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The Fixture List Favors Spurs And Arsenal, Not Chelsea

champions_leagueWith 11 games to go in the Premier League, three London teams are locked in a battle for two Champions League places.

After Tottenham’s win at West Ham on Monday, the standings for the two final Champions League places look like this:

3. Spurs 51 pts
4. Chelsea 49 pts
5. Arsenal 47 pts

Everton are back in 6th with 42 points, but I feel that the 7 point gap is too big for them to close.

So back to the three London clubs, who has the easiest run-in to the end of the season?

Arsenal

  • Sunday March 3: Tottenham v Arsenal
  • Saturday March 9: Arsenal v Everton
  • Wednesday March 13: Bayern Munich v Arsenal
  • Saturday March 16: Swansea City v Arsenal
  • Saturday March 30: Arsenal v Reading
  • Saturday April 6: West Brom v Arsenal
  • Saturday April 13: Arsenal v Norwich City
  • Saturday April 20: Fulham v Arsenal
  • Sunday April 28: Arsenal v Man Utd
  • Saturday May 4: QPR v Arsenal
  • Sunday May 12: Arsenal v Wigan Athletic
  • Sunday May 19: Newcastle United v Arsenal

Unless Arsenal overturns the 3-1 deficit in Munich, they have only 12 games left this season, which is at least one less than Chelsea or Spurs. The hardest part of the schedule appears to be the Spurs, Everton, Bayern, Swansea stretch.

If Arsenal can get through that the the only difficult game is Man United at home, the rest I would expect Arsenal to win.

Out of the three teams, Arsenal have the easiest schedule with 6 bankers (Reading, West Brom, Norwich, Fulham, QPR, Wigan). A banker being game that you would expect Arsenal to win.

Spurs

  • Sunday March 3: Tottenham v Arsenal
  • Thursday March 7: Tottenham v Inter Milan
  • Sunday March 10: Liverpool v Tottenham
  • Thursday March 14: Inter Milan v Tottenham
  • Sunday March 17: Tottenham v Fulham
  • Saturday March 30: Swansea City v Tottenham
  • Sunday April 7: Tottenham v Everton
  • Sunday April 14: Chelsea v Tottenham
  • Sunday April 21: Tottenham v Manchester City
  • Saturday April 27: Wigan Athletic v Tottenham
  • Saturday May 4: Tottenham v Southampton
  • Sunday May 12: Stoke City v Tottenham
  • Sunday May 19: Tottenham v Sunderland

So far Spurs have 13 games left, but that could increase if they get past Inter Milan in the Europa League. The Europa League is going to be challenging for Spurs as Premier League teams have historically struggled with the Thursday and Sunday schedule.

Not an easy run-in for Tottenham with big games to come against Arsenal Chelsea, Everton and Man City. From the 10 league games left I count 5 bankers (Fulham, Wigan, Southampton, Stoke, Sunderland) but they are more likely to drop points in the other games than Arsenal are.

Chelsea

  • Wednesday February 27: Middlesbrough v Chelsea
  • Saturday March 2: Chelsea v West Brom
  • Thursday March 7: S Bucuresti v Chelsea
  • Sunday March 10: Fulham v Chelsea
  • Thursday March 14:Chelsea v S Bucuresti
  • Saturday March 16: Chelsea v West Ham United
  • Sunday March 31: Southampton v Chelsea
  • Saturday April 6: Chelsea v Sunderland
  • Sunday April 14: Chelsea v Tottenham
  • Sunday April 21: Liverpool v Chelsea
  • Saturday April 27: Chelsea v Swansea City
  • Saturday May 4: Man Utd v Chelsea
  • Sunday May 12: Aston Villa v Chelsea
  • Sunday May 19: Chelsea v Everton

Chelsea are the only one of the three clubs still in the FA Cup, so that could add an additional three games to their schedule, plus the Europa League. If Chelsea reach the final in both they will play at least 23 games before now and the end of the season.To put that number is perspective, Arsenal will probably play only 12 games so Chelsea could potentially play almost twice as many games as Arsenal in the next 12 weeks,

Rafa Benitez has publicly complained about the size of the Chelsea squad and I think that number of games Chelsea have left will take a toll on their league performance.

The actual fixtures that Chelsea have is not that difficult as they have seven bankers (West Brom, Fulham, West Ham, Southampton, Sunderland, Swansea, Villa). It is the cumaltive effect of all those matches that is the worry.

That is why I expect Chelsea to fade, just like they did last season and for Arsenal to overtake them to finish fourth while Spurs retain their third position.

What positions do you think Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal will finish the season in?

 

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