00

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Top Six Head to Head table 2023-24