Premier League fixtures: Here's our alternative guide


Diaries at the ready...

The new Premier League fixtures have been announced, and they've thrown up plenty of talking points for fans already missing domestic action.

The full list can be readily found elsewhere - as can the usual list of derby games - so here we offer an alternative look at things to keep an eye out for.

The graphic below shows where each club's toughest and easiest games are. Red boxes are games against the six teams considered most likely to win the title - based on bookies' current odds - and green ones are against the six most likely to be relegated.


The number in each box shows the predicted finishing position of that opponent, as per the numbers down the left hand side of the graphic, which means that you can match each box to a specific team.

The City of Culture?

Bayern Munich's manager Pep Guardiola celebrates
(Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport)

Pep Guardiola is a sophisticated guy. He has earned himself the reputation as the world's best manager thanks to all-conquering spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich and anticipation about his arrival in England with Manchester City is at fever pitch.

Guardiola is likely to enjoy a gentile start to life in the Premier League - he faces just two likely title rivals in his first four months and could well be top of the league come the turn at Christmas.

After spending recent years cutting his turkey in Barcelona and Munich, Pep will be in Hull in 2016 preparing for a Boxing Day game with the Tigers. Who better to bring in the 2017 City of Culture?

Cause for complaint?

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce gestures on the touchline
(Mike Egerton/PA)

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce said last season that it was "diabolical" that FA Cup games were being played so close to key Premier League games and as such played a weakened team in a clash against Arsenal.

The new season's list presents Big Sam with a few issues to chew over too, given his side are sent away from home to face some big hitters on a number of key dates throughout.

They start at Manchester City and close at Chelsea, while Christmas is sandwiched by trips to Manchester United and Liverpool. Season's greetings one and all.

After the Lord Mayor's show?

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy appeals a decision from the referee
(Nick Potts/PA)

Few people expected Leicester to win the title and it's probably fair to say even fewer expect them to defend it.

If they are to defy the odds again then they are going to need a good start. They face three title rivals inside the opening six games in the shape of Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd and that run could determine how much of a defence they may mount.

When will Arsenal do an Arsenal?

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman applauds fans
(Daniel Hambury/PA)

The Gunners always seem to have a month when their season unravels entirely and they are left with little to fight for other than Champions League qualification - often that month is February, after a window of limited transfer activity.

Next February they play just three times - against Chelsea, Hull and Southampton - and will know they cannot afford to go off the rails again.

Toothless Tigers?

Hull City manager Steve Bruce reacts during the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium, London
(Nick Potts/PA)

Hull have become a yo-yo side over recent years and will want to arrest that this season. Despite confusion over Steve Bruce's future and at boardroom level, whoever runs the show at the KCOM will know the importance of staying up.

However, their hopes could easily be crushed during two horror-looking runs. Inside their first seven games they face Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, while over January and February they face Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal in a row. Ouch.