How well will last season’s top six fare in the first six games of the ‘22-23 EPL season?
The enthusiasm with which EPL fans greet the fixture release ahead of a new Premier League season is akin to the joyous excitement with which children welcome the Christmas season/day.
A strong early start can give a club the confidence they need to face the tougher fixtures ahead, whilst a poor start due to a challenging fixture list might derail an entire campaign.
We’ve already seen several big-name acquisitions and three new clubs return to the English Premier League. Join us as we try to predict how the top six clubs from last season will navigate the first six match days of the 2022-2023 EPL season!
The reigning EPL champs have already strengthened their squad by adding world-class striker, Erling Haaland. They’re also currently pursuing Leeds United central midfielder, Kalvin Phillips.
Current record signing, Jack Grealish struggled to understand what was expected of him at times last season but with the experience he gained in the ‘21-22 season and the benefit of another complete preseason under his belt, he’ll be expected to hit the ground running this season.
The Cityzens will face West Ham (Away), Bournemouth (Home), Newcastle (Away), Crystal Palace (Home), Nottingham Forest (Home), and Aston Villa (Away) in their first six fixtures.
Manchester City had an excellent home record last season with 47 points from 19 games and will expect to claim maximum points at home, especially with the gulf in quality between them and their opponents.
Manchester City had the best away record in the League last season with 46 points from 19 games. While they will expect maximum points away, we see them dropping points at either London Stadium or Villa Park due to teething problems due to learning how to play with a proper striker.
Our verdict: At least 14 points from their first six games.
Last season, Liverpool pushed Manchester City all the way and were a couple of lucky bounces of the ball away from winning an unprecedented quadruple.
This season, they’ve not rested on their laurels and have already announced the signing of youngster Fabio Carvalho and Uruguayan striker, Darwin Nunez, to replace the departing Sadio Mane.
Their first six fixtures are: Fulham (away), Crystal Palace (Home), Manchester United (Away), Bournemouth (Home), Newcastle (Home), and hated rivals Everton (Away).
Liverpool had the best home record last season with 49 points from 19 fixtures, they will also expect to win their three home fixtures. Away, they will face newly promoted Fulham, an out-of-sorts Manchester United, and an Everton side that has won just one Merseyside Derby in the last 25 H2H fixtures.
Our verdict: At least 15 points from their first six games.
Chelsea was the best of the rest last season as they comfortably finished third. That, however, was a disappointment for fans of the club who are not used to coming second.
The West London club also faces an uncertain future with new ownership and record signing, Romelu Lukaku, on his way back to Inter Milan. The squad is also lighter with central defenders, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen departing to La Liga clubs.
Their aims this season seem murky compared to the rest of the top six; do they retool and attempt to challenge the dominant two for the title or just aim for a top-four challenge? We’ll see.
Fixtures: Everton (Away), Tottenham (Home), Leeds (Away), Leicester (Home), Southampton (Away), West Ham (Home).
Chelsea had the Sixth-best home record and the third-best away record last season. Their home games are quite challenging, we expect them to claim a maximum of 4 points at home. Away, they should fare better as they face the 15th, 16th and 17th-best sides last season.
Verdict: We expect about 10-13 points from Chelsea’s first six games.
Tottenham surpassed expectations last season by making the top four despite a poor start. Over the summer, they strengthened their position by getting a commitment to stay from Antonio Conte and signing veteran free agents, Ivan Perisic and Fraser Forster from Inter Milan and Southampton respectively. Brighton midfielder, Yves Bissouma, has also just completed a medial with the North London side.
In addition to Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Christian Romero, these signings signify Tottenham’s intent to challenge for the title next season.
Fixtures: Southampton (Home), Chelsea (Away), Wolves (Home), Nottingham Forest (Away), West Ham (Away), Fulham (Home). Their three home fixtures as well as the Nottingham Forest away game are winnable fixtures. Where we expect them to struggle are the London derbies away to Chelsea and West Ham
Verdict: 12-14 points from their first six games.
The Gunners know better than anyone else the importance of a good start. Last season, Arsenal began the season poorly and were bottom of the English Premier League table at the end of the third match week after losing their first three league fixtures.
Eventually, their form stabilized and they finished fifth, two points shy of Tottenham, who claimed the final UCL spot. How much that poor start cost them is a question we’re sure many Arsenal fans still ponder, however. With that in mind, Arsenal fans will be hoping for a strong start from their team this time.
Despite signing Marquinhos from Sao Paolo, the Gunners are still chasing their main first-team targets; Gabriel Jesus and Youri Tielemans. If they can add that duo to their squad along with the returning William Saliba, the quality of the team will drastically improve.
Fixtures: Crystal Palace (Away), Leicester (Home), Bournemouth (Away), Fulham (Home), Aston Villa (Home), Manchester United (Away). Arsenal will expect to beat the two recently-promoted teams easily. The remaining four fixtures, however, are a toss-up between what version of Arsenal we see that day.
Verdict: 10 points from their first 6 games.
The last three Manchester United full-time managers, Louis Van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, all have one thing in common – they did not get the players they asked for.
By accident or by design, the same thing is already happening to new manager, Erik Ten Haag, as the club has reportedly failed to agree to terms with any of his targets so far. Naturally, United fans are worried.
Their failure to qualify for the UCL last season has also hamstrung them. Long-term targets, Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez have already moved to their two biggest rivals, Manchester City and Liverpool.
It doesn’t help that their fixture list; Brighton (Home), Brentford (Away), Liverpool (Home), Southampton (Away), Leicester (Away) and Arsenal (Home) includes four teams who beat them last season.
We see Manchester United beating Brighton and Brentford if the two teams lose key players (Marc Cucurella, Bissouma and Christian Eriksen) as expected. Liverpool will be favored to beat United again too. The other three games are a toss-up, and could go either way for United.
Verdict: 9-11 points from their first six games. Not exactly a cry for help, but not exactly encouraging either.
What do you think about your team’s fixture list? Share with us in the comments!
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