Even though it has only just returned to screens and pitches after a three-month layoff, the 2019/20 Premier League campaign is rapidly approaching its climax.
With plenty still to fight for in terms of points and places at both ends of the table, clubs are gearing up to mount one final push for a positive finish, though some team’s chances of ending their season on a high look much better than others.
As always, the Premier League’s fixture computer has played a key role in determining the destiny of numerous clubs and their aspirations, and a favourable run in can often be the deciding factor between grabbing or missing out on a top four place, as well as survival or relegation.
To help form an idea of how your club might do between now and the end of the campaign, we’ve come up with a score-based run-in difficulty calculator.
Find out which Premier League clubs have the easiest and toughest run ins below.
Remember – we’ll be covering all the action between now and the end of the season on our Premier League predictions page.
FST’s run in difficulty calculator explained
Our Premier League fixture scoring system works as follows. Scores are assigned to club’s remaining games based on the difficulty of the individual fixture. The tougher the game, the higher the score – and the higher the overall number, the more difficult the run in looks!
1 point for home game vs team placed 14 to 20
2 points for home game vs team placed 10 to 14
3 points for home game vs team placed 5 to 10
4 points for home game vs team placed 1 to 4
2 points for away game vs team placed 14 to 20
3 points for away game vs team placed 10 to 14
4 points for away game vs team placed 5 to 10
6 points for away game vs team placed 1 to 4
FST’s run in difficulty calculator overall results
Above, we see the Premier League table as it currently stands with individual fixture scores listed for each of the 20 clubs’ remaining fixtures. Here you can see a breakdown of the fixture by fixture difficulty scores as well as an overall run in difficulty score at the end.
Next, we will take a delve a little deeper to see how these scored could affect developments at either end of the table.
Premier League run ins – easiest to toughest
In the above graphic, we’ve listed the 20 Premier League clubs run in difficulty scores from easiest to toughest – an ordering that throws up some fascinating results.
Remarkably, three of the division’s current bottom five teams, Watford, Aston Villa and Bournemouth, also rank among the league’s five toughest looking run ins between now and the end of the season.
At the top or easier end, four of the Premier League’s current top seven look to have much more favourable fixture schedules than the majority of the division’s other sides.
Overall though, the large congested looking mid-section of run in difficulty scores means that there should still be plenty of unpredictable results on the horizon.
Next, we’ll isolated the run-in difficulty scores of the teams involved in the race for Champions League qualification and survival.
Race for a top five finish
With Manchester City’s Champions League ban for next season still currently in place, the team that finishes in 5th in the Premier League this season will replace the Citizens in the competition for 2020/21.
Currently the Sky Blues Manchester rivals United hold that potentially lucrative spot, and our run in difficulty calculator suggests Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are favourites to hold on to it.
United played some wonderful football in their 3-0 mid-week home triumph over Sheffield United at Old Trafford, and according to our calculator, their game against the Blades was one of their toughest remaining fixtures on paper.
With a run in difficulty score of 17 – United’s figure is the joint lowest in the division, and with games against Brighton (A), Bournemouth (H), Aston Villa (A), Southampton (H), Crystal Palace (A), West Ham (H) to come, there looks to be plenty of points on offer.
Chelsea meanwhile, just two points ahead of United in 4th as things stand, could be looking over their shoulders soon if their 25-point run in difficulty score is anything to go by.
The Blues tough final flurry of fixtures begins on Thursday evening, when Chelsea host Man City at Stamford Bridge, and Frank Lampard will also have to prepare his team for tests against Sheffield United (A), Liverpool (A) and Wolves (H) before the season finishes.
Relegation battle run ins
With just one win from their last 11 Premier League fixtures since Christmas, West Ham’s form is certainly relegation worthy, though our run in difficulty calculator suggests the Irons still have time to turn things around.
With a difficulty rating of 17, West Ham have a more favourable looking set of games than all but one of the Premier League’s other clubs, and their home matches against Burnley, Watford and Aston Villa, as well as their trip to play Norwich City are likely to be key.
If the Hammers do manage to make the most of their advantageous run in, two from Watford, Aston Villa and Bournemouth will join relegation certainties Norwich in the Championship next year.
The Cherries run in difficulty score of 25 is the joint highest/toughest in our calculations, and with games Man Utd (A), Tottenham (H), Leicester (H), Man City (A) and Everton (A) on the menu, points promise to be scarce on the ground.
Aston Villa and Watford have a run in difficulty score of 24 points apiece, though a glance at the teams’ remaining home games hints that the Hornets hold a better chance of avoiding the drop.
Nigel Pearson’s men face Southampton, Norwich, Newcastle and Man City at Vicarage Road before the season ends, while Aston Villa’s remaining home fixtures have a slightly tougher look with Wolves, Man Utd, Crystal Palace and Arsenal still to visit Villa Park.
Aston Villa meet Wolves in the first of those crucial tussles in the Midlands on Saturday.
More FST News: