Ranking the ‘Big Six’ Premier League teams schedules till the World Cup
Club football will return next weekend, and the Premier League ‘Big Six’ will have to play 12-13 games before players leave for the World Cup. It averages out to a game every three days. It will be a grueling period for managers and they will have to use every corner of their squad. Despite the number of games, some teams will face tougher opponents than others.
Below we will look at the “traditional Big Six” teams and the games they play before the World Cup. The teams have been ranked based on the opposition, taking previous results along with home and away fixtures into consideration. Every game is tough if teams are not up for it, but this should give readers a good idea of what to expect.
#6 Manchester City – Second
Out of the six teams, Manchester City have the easiest set of games. City will play 12 games, with seven of those games at the Etihad. In the Premier League, they have games against Manchester United and Liverpool, while the rest are games they should be winning. Their toughest game in the Champions League is a trip to Borussia Dortmund, but they also play FC Copenhagen and Sevilla.
Before the World Cup break, City also play at home against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup. Erling Haaland has been clinical in front of goal so far this season, and with Norway not in the World Cup, one can expect Haaland to feature heavily. City have some of the best squad depth in Europe, and Pep Guardiola’s system is engrained in the squad. Don’t expect too many surprises.
#5 Chelsea – Seventh
Chelsea are yet to play a Premier League game under the newly appointed Graham Potter. On paper, their toughest games in the league are against Manchester United and Arsenal, both of them at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea failed to beat either of them last season. The rest of the fixtures are tricky, but last season they lost none of them.
The Champions League will be tough with two games against AC Milan, but the club should aim to beat RB Salzburg in Austria and Dinamo Zagreb. The remaining fixture is a trip to the Etihad in the Carabao Cup. If Chelsea want to finish in the top four, then these are the games they should be looking to win. There is enough strength in depth at Chelsea, and rotation will be crucial.
#4 Manchester United – Fifth
Erik ten Hag has found a settled starting eleven that he can rely upon at Manchester United. Goal scoring is still an issue at times, but defensively they are quite strong. That defense will be tested with trips to Manchester City and Chelsea, while Tottenham will also visit Old Trafford during this period. The other fixtures in the league are ones that United will hope to win comfortably.
United have an easy group in the Europa League, and two wins against Omonia Nikosia should be enough to progress into the Round of 32. They play Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup, which is also a home game. Erik ten Hag has favorable fixtures in other tournaments where he could consider making some changes to his team. The rotation should help keep his players fresh for the bigger games.
#3 Tottenham Hotspur – Third
Tottenham Hotspur have made an unbeaten start to the season in the Premier League. They now face a tough set of games with away matches against Arsenal and Manchester United. They also play Liverpool at home during this period. Tottenham failed to win any of these games last season, and these fixtures will be crucial in their bid to finish in the top four. 13th placed Everton is the lowest team they play before the World Cup.
Tottenham are in a tricky Champions League group, and their two games against Eintracht Frankfurt will be tough. There is also a trip to Marseille, with the French team starting the season well. Nottingham Forest are Spurs’ Carabao Cup opponents, which is winnable. It will be a tough and tricky period for Antonio Conte, and Spurs will need to find form with tough games coming up in October.
#2 Arsenal – Premier League leaders
League leaders Arsenal have had a great start to the season, but the next period of games will be a true test of their potential. Arsenal have only played one game against the ‘Big Six’, and they lost that to Manchester United. They entertain Tottenham and Liverpool and also travel to Chelsea before the World Cup. Games against teams that finished ahead of them last season.
The other games look winnable for Arsenal, including their Europa League group stage matches. Arsenal play Brighton in the Carabao Cup, which is a slightly tougher fixture. What makes this a grueling period for Mikel Arteta is the fact that Arsenal’s squad lacks depth. This will be a trying period for the players, and Arteta will find it difficult to rotate the squad without dropping points.
#1 Liverpool – Eighth
Liverpool sit in the lowest position and face a tough set of fixtures in October. Trips to Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City’s visit to Anfield are some of the Premier League games coming up for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Given Liverpool’s current form, their upcoming matches will prove to be difficult.
Liverpool also have two games against Rangers, a trip to Ajax and a home game against Napoli to deal with. The only respite is their Carabao Cup game against Derby County, who now play in League One. Liverpool’s squad has been extremely injury-prone this season, and given their position, they can’t afford to drop more points. The period will be a big test for Klopp and his team.