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Premier League fixtures: Who has the most difficult start to the season?

Bernardo Silva and Diogo Jota
(Image credit: PA)

The Premier League fixtures are out - and you've probably already scrolled through the list for when your club's fiercest derby or most difficult fixture takes place. 

But building early momentum is always crucial. Though Manchester City rose from the bottom half to a triumphant Premier League title last season, getting an early run of steam is often decisive at both ends of the table.

So looking at the first two months of Premier League fixtures, who has a good opportunity to make an assault up the table? And who needs to hit the ground running? 

We found the top seven and bottom seven depending on the odds for the title - and then for when they appear in every side's fixtures... 

Premier League fixture difficulty 2021/22

Click to enlarge (Image credit: PA)

Extremely difficult starts

Pep Guardiola

(Image credit: PA)

Manchester City may well be favourites for the title once more - but they won't have it easy in the first two months of the season, facing Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Leicester City and Chelsea in their first six matches. City also have Norwich and Southampton in that time, making theirs a start to the season that no one else will envy.

The other title winners in the league, Championship winners Norwich City, have Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester and Arsenal in their first four matches - which represents a hellish return to the top flight. 

The fickle hand of fate has dealt European champions Chelsea a bumpy road through August and September, too. The Blues begin with Crystal Palace before facing Arsenal and Liverpool, then ambitious Aston Villa, then Tottenham and Man City. Given that Roman Abramovich fired the last Champions League-winning manager to get off to a bad start to the season, Thomas Tuchel will be mindful of the importance of picking up as many points as he can before autumn.

Fairly tricky starts


(Image credit: PA)

Elsewhere in the league, some clubs who have rougher rides than others in the opening weeks of the campaign. North Londoners Arsenal and Tottenham both have to play City and Chelsea before facing each other in late September.

A number of teams tipped to struggle will perhaps have to sit tight in the early weeks of the season and remain patient for points. Crystal Palace play Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool early on, while Burnley have Liverpool, Arsenal and Leicester before October. 

Incoming Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Bruno Lage is going to have to hit the ground running too: his side begin their season with Leicester, Tottenham and Manchester United - though Watford, Brentford and Southampton are more favourable fixtures following that baptism of fire. 

The easiest starts

Marcus Rashford

(Image credit: PA)

Luckily for some teams, however, the early weeks of the fixture list have shown more mercy.

Liverpool begin with Norwich and Burnley before Chelsea three weeks in - though they then face Leeds, Palace and Brentford. Leicester City also only have one top seven side to play in the first two months: they'll face Man City, after a start against Wolves, West Ham and Norwich, before playing Brighton and Burnley.

Manchester United and Everton, meanwhile have none of the top seven in their opening fixtures. Manchester United play Leeds, Southampton, Wolves, Newcastle, West Ham and Villa; Everton have Southampton, Leeds, Brighton, Burnley, Villa and Norwich. 

Brighton and Hove Albion and Aston Villa also have favourable starts, playing seven bottom seven sides between them in the opening six weeks. 

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