Analyzing the Premier League’s Top Six schedules this congested month

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Tuesday begins the annual expedition that is the Premier League holiday season, a congested schedule that brings each club a vicious batch of five matches in, at most, 22 days.

How will that run affect the race for European places and the title? This is, after all, the most trying time of the season given the busy slate and often-troubling weather (let alone ordinary human holiday stresses).

One of the overlooked aspects of this holiday season is that life is, for the most part, just as congested as usual for the powers still alive in Europe and Cup competitions. While this means they’ve put more miles on their players’ legs, it also breeds an unfamiliar bit of business for sides who have not endured such a stretch earlier in the season.

[ MORE: Breaking down UCL, Europa draws ]

Let’s take a gander at the schedules of the Premier League’s Top Six. While we suppose excluding Watford — three points back of sixth-place United —  is a bit naive given Leicester City’s 2015-16 season, we are doing so. Forgive us, Sir Elton.

There’s a sincere run of opportunity ahead for the current first, fifth and sixth place sides. Aside from Chelsea’s Jan. 4 date at White Hart Lane, there isn’t a contender on the slates of the Blues, Manchester United, and Spurs (again, apologies to Watford).

Man City’s schedule is a mixed blessing. Having to stare down Arsenal and Liverpool in a 13-day span is a big challenge, but also affords Pep Guardiola‘s bunch the opportunity to close gaps on both.

Liverpool also faces a Merseyside Derby over the holiday slate, while Arsenal will take on Everton as well.

[ MORE: Mourinho praises Jones, Rojo ]

This is a clear opportunity for Jose Mourinho and United. Sure, three of their five dates are away from Old Trafford, but only West Brom is outside the Bottom Six.

Chelsea

Wednesday at Sunderland
Saturday at Crystal Palace
Dec. 26 vs. Bournemouth
Dec. 31 vs. Stoke City
Jan. 4 at Tottenham Hotspur

Arsenal

Tuesday at Everton
Sunday at Manchester City
Dec. 26 vs. West Bromwich Albion
Jan. 1 vs. Crystal Palace
Jan. 3 at Bournemouth

Liverpool

Wednesday at Middlesbrough
Dec. 19 at Everton
Dec. 27 vs. Stoke City
Dec. 31 vs. Manchester City
Jan. 2 at Sunderland

Manchester City

Wednesday vs. Watford
Sunday vs. Arsenal
Dec. 26 at Hull City
Dec. 31 at Liverpool
Jan. 2 vs. Burnley

Tottenham Hotspur

Wednesday vs. Hull City
Sunday vs. Burnley
Dec. 28 at Southampton
Jan. 1 at Watford
Jan. 4 vs. Chelsea

Manchester United

Wednesday at Crystal Palace
Saturday at West Brom
Dec. 26 vs. Sunderland
Dec. 31 vs. Middlesbrough
Jan. 2 at West Ham United

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Chelsea 15 12 1 2 33 11 22 7-0-1 5-1-1 37
 Arsenal 15 10 4 1 36 15 21 5-2-1 5-2-0 34
 Liverpool 15 9 4 2 37 20 17 5-2-0 4-2-2 31
 Manchester City 15 9 3 3 32 19 13 3-3-1 6-0-2 30
 Tottenham Hotspur 15 7 6 2 24 11 13 5-2-0 2-4-2 27
 Manchester United 15 6 6 3 20 16 4 3-4-1 3-2-2 24

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