Ranking every PL club by how hard their fixtures are until the World Cup

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte gestures on the touchline during the Premier League match against Leicester City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Saturday September 17, 2022.

The Premier League returns this weekend with an intense set of fixtures between now and November’s World Cup but which sides have the most favourable set of matches? We’ve crunched the numbers to find out…

We’ve ranked every team in the Premier League by the difficulty of their matches between now and Qatar, based on every club’s current position in the league table (a fixture against Arsenal is worth one point and a match with Leicester totalling 20 points).

These total figures were then divided by the number of matches each team is scheduled to play before the winter break and they’ve been ranked from weakest to strongest – the lower the number, the harder the fixtures.

Our initial reaction was that Tottenham will face a severe test of their progress under Antonio Conte, with fixtures against Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United to come.

While many of the league’s big hitters – including Manchester City, United and Liverpool – have a balanced schedule, Arsenal will feel they have a golden opportunity to extend their excellent start to the new campaign with four fixtures against sides currently in the bottom half.

At the wrong end of the table, plenty of early-season strugglers will feel their next set of matches offer a guilt-edged chance to kickstart their seasons; the current bottom three of West Ham, Nottingham Forest and Leicester each have an inviting run of games before the World Cup.

But why not make your own judgement, based on our findings below…

20. Crystal Palace

Fixtures: Chelsea (H), Leeds (H), Leicester (A), Wolves (H), Everton (A), Southampton (H), West Ham (A), Nottingham Forest (A)

Average difficulty: 14.57

19. Leicester City

Fixtures: Nottingham Forest (H), Bournemouth (A), Crystal Palace (H), Leeds (H), Wolves (A), Manchester City (H), Everton (A), West Ham (A)

Average difficulty: 13.5

18. Nottingham Forest

Fixtures: Leicester (A), Aston Villa (H), Wolves (A), Brighton (A), Liverpool (H), Arsenal (A), Brentford (H), Crystal Palace (H)

Average difficulty: 12.29

17. West Ham United

Fixtures: Wolves (H), Fulham (H), Southampton (A), Liverpool (A), Bournemouth (H), Manchester United (A), Crystal Palace (H), Leicester (H)

Average difficulty: 12.25

16. Bournemouth

Fixtures: Brentford (H), Leicester (H), Fulham (A), Southampton (H), West Ham (A), Tottenham (H), Leeds (A), Everton (H)

Average difficulty: 11.75

15. Arsenal

Fixtures: Tottenham (H), Liverpool (H), Leeds (A), Southampton (A), Nottingham Forest (H), Chelsea (A), Wolves (A)

Average difficulty: 11.29

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14. Wolves

Fixtures: West Ham (A), Chelsea (A), Nottingham Forest (H), Crystal Palace (A), Leicester (H), Brentford (A), Brighton (H), Arsenal (H)

Average difficulty: 11.14

=11. Fulham 

Fixtures: Newcastle (H), West Ham (A), Bournemouth (H), Aston Villa (H), Leeds (A), Everton (H), Manchester City (A), Manchester United (H)

Average difficulty: 10.75

=11. Everton

Fixtures: Southampton (A), Manchester United (H), Tottenham (A), Newcastle (A), Crystal Palace (H), Fulham (A), Leicester (H), Bournemouth (A)

Average difficulty: 10.75

=11. Brentford

Fixtures: Bournemouth (A), Newcastle (A), Brighton (H), Chelsea (H), Aston Villa (A), Wolves (H), Nottingham Forest (A), Manchester City (A)

Average difficulty: 10.75

10. Leeds United

Fixtures: Aston Villa (H), Crystal Palace (A), Arsenal (H), Leicester (A), Fulham (H), Liverpool (A), Bournemouth (H), Tottenham (A)

Average difficulty: 10.13

9. Southampton

Fixtures: Everton (H), Manchester City (A), West Ham (H), Bournemouth (A), Arsenal (H), Crystal Palace (A), Newcastle (H), Liverpool (A)

Average difficulty: 10.0

8. Chelsea

Fixtures: Crystal Palace (A), Wolves (H), Aston Villa (A), Brentford (A), Manchester United (H), Brighton (A), Arsenal (H), Newcastle (A)

Average difficulty: 9.63

7. Manchester City

Fixtures: Manchester United (H), Southampton (H), Liverpool (A), Brighton (H), Leicester (A), Fulham (H), Brentford (H)

Average difficulty: 9.43

6. Manchester United

Fixtures: Manchester City (A), Everton (A), Newcastle (H), Tottenham (H), Chelsea (A), West Ham (H), Aston Villa (A), Fulham (A)

Average difficulty: 9.25

Sir Alex Ferguson salutes the fans during the UEFA Champions League match between Manchester United and Real Madrid at Old Trafford, Manchester, March 2013.

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=4. Newcastle United

Fixtures: Fulham (A), Brentford (H), Manchester United (A), Everton (H), Tottenham (A), Aston Villa (H), Southampton (A), Chelsea (H)

Average difficulty: 9.0

=4. Liverpool

Fixtures: Brighton (H), Arsenal (A), Manchester City (H), West Ham (H), Nottingham Forest (A), Leeds (H), Tottenham (A), Southampton (H)

Average difficulty: 9.0

3. Aston Villa

Fixtures: Leeds (A), Nottingham Forest (A), Chelsea (H), Fulham (A), Brentford (H), Newcastle (A), Manchester United (H), Brighton (A)

Average difficulty: 8.88

2. Brighton

Fixtures: Liverpool (A), Tottenham (H), Brentford (A), Nottingham Forest (H), Manchester City (A), Chelsea (H), Wolves (A), Aston Villa (H)

Average difficulty: 8.71

1. Tottenham

Fixtures: Arsenal (A), Brighton (A), Everton (H), Manchester United (A), Newcastle (H), Bournemouth (A), Liverpool (H), Leeds (H)

Average difficulty: 8.0


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