With the all-important run in upon us where the future of clubs, managers and players will be decided based on where clubs finish this 14/15 league campaign, it’s time to see what clubs have the hardest and most favorable fixtures left. As I have done in the past, these calculations are based on the individual tallies of home and away goal differentials for each clubs opponents on their schedules. This is a popular and proven way to measure the strength of schedule a given club has left. Here are the results for each clubs final 10 matches (except Chelsea who have 11 matches left due to the postponement of their league match the weekend of the league Cup Final):
As you can see, West Brom have the hardest remaining schedule mainly due to the fact that the opponents they will face away from home have a combined +51 goal differential (GD). This is the 2nd hardest slate of away fixtures only behind Sunderland’s daunting +54 GD. The easiest remaining schedule falls to Leicester City who will need to take advantage of their schedule as the only side whose schedule matches them against opponents with a negative GD both home and away if they wish to maintain their premier league status for next season.
In terms of the title race, Chelsea is firmly in control and 5 points up on Manchester City with a game in hand but Chelsea does have the 5th hardest schedule whereas Manchester city have the 3rd easiest schedule left. A repeat of last year’s City comeback against Chelsea to take the title is not completely out of question if the Citizens can take advantage of a weaker fixture list and take 25 to 27 of the last 30 points possible.
In the race to avoid relegation as mentioned above Leicester City has the easiest remaining schedule. Other sides in the thick of the relegation battle including Burnley, QPR, and Aston Villa all have middle of the road schedules so no real advantage can be seen there. Hull and Everton who are on the outer edges of the relegation fight, find themselves in different positions, the Tigers have the 3rd hardest remaining schedule and the Toffees have the 2nd easiest set of fixtures left. This could see Hull sink down the table and Everton break out of their spurt of bad domestic form.
All in all the remaining fixtures should provide a very entertaining run in that as always will have a few twist and turns along the way. Do these strength of schedule numbers change your thoughts on any of the battles for European places or the fight to avoid relegation?