How difficult are your club’s Premier League fixtures this December? From toughest to easiest, we rank each team’s schedule ahead of this month’s action.
Sky Sports Premier League will bring you 19 live games this December, and with seven rounds of fixtures on their way before the year’s end, struggling clubs have the opportunity to turn their fortunes around – though for some it could become a month to forget.
Before December’s Premier League action kicks off this weekend, who does have the toughest run? Michael Hincks ranks each team’s run-in to 2018 based on the current average league position of the clubs they are up against…
Who has the toughest December? Club Avg. position of opponent 1 Southampton 7.71 2 Brighton 7.86 =3 Newcastle 8.29 =3 West Ham 8.29 5 Man Utd 9.00 6 Leicester 9.14 7 Burnley 9.43 8 Huddersfield 9.57 9 Tottenham 10.00 =10 Bournemouth 10.43 =10 Crystal Palace 10.43 12 West Brom 11.29 13 Swansea 11.43 14 Stoke 12.00 =15 Arsenal 12.14 =15 Everton 12.14 =15 Watford 12.14 18 Liverpool 12.43 19 Man City 13.29 20 Chelsea 13.43
With matches against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United to come, Southampton statistically have the toughest month ahead. The Saints have only won one of their last five league matches, and Mauricio Pellegrino will target a morale-boosting victory over Bournemouth this weekend before their tricky run begins.
Brighton are not far behind, with five of their seven matches against top-half opposition. The Seagulls host Liverpool this Saturday, while trips to Wembley and Stamford Bridge will pit them as underdogs against Tottenham and Chelsea respectively.
David Moyes is yet to taste victory with West Ham after three games in charge, and the prospect of facing Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in their next three games means the Hammers boss will have to rally his side, who have not won in the league since September.
A dramatic 2-2 draw at West Brom helped Newcastle end their four-game losing streak, but it does not get any easier for Rafa Benitez’s men, who are ranked joint-third in the list based on the fact they face Chelsea, Arsenal and leaders Manchester City, among others.
Meanwhile, Manchester United are fifth overall, with Jose Mourinho’s side facing a huge eight days when heading to Arsenal this Saturday before hosting Manchester City on December 10, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
Man City vs West Ham
December 3, 2017, 3:30pm
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At the other end of the spectrum, Chelsea have the easiest December based on the current table. The reigning champions do not face a single side who occupy a top-nine spot.
Leaders Manchester City face all three sides who sit in the relegation zone ahead of the weekend’s action. Having dropped just two points all campaign, Pep Guardiola’s side can dare to dream of taking their unbeaten run into 2018, but facing teams fighting for their lives, as well as Manchester United and Tottenham, makes it a mammoth task for the odds-on title favourites.
Liverpool vs Everton
December 10, 2017, 1:00pm
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Liverpool have a Merseyside derby to look forward to against Everton on December 10, live on Sky Sports Premier League, while their December 22 trip to Emirates to face Arsenal is also live on Sky. But despite those two tricky fixtures, the Reds statistically have the third-easiest December, as those clashes are offset by games against West Brom, Bournemouth and Swansea.
A trio of teams – Arsenal, Everton and Watford – find themselves locked together in terms of their December fixtures. The Gunners will look to carry their momentum into Saturday’s match at home to Manchester United, while Sam Allardyce is set to head to Anfield for his second match as Everton boss. For Watford, it’s a case of trying to keep touch with the current top four.