Where will each of the top clubs be after another six games? Here’s the answer.


By Tony Attwood

Occasionally we get accused of playing with numbers when it comes to our football coverage.  But in our defence I’d argue that we don’t do it as much as some, and hardly every use things like the Opta Power Rankings which considers the strength or otherwise of around 13,000 clubs and leave us not much the wiser after half an hour’s study, than we were when we started.

But we have noticed that the league programme this season does seem to be rather warped.  I mean take a look at Bournemouth and the schedule they have had.  True they have yet to win a league game, which makes them look sure sure-fire candidates for relegation, but the clubs they have played include Liverpool, Tottenham Chelsea, Brighton and Arsenal.  That they have managed draws against West Ham, Brentford and Chelsea suggests there is still a heart-stirring in the club even if they are one from the bottom of the league.

In fact the Opta figures suggest the club once known as Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic have had the hardest start of any club

I must admit I have not noted such a disparity in matches but fortunately the Opta Power Rankings give us that.   But we are Untold so we don’t just take other people’s figures, we play with them ourselves, and what we have done is combine the toughest start with the toughest upcoming schedule to see what we got.

In what follows the tougher the programme, the higher the number working from 20 for the toughest to 1 for the easiest.  Thus Arsenal had a slightly above average start in terms of toughness, while Chelsea had a very easy start.   Manchester City had a very soft start with games against Burnley, Sheffield United, Fulham, West Ham, Nottingham Forest, and then Newcastle United being the only real challenge, but they have some tough games coming up.

The tougher the programme the higher the number


Club Toughness so far Toughness to come Total toughness Toughness position League position
Arsenal 11 3 14 17 2
Chelsea 2 20 22 2 11
Liverpool 12 7 19 5 4
Manchester City 3 18 21 3 3
Manchester United 8 9 17 6 10
Newcastle United 18 10 28 1 8
Tottenham Hots 5 16 21 3 1


So by the end of the 13th game Newcastle might well be struggling having had the toughest collection of matches of all the clubs who have been tipped to do well this season, while Tottenham and Manchester City might well not be as high up the table as they might have hoped, given who they have to play.

Of course, much of this depends on the notion that the club higher up the table will beat the club lower down the table, and obviously, that isn’t always the case.  But these figures will be a warning to us all if Arsenal are sitting pretty after 13 games.  This next run of five games isn’t looking that difficult, but thereafter…

For Arsenal, in the forthcoming games, Opta only count Newcastle away as a tough one to crack.  Brentford and Chelsea away are considered only moderately difficult, and Brighton and Sheffield Untited at home are considered home bankers.

Opta add that “Manchester City and Everton’s schedules are also among the top four most difficult, showing how the fixture computer can dictate the narrative around a club.”

So from this data we can look at clubs that have an easier start with harder fixtures to come, and those who have had a tough start with easier fixtures now.  The former we might expect to rise up the table, the latter we might expect to slip somewhat.  Here’s what we find and what we expect to find after another five games.

The tougher the game the lower the number: what happens in the next  five games…

Once more: The tougher the programme the higher the number


Club Toughness so far Toughness to come Anticipated change League position Projected position
Arsenal 11 3 Rise 2 1
Chelsea 2 20 Fall 11 15
Liverpool 12 7 Slight rise 4 3
Manchester City 3 18 Fall 3 5
Manchester United 8 9 No change 10 10
Newcastle United 18 10 Rise 8 6
Tottenham Hots 5 16 Fall 1 4


So yes, after the next five games we could be top of the league.  But if so, let’s not get too carried away.  There will be harder games to play after that.  Here are the next five…

  • 21 October: Chelsea away
  • 28 October: Sheffield United at home
  • 4 November: Newcastle United away
  • 11 November: Burnley at home
  • 25 November: Brentford away

And if that doesn’t do it for us we could still make progress thereafter with 

6 Replies to “Where will each of the top clubs be after another six games? Here’s the answer.”

  1. In the last table I don’t see which club is expected to be second after the next 5 games ?

  2. @ Chris

    Presumably it’s Villa since they are currently in 5th and don’t appear on any of the tables either?!

    What I take from this is that we must have a hugely tough run in at the end of the season when injuries and suspensions are at their worst….thus enabling the world and his dog to make more pathetic claims about our inability to “manage pressure” when the truth is very different.

  3. @Mikey,

    last games are starting in April


    Seems manageable to me, but then. each and every game is tough. Nothing will come easy, that is for sure.

  4. Not really sure what data was used to calculate positions for games played, but I cant see how spurs haven’t had the easiest run of games? The list above has the teams in the following order with the hardest at the top:

    Man Utd
    Man City

    How I’ve worked it out is by giving each team played a value in direct proportion to where they are in the table. For example Sheff Utd are in 20th so you get 20 points for playing them, Forest are 13th so you get 13 for playing them, and so on.

    So by definition the higher your aggregate number the easier your accumulative games have been. Using that method this is how I see the relative ease of fixtures so far, with the appropriate totals, as depicted by the method described. Again hardest at the top.

    Liverpool 71
    Newcastle 78
    Man Utd 78
    Arsenal 83
    Man City 94
    Chelsea 94
    Tottenham 104

    So as you can see, not a million miles apart with all teams bar one being within one place of each other. The one anomaly is Tottenham, who are two places out. The method in the article has them placed as the third from easiest where as I have them as by far the easiest, and honestly I cannot see how this conclusion can be avoided.

    As I pointed out in a previous article, of their 8 games half have been against the bottom 4 teams. 5 are in the bottom 6. One, Man Utd are 9th just above half way. That leaves just 2 games that you would put in the ‘tough’ catagory.

    So okay, Spurs are top but in my humble opinion they have had by far the easiest fixtures.

  5. I’ve also used the same method to analyse the potential difficulty of the next five games.

    This is the order as predicted in the article, again with the most difficult at the top:

    Man City
    Man Utd

    And this is the difficulty of the next five fixtures as predicted by my rudiment method:

    Chelsea 27
    Man City 50
    Tottenham 51
    Newcastle 55
    Liverpool 64
    Man Utd 68
    Arsenal 72

    So, in this case an almost identical prediction with Arsenal looking like they do indeed have a favourable set of fixtures on the immediate horizon. Lets hope they put them all away as we would all hope.

    Spurs have a trickier set of fixtures coming up, as you would expect given their easy start, and that will surely tell us a lot more about their potential title challenge, or otherwise. Time will tell.

    As for Chelsea, well what can you say? They’ve had the 2nd easiest set of matches so far and still languish in 11th, and things are only going to get harder with the toughest set of fixtures of all looming on the horizon.

  6. Note: Just to say I did 5 games by accident, but cant see one will make much difference. Sorry.

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