Manchester United did not play this weekend, but some of their rivals have. Now, with all the matches done and dusted, all of the four teams fighting for Champions League football are six matches from the end of the season. Here we are taking a look into what kind of run-in will Man United have compared to their three rivals.
The current standings show just how interesting things can be in this run-in. Liverpool are ahead of Man City in the title race, but have only five matches left, compared to City’s six. The remaining Champions League places will be there for grabbing, as four teams are in the race for two spots. Tottenham are currently third with 64 points, Arsenal are fourth with 63 and Chelsea are behind Gunners on goal-difference. Man United are in sixth with 61 points. All of these four teams have six matches until the end of the season and 18 points to win.
Also, Man United have the lowest goal-difference of these four teams and that could be important if things remain this close until the final round of matches.
Man United’s Schedule
Man United’s six matches see them four times at home and two times away from home, which is a slight advantage compared to some of their rivals. We could split these matches in three groups of two, as the first two will be against good mid-table sides such as West Ham (home) and Everton (away). The second pair of matches will be the toughest by far – first hosting Man City as they remain in title race and then travelling to Stamford Bridge to meet with Chelsea. The last two games should be the easiest of all, with a trip to Huddersfield, before Cardiff come to Manchester.
Important thing to mention here is that the matches against Everton, Man City and Chelsea will be played in the span of seven days, as the Manchester Derby will fall on Wednesday night. It will be a hugely important run of games that should end with the “six-pointer” against Blues.
Who Has The Toughest Schedule?
So, which of the four sides have the toughest schedule? And how do we measure that? Having in mind 32 rounds have been played so far, we have a pretty good idea of teams’ strength. Therefore, we looked at average points per game of all teams who will meet with Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs, taking into consideration how they fare both at home and away and then we got an average points per game of all six rivals these four teams will have to play.
Conclusions are interesting. Nominally, Man United and Tottenham have the easiest schedule, with their rivals averaging 1.26 points per game. Man United’s toughest opposition are Chelsea and Man City, obviously, while Tottenham will play City in Manchester.
Arsenal’s remaining opponents average 1.36 points per game and they will play four matches away from Emirates – with travels to Watford, Wolves and Leicester among them. Chelsea have the toughest schedule by some margin, it sits at 1.57 PPG. Apart from visiting United and Leicester, they will also go to Anfield. It will three tough trips for Maurizio Sarri’s side.