With all the talk about Arsenal’s last 13 games being easier than those of Manchester United’s and Chelsea’s, I’ve pulled up a list of remaining Premier League fixtures for the Big Three to compare and predict the chances of each team leading up to 9th May 2010.
Have a look and decide for yourself who’s got the tougher games, who’s got the best chance of coming out on top and whether Arsenal can make up the 9 point gap in 13 games.
I’ve listed only the Premier League games for the Big Three. If you want the dates / other cup fixtures, you can check them on BBC’s website.
Arsenal’s Remaining 2009/2010 Fixtures
Arsenal’s next game is against Liverpool, but beyond that it would seem to be easy sailing even with a trip away to Spurs (come on, Spurs?) and a home game to City (Arsenal should win at the Emirates, right.
But even if you peg those three games as 9 points for Arsenal, there are potentials for a slip-up along the way, a slip-up that Arsenal CANNOT afford.
Arsenal v Liverpool
Arsenal v Sunderland
Stoke v Arsenal
Arsenal v Burnley
Hull v Arsenal
Arsenal v West Ham
Birmingham v Arsenal
Arsenal v Wolverhampton
Tottenham v Arsenal
Wigan v Arsenal
Arsenal v Man City
Blackburn v Arsenal
Arsenal v Fulham
The away games to Stoke (not an easy place to go to for Arsenal in recent years), Hull (who held Chelsea to a draw and beat Man City) and Birmingham (8th in the table and only two defeats at home this season) will test Arsenal, and given their recent form and their annoying tendency to get easily rattled, I wouldn’t be surprised if they drew or lost one of these three games.
Wigan and Blackburn should be easily negotiable and I wouldn’t back any visiting team apart from Liverpool or City to get points either.
That leaves us with the Liverpool, Tottenham and City games. With the way Spurs are playing I would expect Arsenal to beat them, but Liverpool and City are a different kettle of fish and will raise their game for the Emirates, and there could yet be another draw on the cards.
All in all, I see Arsenal dropping 6-10 points out of a possible 39, giving them a final tally of 77-81.
Chelsea’s Remaining 2009/2010 Fixtures
Chelsea have a crucial away game to Manchester United but beyond that they also have trips to Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool, and they play host to Manchester City and Aston Villa. I don’t see the other games causing Chelsea any problems at all.
Everton v Chelsea
Wolverhampton v Chelsea
Chelsea v Man City
Portsmouth v Chelsea
Chelsea v West Ham
Blackburn v Chelsea
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Man Utd v Chelsea
Chelsea v Bolton
Tottenham v Chelsea
Chelsea v Stoke
Liverpool v Chelsea
Chelsea v Wigan
Home to Manchester City and Aston Villa – winnable games and given their performances, Chelsea fans would be disappointed if their team dropped points in these games. Spurs away is also winnable, and I would think that at best, Chelsea would drop 2 points out of these three games.
The trips to United and Liverpool are more problematic. The game at Old Trafford will go a long way towards deciding the title, especially if there’s a clear result, and I feel that this is a place where Chelsea could slip up and lose three points. Liverpool may well have their Champions League qualification tied up by then (shock, horror!) but given the embarrassments in the first half of the season, don’t expect them to roll over. A point at least, and maybe all three if Torres and Gerrard are fully fit.
Chelsea, if you’re an optimistic Arsenal or Manchester United fan, could drop as much as 8-10 points out of 39, giving them a final total of 87-89.
Manchester United’s Remaining 2009/2010 Fixtures
Ah, Manchester United. Tipped to finish 5th by the Guardian and with the dust settling on Arsenal’s title challenge (Liverpool will be right up there next season, promise!), they are the only team within touching distance of Chelsea. Defending champions, three consecutive titles, etc etc.
And they haven’t got easy games, have they? That home defeat to Aston Villa and dropped points to Birmingham and Fulham away have hurt them, and with tough away games to Aston Villa, Everton and Manchester City coming up, it’s not going to be easy.
They also host Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham.
Aston Villa v Man Utd
Everton v Man Utd
Man Utd v West Ham
Wolverhampton v Man Utd
Man Utd v Fulham
Man Utd v Liverpool
Bolton v Man Utd
Man Utd v Chelsea
Blackburn v Man Utd
Man City v Man Utd
Man Utd v Tottenham
Sunderland v Man Utd
Man Utd v Stoke
The Aston Villa, Everton and City games are genuine concerns for United fans. You’d be foolhardy to bet on United getting 9 out of 9 here, but there should be at least one win in there given United’s proven ability to come back after being written off this season. I’d give them 5 out of 9 from these games, although it could be 3 or worse.
The home games are, for my money, a full 9 points. I don’t see Spurs winning at Old Trafford, I don’t see United losing their 6-pointer to Chelsea and Liverpool…well, revenge on the cards here and there’s every chance that United will push through and beat Liverpool too. 7 points out of 9 if you think one of Liverpool or Chelsea will get a draw.
At the end of it, United will lose between 6-10 points from the available 39, giving them a final tally of 85-89.
The picture will be a lot clearer after tonight’s set of games but regardless, it looks like despite Arsenal’s easier set of games, they will still end up 6-10 points behind the eventual winners.
As for who will win the title between Chelsea and Manchester United, that’s anyone’s guess, and it might go to the last day of the campaign and be decided on goal difference. In which case, good luck Messrs Rooney and Drogba.