The 2019-20 Premier League schedule has been released.
While all teams play each other home and away, not all schedules are created equal. Here are six takeaways for the Big 6 clubs, plus a bonus seventh for Wolverhampton.
Also read: 2019-20 Premier League title odds.
1. Are Manchester City paying off the schedule makers too?
Manchester City, who are under FFP investigations by UEFA and the Premier League, have somehow come away with arguably the most favorable schedule of the Big 6.
Of their first 12 fixtures, the only Big 6 team they play away is a November 9th match at Anfield against Liverpool.
While their December has them away at Arsenal and Wolverhampton, their four game January is against relegation candidates (Aston Villa, Norwich) or mid-tablers (Leicester, Everton).
While Liverpool’s final month includes Arsenal and Chelsea, City close out the season against Southampton -> Newcastle -> Brighton -> Bournemouth -> Watford -> Norwich.
2. We’ll know if Liverpool will challenge City by November 9th.
Liverpool host City at Anfield on November 9th. They’ll have played all of the other Big 6 teams by then. If they only drop 4-6 points at the end of that initial stretch, they’ll be set up well to challenge City the rest of the campaign.
3. Tottenham’s schedule is well-balanced and they’ll probably finish third even if they don’t buy anyone else again.
I’ve often described Spurs as the “vanilla ice cream” of the EPL. They’re perfectly inoffensive, occasionally you enjoy it, but it’s never finishing first in a taste test.
Spurs schedule is set up in a way where heavy rotation will not be required. No brutal stretches. They’ll grind out a perfectly inoffensive third place finish again.
4. Arsenal catches a break around the holidays.
December in the Premier League is nuts, with each team playing 6 domestic games plus whatever Cups they’re competing in. PLUS they play a seventh game on January 1st.
Arsenal gets its three most challenging December-January games (City, Chelsea, and Manchester United) at home. That may be the break they need to earn a top 4 spot.
5. Chelsea’s first match is actually really important.
I’m not big on Chelsea or Manchester United this campaign.
Chelsea lost the Premier League’s best overall player when Eden Hazard went to Real Madrid.
They’re losing a volatile yet effective coach.
They’re under a transfer ban.
Their organization is unstable af in general.
Chelsea is moving in the wrong direction.
So their opening match at Manchester United matters. They’ll need all of the points they can get–and an away win buys them some Europa League top 6 cushion.
6. Manchester United is going to struggle to stay in the top 6.
United start the season with Chelsea, but get them at home. See above. That game is a big one for them.
Especially because they travel to Wolverhampton the next week. That will likely be a loss, and dropping 6 points your first two weeks is a rough way to start the season (more so when you’re Manchester United).
The good news for United is only City have a more cupcake ending to the season. If United can do the exact opposite of this year and actually end the campaign strong, they could maybe, just maybe, play some more Europa League football in 2020.
7. Wolverhampton is knocking someone out of the top 6 and maybe even top 4.
This year is set up for someone to crash the Big 6 party.
Chelsea is a mess.
United is in transition and also a mess.
Arsenal may improve…but they need to buy some players for Unai Emery.
While Tottenham is likely safe…if they lose Christian Eriksen and still don’t buy anyone, their top 4 spot may not be a given.
Wolves have a tough December, with Arsenal and City at home and an away match at Anfield.
However, their March, April and May is about as forgiving as you could hope if you’re making a run for European football. They end the year away at Chelsea, but before that, their only major challenge is a home match with Arsenal.
If anyone crashes the party, Wolves are set up to do it.