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

Manchester United, Newcastle United and Tottenham are all pushing to qualify for next season’s Champions League, but who has the best fixtures between now and the next international break?

With Arsenal and Manchester City almost certain to finish inside the top four, competition for the remaining two places in Europe’s premier competition is expected to be fierce.

Brighton, Brentford and Fulham are all having excellent seasons, but their lack of squad depth will surely prevent them from an improbable top four finish.

On the other hand, both Chelsea and Liverpool should theoretically possess the quality and options to go on an extended run of wins. However, all the evidence of the pair’s 2022-23 campaigns to date suggests that Champions League qualification is beyond them.

Manchester United, Newcastle and Tottenham will fancy their chances of securing a top four finish, but which of these three has the best set of fixtures between now and the end of March?

We’ve added up the current league position of the trio’s next six league opponents – with leaders Arsenal counting for one point and bottom side Southampton counting for 20 – and worked out the average strength of each side’s upcoming fixtures.

Note: all fixtures in cup competitions (both domestic and continental) are listed in italics. Manchester United may have two further Europa League fixtures in March if they beat Barcelona. 

Manchester United

12/02 – Leeds (A)
16/02 – Barcelona (A)
19/02 – Leicester (H)
23/02 – Barcelona (H)
26/02 – Newcastle (League Cup Final)
01/03 – West Ham (H)

05/03 – Liverpool (A)
11/03 – Southampton (H)
19/03 – Brighton (A)

Average league position of opponents: 13.2

Newcastle United

11/02 – Bournemouth (A)
18/02 – Liverpool (H)
26/02 – Manchester United (League Cup Final)
04/03 – Manchester City (A)
12/03 – Wolves (H)
17/03 – Nottingham Forest (A)

Average league position of opponents: 11.8

Joelinton during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Fulham at St James' Park, Newcastle, January 2023.

READ: 5 players that Eddie Howe has improved at Newcastle: Joelinton…


11/02 – Leicester (A)
14/02 – AC Milan (A)
18/02 – West Ham (H)
26/02 – Chelsea (H)
01/03 – Sheffield United (A)

04/03 – Wolves (A)
08/03 – AC Milan (H)
11/03 – Nottingham Forest (H)
18/03 – Southampton (A)

Average league position of opponents: 14.6

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