Every Premier League Club’s 2020/21 Season Start Ranked From Impossible To Easy
West Ham have been dealt a nightmare start to the new Premier League season, while promoted clubs Fulham and West Brom - plus Tottenham and Chelsea - enjoy relatively 'easy' beginnings.
Arsenal also face an incredibly hard start to the season - travelling to Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United within the first two months of the season. Ouch.
But that's nothing compared to West Ham, who - after Newcastle on opening day - then face (deep breath) Arsenal, Wolves, Leicester, Tottenham, Man City and Liverpool in a row. We can only picture David Moyes' face right now.
The fixtures are here!#PL opening weekend@BurnleyOfficial v @ManUtd@CPFC v @SouthamptonFC@FulhamFC v @Arsenal@LFC v @LUFC @ManCity v @AVFCOfficial@SpursOfficial v @Everton@WBA v @LCFC@WestHam v @NUFC@OfficialBHAFC v @ChelseaFC@SheffieldUnited v @Wolves pic.twitter.com/juBByv7ts1- PA Dugout (@PAdugout) August 20, 2020
With the 2020/21 fixtures released, PA Media rated each club's games as 'red' (against one of the league's six strongest sides), 'blue' (one of the six weakest) or 'grey' (in the middle).
SPORTbible has crunched that data for the first two months of the season to see who has the hardest - and easiest - starts over the opening seven games.
The full rankings are below, starting with the most difficult.
1. West Ham
Not even close. West Ham are playing six of last season's top-eight clubs in their first seven matches - including a trip to Anfield and a visit from Man City. It's a horror show.
Mikel Arteta's boys face three tricky away trips - to Anfield, the Etihad and Old Trafford - while also hosting Leicester. All before the end of October.
On paper, Sean Dyche's men face Man United, Chelsea and Tottenham among their first seven games. But that Man United opening-day fixture may be postponed to a midweek slot to allow United a 30-day break.
4. Sheffield United
Chris Wilder's Blades face a tricky October, taking on Liverpool and Man City. Oh and they kick-off against Wolves and have a Yorkshire derby against Leeds in September. Who are we kidding? Wilder loves all this.
Brighton host Chelsea on opening day, then Man United in late September, making their very early fixtures challenging - but at least they boast home advantage.
6. Aston Villa
In theory, Villa's "reward" for survival is to face Man City then Liverpool (plus an awkward trip to Leicester) in the first two months of the season. However the City fixture could be moved to a midweek slot.
Jurgen Klopp's champions have a mouthwatering first three fixtures in September: Chelsea, Arsenal, plus newly promoted Leeds on opening day. Bring it on.
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Mixed bag for Brendan Rodgers' group: trips to Man City and to Arsenal, but also West Brom, Aston Villa and West Ham in what should be 'easier' games (according to the odds, anyway).
Man City are the only 'big-six' side Wolves take on in the first two months, but Nuno's team face a lot of the mid-ranking Premier League teams, such as a trip to Sheffield United on opening day.
10. Manchester United
The Red Devils have - in theory - a nice September, hosting Crystal Palace then visiting Brighton. But October brings Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal (all at Old Trafford, mind you).
11. Leeds United
Two blockbuster fixtures - Liverpool on opening day and Man City in early October - but Leeds do face Fulham in their first home game. Overall, Marcelo Bielsa's team have the hardest start of the promoted sides.
12. Crystal Palace
Palace visit Man United in their second match, then Chelsea in October - but it's an easier group of games around those two as The Hodgfather looks to revitalise his side.
Playing West Ham and Brighton mean Newcastle start with two sides who finished below them last season, but things get tougher with Tottenham, Man United and Wolves in late September and October.
14. Manchester City
A relatively straightforward start for Pep Guardiola's team. Arsenal visit the Etihad - and there's games against Wolves and Leicester - but there's no sign of Liverpool, Man United or Chelsea until later in the year.
An opening game against Tottenham, plus the visit of Liverpool in October - but around that Everton face West Brom, Crystal Palace and Brighton. Carlo Ancelotti's side will probably start favourites against all three.
Jose Mourinho takes his team to Old Trafford in mid-October - but that's the only club from last season's top eight that Spurs face in their opening two months. A smooth-looking start.
Chelsea actually play Liverpool and Man United within their first seven games - but the data surprisingly rates their start as 'easy' as they face several relegation-threatened sides, such as Brighton, West Brom and Palace. Go figure.
A couple of tricky London clubs in Tottenham and Chelsea early on, but the Saints also face several teams they finished above last season: Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, plus freshly promoted West Brom.
19. West Brom
Two of the promoted sides get relatively gentle starts, rather than being plunged in against Liverpool or Man City. West Brom do have to face Leicester then Chelsea - but October brings Southampton, Burnley Brighton and Fulham.
Easy-peasy. Scott Parker's side won't play ANY of last season's top six in the first two months of the season. Arsenal arrive on opening day, but games against their two fellow promoted sides, plus Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, soon follow.
All imagery: PA Images
Topics: Manchester City, Liverpool, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Football News, Aston Villa, Leicester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Football, West Bromwich Albion, Manchester United, Brighton and Hove Albion, Sheffield United, Southampton, Premier League, Everton, West Ham United, Leeds United, Arsenal, Burnley, Fulham, Newcastle United, Crystal Palace
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