Comparing the fixture difficulty of the Prem’s Champions League chasers

Quick Reads

Liverpool and Manchester City have been the two best teams in the Premier League this season, but there are still three Champions League places up for grabs.

Leicester City and Chelsea are currently third and fourth respectively but another five teams will fancy their chances of making the top four, while fifth could also make the Champions League if Man City’s ban stands.

Every team has nine or 10 games left this season, so we’re taking a look at which top-four contender has the more difficult upcoming fixtures – on paper at least.

Leicester City

Leicester’s remaining fixtures: Watford (A) (17th), Brighton (H) (15th), Everton (A) (12th), Crystal Palace (H) (11th), Arsenal (A) (9th), Bournemouth (A) (18th), Sheffield United (H) (7th), Tottenham (A) (8th), Manchester United (H) (5th).

The average league position of their remaining opponents is 11.3 so Leicester City will fancy their chances of remaining in the top four.

They will face five sides from the bottom half of the table and their first two league games after the restart are against sides that are just outside the relegation zone.

But Brendan Rodgers’ side do have a difficult end to the season, playing top-four rivals in each of their last three league games.

Chelsea

Chelsea’s remaining fixtures: Aston Villa (A) (19th), Manchester City (H) (2nd), West Ham (A) (16th), Watford (H) (17th), Crystal Palace (A) (11th), Sheffield United (A) (7th), Norwich City (H) (20th), Liverpool (A) (1st), Wolves (H) (6th).

The Blues are currently sitting fourth in the league table and they’ll face an average position of 11.0 in their final 11 games.

Chelsea still have to face the best two teams in the league before the end of the season, but they will also play the bottom two sides.

Manchester United

Manchester United’s remaining fixtures: Tottenham (A) (8th), Sheffield United (H) (7th), Brighton (A) (15th), Bournemouth (H) (18th), Aston Villa (A) (19th), Southampton (H) (14th), Crystal Palace (11th), West Ham (H) (16th), Leicester City (A) (3rd).

On paper, United should have the easiest remaining fixtures out of all the top-four contenders, although they tend to fare better against teams in the top half of the table.

The Red Devils have won home and away against Manchester City and Chelsea this season, but they have only got five wins and four draws in 14 games against teams currently in the bottom half.

They’ll face an average position of 12.3 and United picked up 12 points out of a possible 27 when they played against these teams earlier in the season.

Wolves

Wolves’ remaining fixtures: West Ham (A) (16th), Bournemouth (H) (18th), Aston Villa (A) (19th), Arsenal (H) (9th), Sheffield United (A) (7th), Everton (H) (12th), Burnley (A) (10th), Crystal Palace (H) (11th), Chelsea (A) (4th).

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have already experienced European football in the Europa League this season, but they will be looking to finish in the top four this season.

Wolves will be strong favourites in their first three games after the restart and the average league position of their remaining opponents is 11.7.

Sheffield United

Sheffield United’s remaining fixtures: Aston Villa (A) (19th), Newcastle United (A) (13th), Manchester United (A) (5th), Tottenham (H) (8th), Burnley (A) (10th), Wolves (H) (6th), Chelsea (H) (4th), Leicester City (A) (3rd), Everton (H) (12th), Southampton (A) (14th).

Sheffield United have been the surprise package of the season so far as the newly promoted team are currently seventh in the table.

However, the Blades will need to produce something special to qualify for the Champions League as they face an average position of 9.4.

That means that Sheffield United have the hardest remaining fixtures out of all the top-four contenders.

Tottenham

Tottenham’s remaining fixtures: Manchester United (H) (5th), West Ham (H) (16th), Sheffield United (A) (7th), Everton (H) (12th), Bournemouth (A) (18th), Arsenal (H) (9th), Newcastle United (A) (13th), Leicester City (H) (3rd), Crystal Palace (A) (11th).

Jose Mourinho is slowly turning things around at Tottenham, but they are still eighth in the table, seven points adrift of the top four.

Spurs face an average position of 10.4 in their final nine league games, with four sides from the top half of the table and five sides from the bottom half.

Arsenal

Arsenal’s remaining fixtures: Manchester City (A) (2nd), Brighton (A) (15th), Southampton (A) (14th), Norwich City (H) (20th), Wolves (A) (6th), Leicester City (H) (3rd), Tottenham (A) (8th), Liverpool (H) (1st), Aston Villa (A) (19th), Watford (H) (17th).

That’s an average position of 10.5 and Arsenal face the current top three and the bottom two before the end of the season.

The Gunners picked up eight points out of a possible 30 in these fixtures under Unai Emery and Freddie Ljungberg earlier this season and Mikel Arteta will be hoping for a better return.


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