Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (right) and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp ahead of the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

The Premier League ‘big six’ head-to-head table of 2023-24: Man Utd grab first pts…

There’s some debate over whether the concept of the ‘big six’ is relevant in the Premier League in 2023, with Newcastle United in the Champions League and Aston Villa and Brighton punching well above their weight to bloody the noses of the established elite.

Still, the fact remains that the same six clubs – Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea – tend to be the only ones that finish in the top four (Newcastle bucked that trend last term and it will be interesting to see if they can keep it up), 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 12 games into the 2023-24 campaign and have enjoyed a fair few of these blockbuster clashes, most of which have actually lived up to the expectations.

Last season Manchester 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.

Pep Guardiola’s men recovered by producing a dominant performance in the Manchester derby, beating their city rivals 3-0 at Old Trafford, before drawing 4-4 in an instant classic away to Chelsea and being involved in a 3-3 thriller against Tottenham.

Late drama saw Mikel Arteta’s side come out on top against Manchester United in their first ‘big six’ clash of the season and they went on to draw 2-2, twice losing the lead, in their home North London derby.

They then went on to beat Manchester City in the league for the first time in Mikel Arteta’s reign before coming from two goals behind to draw 2-2 away to Chelsea.

Ange Postecoglou has made an excellent start to life as Spurs boss, with a statement-making 2-0 victory over Manchester United followed by their spirited draw at the Emirates.

Tottenham maintained their form with a last-gasp 2-1 victory over nine-man Liverpool, though they came back down to earth with their first defeat of the season, 4-1 at home to Chelsea in a madcap game that saw them reduced to nine men.

Still, Postecoglou’s side have been plenty of fun to watch this season and following their thrilling 3-3 draw with Manchester City, they have now taken as many points from ‘big six’ matches as they mustered in the entirety of last season.

There was a lot for Erik ten Hag to be encouraged about in his first season in charge of Manchester United, but their record on the road against top-half opposition left a lot to be desired – they only beat Fulham and lost the rest.

That trend has continued amid their slow start to 2023-24 with defeats at Arsenal and Tottenham, plus a dismal defeat at home to Manchester City. But at least they beat Chelsea at Old Trafford.

The Blues have endured a slow start under Mauricio Pochettino. The Blues kicked off the season with a 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool and struggled to pick up points from there. The performance in their 2-2 draw with Arsenal left a lot to be encouraged about – despite the frustration of throwing away two points – but their 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford again signalled some serious alarm bells.

They subsequently made hard work against nine-man Spurs but eventually got the job done, adding some late gloss with goals on the break to win 4-1 in North London, being a spirited performance in a wildly entertaining 4-4 draw with Man City. The defeat and performance at Old Trafford felt like a step back.

Liverpool actually had a half-decent record in these showpiece occasions in their otherwise desperately disappointing 2022-23 campaign. They won four and lost just three of their 10 ‘big six’ outings last season.

Things have flipped somewhat this season, though, with just two points taken from Chelsea, Tottenham and Man City, while they’ve consistently taken points elsewhere.

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: 4
Won: 2
Drawn: 2
Lost: 0

Goals for: 8
Goals against: 5
Goal difference: +3

Points per game: 2.0

2. Tottenham

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

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

Points per game: 1.6

3. Chelsea

Played: 5
Won: 1
Drawn: 3
Lost: 1

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

Points per game: 1.2

4. Manchester City

Played: 5
Won: 1
Drawn: 3
Lost: 1

Goals for: 11
Goals against: 9
Goal difference: +2

Points per game: 1.2

5. Liverpool

Played: 3
Won: 0
Drawn: 2
Lost: 1

Goals for: 3
Goals against: 4
Goal difference: -1

Points per game: 0.66

6. Manchester United

Played: 4
Won: 1
Drawn: 0
Lost: 3

Goals for: 3
Goals against: 9
Goal difference: -6

Points per game: 0.25


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