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Premier League fixtures: Liverpool and Arsenal have easier pre-Christmas run than Tottenham and Man City

Liverpool and Arsenal have easier Premier league fixture lists than Tottenham and Man City through to Christmas Day; Spurs have enjoyed second-easiest fixtures until now; Everton, Spurs and Chelsea have toughest upcoming league schedule; predicted final league table revealed


Could Tottenham hold their No 1 spot through to Christmas? Can Arsenal and Liverpool take charge? Will Manchester City find their groove after a recent wobble? We rank the difficulty of each club's upcoming fixture list for clues...

As it stands, north London rivals Spurs and Arsenal are locked on 20 points, with Ange Postecoglou's side holding the summit on goals scored - but Manchester City and Liverpool are only one result away from matching the leading pair.

Image: Top half
Image: Bottom half

So, have some teams had it easier or tougher with their fixture lists until now and what could, or should, the Premier League table look like on Christmas Day?

To tackle that problem, we used Opta's predicted league table for this season - which factors in current form, historic form and betting odds - to calculate how difficult each club's fixtures have been, and will be.

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Gary Neville outlines whether he thinks Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool can challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title this season.

Predicted final table

Opta's supercomputer predicts Manchester City have a 74 per cent chance of winning their fourth-successive league title come May - ahead of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.

At the other end of the table, Sheffield United are predicted to finish rock-bottom, with Luton and Bournemouth also suffering the drop.

Opta predicts Manchester United will finish the season in ninth spot, ahead of Chelsea in 10th.

Each club's fixture difficulty by matchday

Based on those table predictions above, the chart below ranks the difficulty of every club's league fixtures by matchday this season.

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Using the current league positions would not account for easier fixture lists during the opening eight games, while short-term form might also skew results.

You can use the search bar in the interactive graphic below to filter a specific team and make the chart easier to read.

Matchdays run from the season-opening round on the far left to the final day in May on the far right, with brighter shades denoting tougher opponents. The first vertical, black line indicates the current international break and the second line indicates Christmas Day.

Opta predicts Tottenham will drop three places by the end of the season, more than any other club.

Until now

Even at a glance, league-topping Spurs appear to have had an easy ride so far this term.

Tottenham league results

Indeed, the average predicted position of each team's opponents to date suggests Spurs have had the second-easiest run of fixtures so far, with opponents averaging at 12.5 in the table - only Everton (13.1) have had an easier run.

Chelsea (12.3) and Manchester City (11.8) have also faced easier opposition.

At the other end of the table, Bournemouth (7.8) and Burnley (8.5) might be sitting in the drop zone, but both sides have faced the toughest opposition.

From now until Christmas

Of course, most teams that have had easier runs until now must now brace themselves for the tables to turn, and vice-versa.

Luton - who were widely tipped to finish rock-bottom after achieving promotion to the Premier League on a shoestring budget - have the toughest fixture schedule between now and Christmas with opponents averaging at 8.1 in the table.

Rob Edwards has navigated his side out of the relegation zone - but his side will now face Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle, Manchester United and Aston Villa among their 10 opponents before Christmas Day.

Everton (8.8) and Chelsea (9.1) are also now entering their toughest periods of the season - despite both clubs failing to capitalise on their lighter loads to date.

Conversely, Burnley (12.2) - who have faced the second-toughest opponents so far - now have the easiest run of fixtures into the festive period.

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Gary Neville outlines whether he thinks Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool can challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title this season.

In terms of the current top four, the chart above suggests Liverpool (11.7) and Arsenal (11.4) have the easiest league fixture lists through to Christmas Day.

Jurgen Klopp's side face only three opponents predicted to finish in the top half of the table, albeit blockbusters: Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Liverpool league fixtures

The Gunners currently sit level on points with Spurs but their slightly easier league fixture list on the home straight to Christmas could provide them with the edge to leapfrog their London neighbours.

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Mikel Arteta's side face Sheffield United, Burnley, Brentford, Luton and Wolves before Christmas - but must also navigate Chelsea, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Brighton and Liverpool.

Arsenal league fixtures

Meanwhile, Spurs face predicted bottom-half opponents Fulham, Crystal Palace, Wolves, Nottingham Forest and Everton and top-half Chelsea, Aston Villa, Manchester City, Newcastle and Brighton.

Tottenham, of course, are not featuring in Europe this term and only have to focus on the Premier League after being knocked out of the Carabao Cup, before the FA Cup third round kicks off in January.

Tottenham league fixtures

However, the Gunners and Manchester City have Champions League football to juggle with their league commitments, while Liverpool must navigate facing two French opponents in the Europa League between now and Christmas Day - and both sides have reached the round of 16 in the Carabao Cup, to play on November 1.

Man City league fixtures

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Sky Sports' Sam Blitz is joined by Adam Bate to investigate what has exactly caused Manchester City's slip in form and how Rodri's absence has impacted this.

What about home and away?

Of course, home advantage usually helps teams. The chart below shows the exact point-per-game advantage for every club and reveals Arsenal are the only side in the current top eight to have a better points return on the road than at home - while Aston Villa, Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester City and Spurs all reap far more success on home soil.

Tottenham, Man City, Liverpool and Aston Villa have won all of their home league games this season. Only Arsenal have won all of their away games.

In terms of the current top four, those ratios suit all teams perfectly, with Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool all playing six of their next 10 games at home, while Arsenal play only four games at the Emirates before Christmas Day.

In terms of predicted top-half opposition, Arsenal face Chelsea, Newcastle, Aston Villa and Liverpool on the road and host Brighton.

Do Christmas No 1s tend to win the title?

In total, teams that have sat at the summit on Christmas Day have gone on to win the title in 16 of the previous 31 seasons - equating to a 52 per cent success rate.

Last season, Arsenal commanded a five-point lead over Manchester City atop the table on Christmas Day - but finished the campaign five points adrift of Guardiola's side.

Crunch period

Opta still have City nailed on as runaway champions once again, with Spurs tumbling three places come May.

The four-horse title race looks set to take shape over the crucial festive period. The numbers suggest Arsenal and Liverpool must capitalise on their easier league fixtures through to Christmas if they are going to derail Manchester City's title streak and thwart Spurs' momentum.

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