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Which Premier League Team Has the Toughest Start to the 2024-25 Season?

Premier League Fixtures

The 2024-2025 Premier League fixture list is out, and while every team will face all others twice over the 10-month season, the opening fixtures can make or break a team’s momentum. We’ve analyzed each Premier League club’s first five matches based on last season’s final standings and assigned a ‘difficulty value’ using AI. A lower score means a tougher start. Let’s dive in!

1. West Ham United: Total Difficulty Score: 34

Welcome back, Julen Lopetegui! West Ham has been handed the toughest start to the season. With two of last season’s top four, including four-time consecutive champions Manchester City, among their first five matches, it’s going to be a challenging start. Lopetegui, replacing David Moyes, will need early wins to get the fans on his side.

Fixtures: Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Manchester City, Fulham, Chelsea

2. Arsenal: Total Difficulty Score: 35

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, last season’s runners-up, will need to be sharp from the start. Facing three of the top five in their opening fixtures, including a north London derby against Tottenham and a clash with champions Manchester City, the Gunners have a chance to build an early lead but must be cautious.

Fixtures: Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa, Brighton & Hove Albion, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City

3. Wolverhampton Wanderers: Total Difficulty Score: 36

Gary O’Neil’s Wolves will be hoping for a VAR-free start to the season. With four of their first five matches against last season’s top seven, O’Neil’s squad will need to hit the ground running to avoid early setbacks.

Fixtures: Arsenal, Chelsea, Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United, Aston Villa

4. Brentford: Total Difficulty Score: 39

Thomas Frank’s Brentford faces a tough start, with matches against Liverpool, Manchester City, and Tottenham. Points will be crucial against Southampton and Crystal Palace if they want a positive beginning to the season.

Fixtures: Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Southampton, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur

5. Chelsea: Total Difficulty Score: 46

New coach Enzo Maresca steps into a challenging role at Chelsea, starting against his former mentor Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. The remaining fixtures offer opportunities to gather points, which Maresca will need early on.

Fixtures: Manchester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, West Ham United

6. Leicester City: Total Difficulty Score: 47

For the new Leicester City manager, the opening fixtures aren’t kind. With stern tests against Tottenham and Aston Villa early on, Leicester faces the toughest start among the promoted teams.

Fixtures: Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Everton

7. Bournemouth: Total Difficulty Score: 48

Andoni Iraola’s Bournemouth aims to continue their upward trajectory. After a challenging start last season, this time includes tough matches against Newcastle, Chelsea, and Liverpool.

Fixtures: Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United, Everton, Chelsea, Liverpool

7. Ipswich Town: Total Difficulty Score: 48

Kieran McKenna’s Ipswich Town returns to the Premier League with a bang, facing Liverpool and Manchester City in their first two matches. The next three games offer better chances to secure points.

Fixtures: Liverpool, Manchester City, Fulham, Brighton & Hove Albion, Southampton

9. Everton: Total Difficulty Score: 50

Sean Dyche’s Everton aims to build on last season’s mid-table finish. Balanced fixtures offer early points opportunities against Brighton, Bournemouth, and Leicester.

Fixtures: Brighton & Hove Albion, Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Leicester City

10. Manchester City: Total Difficulty Score: 52

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City starts their quest for a fifth consecutive title with a mix of challenging and manageable fixtures. A key early match against Arsenal could set the tone.

Fixtures: Chelsea, Ipswich Town, West Ham United, Brentford, Arsenal

11. Crystal Palace: Total Difficulty Score: 57

Oliver Glasner’s Crystal Palace, one of the form teams at the end of last season, faces three top-10 teams in their first five matches. They’ll need to continue their strong form to start well.

Fixtures: Brentford, West Ham United, Chelsea, Leicester City, Manchester United

11. Manchester United: Total Difficulty Score: 57

Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United begins at home against Fulham. Improvement is essential after last season’s eighth-place finish, with an early match against Liverpool posing a significant test.

Fixtures: Fulham, Brighton & Hove Albion, Liverpool, Southampton, Crystal Palace

13. Aston Villa: Total Difficulty Score: 58

Unai Emery’s Aston Villa, last season’s surprise top-four disruptors, face a tough start but have plenty of chances to secure points before their Champions League fixtures begin.

Fixtures: West Ham United, Arsenal, Leicester City, Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers

13. Tottenham Hotspur: Total Difficulty Score: 58

Ange Postecoglou’s Spurs look to replicate their strong start from last season. An early north London derby could set the tone for their campaign.

Fixtures: Leicester City, Everton, Newcastle United, Arsenal, Brentford

15. Nottingham Forest: Total Difficulty Score: 60

Nuno Espirito Santo’s Forest will aim to avoid last season’s relegation battle. A good start is crucial, with manageable fixtures against promoted teams and bottom-half finishers.

Fixtures: Bournemouth, Southampton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Liverpool, Brighton & Hove Albion

16. Brighton & Hove Albion: Total Difficulty Score: 61

Fabian Hurzeler, the Premier League’s youngest-ever manager, faces a challenging start with matches against Manchester United and Arsenal. However, other fixtures offer points opportunities.

Fixtures: Everton, Manchester United, Arsenal, Ipswich Town, Nottingham Forest

16. Fulham: Total Difficulty Score: 61

Marco Silva’s Fulham aims to build on solid foundations. Facing three top-10 teams and two promoted sides early on, they need to capitalize on the easier fixtures.

Fixtures: Manchester United, Leicester City, Ipswich Town, West Ham United, Newcastle United

18. Newcastle United: Total Difficulty Score: 64

Eddie Howe’s Newcastle seeks a return to European football. With favorable fixtures against bottom-half teams and promoted Southampton, a strong start is possible.

Fixtures: Southampton, Bournemouth, Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham

19. Southampton: Total Difficulty Score: 67

Returning to the Premier League, Southampton faces tough matches against Newcastle and Manchester United but has winnable games against fellow promoted teams.

Fixtures: Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest, Brentford, Manchester United, Ipswich Town

20. Liverpool: Total Difficulty Score: 72

New head coach Arne Slot has a favorable start, with matches against bottom-half teams and a promoted side. An early clash with Manchester United is the only major hurdle.

Fixtures: Ipswich Town, Brentford, Manchester United, Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth

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