Premier League Run-In Analysis

Updated: 258 1 Football

🌄Join us we update match-by-match the difficulty of the Premier League run-in for every club aiming for victory or survival

Premier League Run-In Analysis
Dan Tracey Data Scientist and Football Editor

♎ Writer, analyst, podcaster, Spurs fan. Three out of four is not bad. If there is a data angle, I will find it.

Premier League Season Difficulty

As the current Premier Leagueও season reaches its ‘business end’, the discussions regarding who will win the title and who will suffer the drop only begin to get louder and as teams at the top and bottom of the ladder aim to fulfil differing objectives, a tense final few weeks await us.

🔥 Premier League's climax approaches!

Title race heats up 🔝 while relegation battle intensifies ⬇️. Will Luton join Burnley & Sheffield United in the drop, or can off-pitch drama save them? 🤔⚽

Tension at the summit as three clubs look to be the dominant force in English football, tension at the bottom as three clubs look to avoid demotion to the EFL Championship and with Burnley and Sheffield United both already cast adrift, questions remain as to whether Luton will join them.

A look at the current Premier League table suggests that they may well do and they may have to hope for matters off the field of play to assist them – matters that came in the form of points deductions for both Nottingham Forest and Everton.

Rk Squad MP W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Arsenal 35 25 5 5 85 28 57 80
2 Manchester City 34 24 7 3 82 32 50 79
3 Liverpool 35 22 9 4 77 36 41 75
4 Aston Villa 35 20 7 8 73 52 21 67
5 Tottenham 33 18 6 9 67 52 15 60
6 Manchester Utd 34 16 6 12 52 51 1 54
7 Newcastle Utd 34 16 5 13 74 55 19 53
8 West Ham 35 13 10 12 56 65 -9 49
9 Chelsea 33 13 9 11 63 59 4 48

𝄹Forest are just on the right side of the dotted relegation line but Luton below are from cast adrift and although the current league standings will give an indication of both the relegation battles and the race to win the title – not to mention those teams that are also aiming to earn European football for next season, there is a way to add context.

🐻Context that comes in analysing the fixture difficulty of each of the 20 clubs involved and although the table looks as it does now, the next few weeks could see a considerable amount of change for those looking to earn upward mobility and those looking to hold on to what they already have.

🔍 Diving into the final Premier League fixtures!

Ranking teams based on their current standings as the season end nears. Who will rise? Who will fall? 📈📉

ꦍWe can start our analysis by looking at all the Premier League fixtures that are left remaining between now and the end of the season and giving each team a rank according to the current league standing.

Therefore if Arsenal were facing Sheffield United in their next fixture, the ranking for that fixture would be 20 (as Sheffield United are bottom of the table). If Burnley were facing Manchester City, the ranking for that fixture would be 3.

🍰Of course, the reverse of these rankings would also be allotted. Sheffield United’s theoretical clash with Arsenal would be given a ranking of 1. Manchester City's theoretical clash with Burnley would be given a ranking of 19.

𒊎Now that we have explained how these rankings work, we can average out what each team has to deal with between now and the end of the season and the table looks as follows:

꧃(smaller number = higher difficulty, larger number = lesser difficulty)

Team Average Opponent Matches Remaining
Wolves 6.33 3
Brighton 6.50 4
Liverpool 6.67 3
Crystal Palace 7.00 3
Manchester Utd 8.50 4
Bournemouth 8.67 3
Manchester City 9.25 4
West Ham 9.67 3
Aston Villa 9.67 3

♓As we can see it is Wolves who currently have the toughest run in between now and the final day. The average position of all the Premier League opponents they are yet to face is 6.33 – the equivalent of every opponent already being in Europe and this is tougher than the duo of Brighton and Liverpool that sit behind the Seagulls.

💛The Seagulls are not far off with an opposition difficulty of 6.33 and the Anfield outfit have an average opponent of 6.50 between now and the final day of the campaign. For the former, their season is all but over as they languish in midtable. For the latter, their hopes of winning this season's edition of the Premier League are hanging by the narrowest of threads.

Brighton's Daunting Finale

🏆 Brighton faces the toughest run to the season's end in the Premier League, with opponents averaging 6.67 in standings! 🥈 Crystal Palace follows with 8.00 and Chelsea next with 8.43. Who will prevail? ⚽💪

While the main topic going into this final stretch of the season is how the three title protagonists will fare between now and the end of the season. When comparing holders Manchester City to their fellow title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal🎃, there is not a great deal of difference but Mikel Arteta's men do have the easiest of the lot. 

ไLiverpool on 6.50, Arsenal on 10.33 and Manchester City on 9.25. Now that all three title rivals have played each other in the league, it is going to be a sprint to the finish and a sprint that has current league leaders Arsenal at the top of the table but having played a game more than the defending Champions.

ꦑWhile the next few weeks could also be pivotal at the bottom and although Nottingham Forest have got issues both on and off the field of play, there may be a form of saving grace when it comes to their upcoming opponents.

Nottingham Forest's Glimmer of Hope

Nottingham Forest faces the easiest run in the Premier League relegation battle, with opponents averaging 16.00 in league positions. 🆚 Burnley's tougher challenge looms with 9.67. Can the City Ground outfit seize this opportunity? ⚽🛡️

ꦉAt present, Forest have the asiest run of fixtures when looking at current league places for their opponents. They only have an average of 16.00 and that includes fixtures with both Burnley and Sheffield United who are currently in the bottom three.

ღForest and Burnley meet on the final day of the season and by comparison the Clarets have an average position difficulty of 9.67 when it comes to end of season opponents. The fixture list may not be as kind but there is no doubt that Vincent Kompany's men have the momentum right npw.

🤡Another sub-plot could be Newcastle lying second bottom with 13.25. Considering the Magpies are 2.65 positions better off than Tottenham's run-in, they could even snatch fifth place.

♋However, we can also narrow our focus in terms of match difficulty and focus on each club’s next three league outings instead.

Team 1 2 3
Arsenal Bournemouth Manchester Utd Everton
Aston Villa Brighton Liverpool Crystal Palace
Bournemouth Arsenal Brentford Chelsea
Brentford Fulham Bournemouth Newcastle Utd
Brighton Aston Villa Newcastle Utd Chelsea
Burnley Newcastle Utd Tottenham Nott'ham Forest
Chelsea Tottenham West Ham Nott'ham Forest
Crystal Palace Manchester Utd Wolves Aston Villa
Everton Luton Town Sheffield Utd Arsenal

🃏Here we have built a grid of each team in the Premier League (in alphabetical order) and highlighted who their next half dozen opponents will be. The simple thing would be to compare what Arsenal have to deal with against Manchester City and Liverpool and try and make some conclusions.

ꦯThen again, that approach could be considered too simple and using the same ranking logic below, we can now rate each of these 20 clubs and how difficult their next three matches will be: 

꧑(smaller number = higher difficulty, larger number = lesser difficulty)

Team Average Next 3
Wolves 6.33
Liverpool 6.67
Brighton 6.67
Crystal Palace 7.00
Manchester Utd 7.33
Bournemouth 8.67
Manchester City 9.67
West Ham 9.67
Aston Villa 9.67

𓂃If Arsenal are to win this season's edition of the Premier League, they will have to hope for a favour from elsewhere and a favour that comes from Manchester City slipping up during their game in hand. When looking at their respective next three matches, Arsenal's opposition difficulty is 10.33, by comparison's City's is 10.67.

ꦺNot a great deal of difference but maybe just enough for the Gunners to rule the roost at the end of the season. For further comparison, Liverpool's opposition difficulty is as low as 6.67 - making a difficult task in winning the title near impossible.

Three Horse Race

📊 Liverpool fance a 6.67 opposition ranking, while Manchester City is better of at 9.67 . The next three games could define the Premier League title race, as Arsenal are top of the table and have a difficulty of 10.33 ⚽🏆 Can the Gunners put these numbers to their advantage?

🦋Then again, that is not the only battle that is shaping up throughout the Premier League table and although Tottenham have games in hand and an easier next three games when compared to Aston Villa, the points margin may surely be too big for Spurs to reel in.

♚Because of Tottenham's difficult run in, this is where both Manchester United and Newcastle sit up and take note. As the Red Devils struggle under Erik ten Hag, their next three games see them with a difficutly of 7.33 and maybe too difficult to reel in Spurs.

♏However, Newcastle are exactly two places better off in terms of their next three when compared to their North London counterparts and if they can pick up a maximum nine points across their upcoming trio, it could create a grandstand finish on the final day.

Nottingham Forest's Next Three

🚨 Nottingham Forest faces a crucial stretch with an opposition ranking of 16.00! The next three games could be their ticket away from the Premier League relegation zone. Will they seize the chance? ⚽🔵

﷽While at the bottom of the table, Nottingham Forest will look to their next three matches as the true opportunity to finally drag themselves out of the bottom three. The average position of their opponent is 16.00, compared to Luton, they are whole 4.00 positions better off. Perhaps more importantly, they are also 5.33 positions better off than Burnley.

🐼We should not overlook the form of Chelsea either and with a top seven finish now in their hands, they will have to make best use of their average opponent being rated 10.00 across the next three games. One of those opponents is West Ham and their rating is 9.67. Will the Blues be able to burst the bubble of David Moyes men?

🔴As you can see, there are plenty of sub-plots to be played out. Who will be smiling come the end of the season? Only time will tell and time is beginning to run out.

Editorial and Source Information

Dan Tracey

Dan Tracey

Data scientist and football editor

🃏Dan Tracey is a multi-talented writer, data analyst and podcaster whose six-year career in the sports data sphere has seen incredible successes. From helping UEFA create their annual technical reports to writing articles for Sports Betting Websites including sites like TheLinesUS and Goal - there's no shortage of areas where his expertise shines through! In addition, he can be heard on podcasts lending an insightful voice as well as providing weekly betting angles - all culminating with him teaming up in the present day. Simply put: wherever you find angled data being crunched? You'll also likely find Dan not far behind!

👨‍🏫 Specialist Subjects🔬📚

🐷Dan's specialist area is data; and lots of it! Wherever we need numbers to create our unique deep dive articles, Dan is our go-to. Dan is also a Tottenham Fan and a football commentator for Newcastle Blue Star

Data Source

Correct as of April 30th 2024.

Comments 1



It seems that you're giving us a valuable resource for this analysis by giving and offering us insights and commentary on the Premier League's latest developments and strategies. This is very informative and helps us football enthusiasts to be updated with the latest updates on the Premier League.

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