The 2024-25 Premier League fixtures have been announced, so we’ve looked at the schedule to analyse which teams have the easiest and toughest starts to the new season.

Premier League fixture release day spells the start of the new season and gets fans excited about the upcoming campaign. Supporters of newly promoted clubs can mark their calendars with landmark dates for the season, with away trips to the big clubs circled in red. It’s all utterly pointless, because the games are likely to be moved for TV coverage, but still.

Getting off to a strong start is key to a good season. For teams expected to be down the bottom of the table at the end of the season, making a positive start could make or break a campaign. Overall, 96 teams have won their opening two games to a Premier League season, and just three of those have ended up being relegated that campaign: Wolves in 2011-12, Hull in 2016-17 and West Brom in 2017-18.

Just one of the last 11 Premier League title winners have lost their opening game in that successful season – Manchester City in 2021-22, who lost 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur.

This time around, reigning champions Man City travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea, a team that they dropped four points against in 2023-24, including an entertaining 4-4 draw in London back in November. This is the first time that Chelsea have begun a top-flight campaign with a match against the reigning champions since 1971-72, when they lost 3-0 against Arsenal at Highbury.

Premier League Matchday 1 Fixtures: 2024-25

Manchester United vs Fulham (Friday 16 August)
Arsenal vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (Saturday 17 August)
Everton vs Brighton & Hove Albion (Saturday 17 August)
Ipswich Town vs Liverpool (Saturday 17 August)
Newcastle United vs Southampton (Saturday 17 August)
Nottingham Forest vs Bournemouth (Saturday 17 August)
West Ham United vs Aston Villa (Saturday 17 August)
Brentford vs Crystal Palace (Sunday 18 August)
Chelsea vs Manchester City (Sunday 18 August)
Leicester City vs Tottenham Hotspur (Monday 19 August)

Using the Opta Power Rankings, we can quantify how easy (or difficult) each team’s opening schedule is.

As a reminder, these Power Rankings rate a frankly enormous number of teams (over 12,700) across the globe based on a system that scores the current strongest side 100 and the weakest zero.

Those scores are then used to rank the teams in order of strongest to weakest.

Focusing on the Premier League, we looked at the average Opta Power Rating of each team’s opponents to measure fixture difficulty.

These ranged from Manchester City (the number one team in the world with a Opta Power Rating of 100.0 and therefore the hardest to play against) to Southampton (ranked 150 in the world with a Opta Power Rating of 79.6 and therefore the ‘easiest’ team to play against in England’s top flight).

Here’s how things shake up. 

The Opening Five Games

It’s great news for Arne Slot, with Liverpool’s opening five games to the 2024-25 Premier League season deemed the easiest of all 20 teams.

A start at newly-promoted Ipswich Town on the opening weekend is followed by a home game versus Brentford at Anfield on MD 2. A tricky away game at Manchester United will be their biggest test early on, with Jürgen Klopp having failed to lead Liverpool to a win in his last three trips to Old Trafford, including an FA Cup defeat last season. That is followed by kinder fixtures against Nottingham Forest (H) and Bournemouth (A).

Premier League Fixtures - First 5 Games of 2024-25

London clubs Brentford and West Ham have been handed the toughest starts, with their opening five opponents to the 2024-25 Premier League season having the highest average Opta Power Rating (89.6).

Ipswich Town very much get a “welcome to the big league, pal” message, with a horrendously tough start against Liverpool at home, followed by a trip to the Etihad Stadium to face reigning champions Man City the next weekend.

Arsenal came close to ending Man City’s dominance at the top of the table last season but face a tricky start to 2024-25. They have the joint-second hardest opening five games based on the Opta Power Rating of their opponents, including back-to-back away games at rivals Tottenham and Man City on MD 4 and MD 5. Ouch.

Elsewhere, Manchester United become the first team in Premier League history to start a campaign with a home game in eight successive seasons. They play Fulham at Old Trafford to kick the season off on Friday 16 August.

The Opening 10 Games

Looking at the opening 10 fixtures to the 2024-25 Premier League campaign, it is Wolves who have the hardest start.

Their opening day trip to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal is only the beginning to a painful opening period, with their first four home games coming against sides that finished inside the top seven last season: Chelsea (6th), Newcastle (7th), Liverpool (3rd) and Man City (1st).

Premier League Fixtures - First 10 Games of 2024-25

Everton are deemed to have the easiest start to the 2024-25 Premier League season based on their first 10 matches, with their opponents having the lowest average Opta Power Rating (84.5).

Sean Dyche’s side only face two of last season’s top six inside their opening 10 matches, with trips to Tottenham (MD 2) and Aston Villa (MD 4). They play all three of the newly promoted sides in this period, too.

The Run In

The Premier League Run In

Pep Guardiola’s Man City have become known for their ruthlessness in the final few months of the season. They ended 2023-24 with nine successive wins to storm past Arsenal at the top of the table and secure a record fourth consecutive top-flight title. Looking at their run-in next season, don’t write them off doing it again.

According to the Opta Power Rankings, City have the easiest final 10 games of 2024-25, with just one of their last 10 matches against a team that finished in the top seven last season – a home game against Aston Villa.

Over their final five games, they have the third-easiest run, behind Leicester City and Brentford.

Title rivals Arsenal will take hope from the fact that their final 10 games are deemed the fourth easiest of all 20 teams in the Premier League. However, they do face Liverpool (A) and Newcastle (H) inside their final three games, both of which could prove tricky.

At the other end of the scale, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Everton are said to have the most difficult final 10 games of the season. Fulham face each of last season’s top six in their run-in, while Palace and Everton both face five of last season’s top seven.

Looking at the final five games, though, it is south coast sides Bournemouth and Southampton who face the biggest tests. Both face both City and Arsenal, though Bournemouth also play both Man Utd and Aston Villa.

Those teams might need to have built up a points cushion by the time the run-in rolls around if they are to achieve their objectives for the new campaign.

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