Everton and Leicester appear to have very difficult starts to the 2017/18 Premier League season.
The fixture list has been released and by looking at leading bookmakers’ odds for final positions, we can see where each team’s supposed tricky run of games come in the season.
This table shows the 20 top-flight teams in the position they’re predicted to finish according to bookies’ odds, and can be used to identify when their easiest and toughest fixtures are coming up.
Everton face all of the predicted top four in their first five fixtures, while Leicester face Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea.
It could potentially be a good omen for the Gunners though.
2000 - The last time Arsenal faced Leicester on opening day, they reached the UEFA Cup final the following May. Prediction. pic.twitter.com/vnnxxToXpR— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 14, 2017
The opening weekend is supposed to be an easy one for Manchester City and Chelsea, the bookies’ favourites for the top two, while it could be a very demoralising start for their opponents Brighton and Burnley.
Newly promoted Huddersfield meanwhile appear to have a gentle introduction to life in the top division, with the highest predicted finisher in their first five fixtures being Leicester, in eighth.
It’s something David Wagner’s men will hope to take advantage of, given that they play Chelsea, Everton, Man City and Arsenal in their final four games.
Speaking of the Gunners, Arsenal are renowned for suffering a dip in form at the turn of the year – and with games against Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City coming around that period Arsene Wenger will be hoping this is the year they can break the curse.
Chelsea travel to Newcastle on the final day of the season, and the Magpies have form in making things difficult for the Blues. Should anything still be up for grabs on the final day this could be an epic encounter, especially with Rafa Benitez in charge of the Toon.
Tottenham meanwhile play Antonio Conte’s men for the second time in the league at the end of March, and if this season is anything like the last that fixture could prove pivotal.
As for the rest, City’s games at the beginning of April – against United and Tottenham – could be huge for their title hopes, while Liverpool will hope they don’t suffer from fatigue at the beginning of 2018 in the same way they did this year. They face Manchester City, Tottenham and United around that period, as well as potential stumbling blocks in Burnley, Swansea, Southampton and West Ham.
There is some hope for Jurgen Klopp though – a reunion with his former assistant manager Wagner comes in the midst of all those. He’ll be hoping it’s a happy one.