Premier League title race: Who has the best fixtures in the run-in – Man City or Liverpool?

With only four rounds of fixtures remaining and just two points separating the champions and the challengers, the finest Premier League title race of recent years is not far from being decided.

Manchester City hope to defend their crown and will do so if they win their remaining five games, but Liverpool lead the way on 85 points, having played once more than their rivals

Both sides are likely to achieve points totals which would be enough to win the league in all but a handful of post-1995 (i.e. 38-game) seasons.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

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Whichever one of Jürgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola finishes in second place is almost certain to have managed the Premier League’s best-ever runners-up.

And whether City defend their crown or Liverpool end their 29-year wait for a domestic title will depend, in part, on how their respective run-ins.


The #IndyPL100 countdown





1/101 #IndyPL100

2/101 100. Graeme Le Saux

3/101 99. Cesar Azpilicueta

4/101 98. Fernandinho

5/101 97. James Milner

6/101 96. Joe Cole

7/101 95. Juninho

8/101 94. Marcel Desailly

9/101 93. Arjen Robben

10/101 92. Robbie Keane

11/101 91. Chris Sutton

12/101 90. Sami Hyypia

13/101 89. Edin Dzeko

14/101 88. Lee Dixon

15/101 87. Nani

16/101 86. Peter Beardsley

17/101 85. Fredrik Ljungberg

18/101 84. Emmanuel Petit

19/101 83. Patrice Evra

20/101 82. Jay Jay Okocha

21/101 81. Steve McManaman

22/101 80. Branislav Ivanovic

23/101 79. Gary Speed

24/101 78. William Gallas

25/101 77. Mesut Ozil

26/101 76. Gilberto Silva

27/101 75. Jamie Carragher

28/101 74. Paul Ince

29/101 73. Les Ferdinand

30/101 72. Raheem Sterling

31/101 71. Mark Hughes

32/101 70. Gary Pallister

33/101 69. Jurgen Klinsmann

34/101 68. Ricardo Carvalho

35/101 67. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

36/101 66. David Ginola

37/101 65. Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink

38/101 64. Diego Costa

39/101 63. Ledley King

40/101 62. Michael Essien

41/101 61. Marc Overmars

42/101 60. Fernando Torres

43/101 59. Kevin de Bruyne

44/101 58. David Seaman

45/101 57. Luka Modric

46/101 56. Dennis Irwin

47/101 55. Gary Neville

48/101 54. Xabi Alonso

49/101 53. Paolo Di Canio

50/101 52. Edwin Van Der Sar

51/101 51. Dimitar Berbatov

52/101 50. Steve Bruce

53/101 49. Nicolas Anelka

54/101 48. Dwight Yorke

55/101 47. Jaap Stam

56/101 46. Claude Makelele

57/101 45. Teddy Sheringham

58/101 44. Michael Carrick

59/101 43. Ian Wright

60/101 42. Robbie Fowler

61/101 41. Carlos Tevez

62/101 40. David de Gea

63/101 39. Sol Campbell

64/101 38. Tony Adams

65/101 37. Robert Pires

66/101 36. N’Golo Kante

67/101 35. Matthew Le Tissier

68/101 34. Harry Kane

69/101 33. Luis Suarez

70/101 32. Gianfranco Zola

71/101 31. Petr Cech

72/101 30. Cesc Fabregas

73/101 29. Yaya Toure

74/101 28. Michael Owen

75/101 27. Robin van Persie

76/101 26. Gareth Bale

77/101 25. Andy Cole

78/101 24. Vincent Kompany

79/101 23. Eden Hazard

80/101 22. Ruud van Nistelrooy

81/101 21. David Beckham

82/101 20. Peter Schmeichel

83/101 19. Nemanja Vidic

84/101 18. Didier Drogba

85/101 17. David Silva

86/101 16. Rio Ferdinand

87/101 15. Steven Gerrard

88/101 14. Ashley Cole

89/101 13. Dennis Bergkamp

90/101 12. Paul Scholes

91/101 11. Eric Cantona

92/101 10. Sergio Aguero

93/101 9. Patrick Vieira

94/101 8. John Terry

95/101 7. Alan Shearer

96/101 6. Wayne Rooney

97/101 5. Frank Lampard

98/101 4. Roy Keane

99/101 3. Ryan Giggs

100/101 2. Cristiano Ronaldo

101/101 1. Thierry Henry

1/101 #IndyPL100

2/101 100. Graeme Le Saux

3/101 99. Cesar Azpilicueta

4/101 98. Fernandinho

5/101 97. James Milner

6/101 96. Joe Cole

7/101 95. Juninho

8/101 94. Marcel Desailly

9/101 93. Arjen Robben

10/101 92. Robbie Keane

11/101 91. Chris Sutton

12/101 90. Sami Hyypia

13/101 89. Edin Dzeko

14/101 88. Lee Dixon

15/101 87. Nani

16/101 86. Peter Beardsley

17/101 85. Fredrik Ljungberg

18/101 84. Emmanuel Petit

19/101 83. Patrice Evra

20/101 82. Jay Jay Okocha

21/101 81. Steve McManaman

22/101 80. Branislav Ivanovic

23/101 79. Gary Speed

24/101 78. William Gallas

25/101 77. Mesut Ozil

26/101 76. Gilberto Silva

27/101 75. Jamie Carragher

28/101 74. Paul Ince

29/101 73. Les Ferdinand

30/101 72. Raheem Sterling

31/101 71. Mark Hughes

32/101 70. Gary Pallister

33/101 69. Jurgen Klinsmann

34/101 68. Ricardo Carvalho

35/101 67. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

36/101 66. David Ginola

37/101 65. Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink

38/101 64. Diego Costa

39/101 63. Ledley King

40/101 62. Michael Essien

41/101 61. Marc Overmars

42/101 60. Fernando Torres

43/101 59. Kevin de Bruyne

44/101 58. David Seaman

45/101 57. Luka Modric

46/101 56. Dennis Irwin

47/101 55. Gary Neville

48/101 54. Xabi Alonso

49/101 53. Paolo Di Canio

50/101 52. Edwin Van Der Sar

51/101 51. Dimitar Berbatov

52/101 50. Steve Bruce

53/101 49. Nicolas Anelka

54/101 48. Dwight Yorke

55/101 47. Jaap Stam

56/101 46. Claude Makelele

57/101 45. Teddy Sheringham

58/101 44. Michael Carrick

59/101 43. Ian Wright

60/101 42. Robbie Fowler

61/101 41. Carlos Tevez

62/101 40. David de Gea

63/101 39. Sol Campbell

64/101 38. Tony Adams

65/101 37. Robert Pires

66/101 36. N’Golo Kante

67/101 35. Matthew Le Tissier

68/101 34. Harry Kane

69/101 33. Luis Suarez

70/101 32. Gianfranco Zola

71/101 31. Petr Cech

72/101 30. Cesc Fabregas

73/101 29. Yaya Toure

74/101 28. Michael Owen

75/101 27. Robin van Persie

76/101 26. Gareth Bale

77/101 25. Andy Cole

78/101 24. Vincent Kompany

79/101 23. Eden Hazard

80/101 22. Ruud van Nistelrooy

81/101 21. David Beckham

82/101 20. Peter Schmeichel

83/101 19. Nemanja Vidic

84/101 18. Didier Drogba

85/101 17. David Silva

86/101 16. Rio Ferdinand

87/101 15. Steven Gerrard

88/101 14. Ashley Cole

89/101 13. Dennis Bergkamp

90/101 12. Paul Scholes

91/101 11. Eric Cantona

92/101 10. Sergio Aguero

93/101 9. Patrick Vieira

94/101 8. John Terry

95/101 7. Alan Shearer

96/101 6. Wayne Rooney

97/101 5. Frank Lampard

98/101 4. Roy Keane

99/101 3. Ryan Giggs

100/101 2. Cristiano Ronaldo

101/101 1. Thierry Henry

By calculating the average points-per-game home and away of each Premier League club this season, we can weigh up the difficulty of their respective run-ins. 

Then, we can see where the title may be won and lost over coming weeks.

The run-ins

Liverpool

Current position: 1st​​

Points: 85

Average home/away points of opponents: 1.00

Like City, Liverpool are still competing in the Champions League, though the sense around Anfield is that a first domestic league title in 29 years is very much the priority.

Remaining fixtures

21/04 Cardiff (A)

26/04 Huddersfield (H)

05/05 Newcastle (A)

12/05 Wolves (H)

That was certainly the vibe on Sunday, when the ghosts of 2014 were exorcised with a critical 2-0 victory over Chelsea – the side who benefited from Steven Gerrard’s slip five years ago.

A trip to Cardiff next weekend is likely to be more challenging than it looks. Neil Warnock’s relegation-threatened side are scrapping for points and generally perform better when at home.

Anything other than a comfortable victory over already-relegated Huddersfield at Anfield will be classed as a severe disappointment.

St James’ Park, however, is a very different proposition. Newcastle have won five of their seven home games since the turn of the year, including a memorable victory over City in late January.

Wolves, meanwhile, have famously taken points off every member of the so-called ‘top-six’ bar one: Liverpool. They travel to Anfield on the final day and no longer have to worry about resting players for an FA Cup final.


Top 25 managers in Premier League history





1/26 The top 25 Premier League managers

2/26 25. Alan Curbishley

3/26 24. Ron Atkinson

4/26 23. Roy Evans

5/26 22. Roy Hodgson

6/26 21. David Moyes

7/26 20. Tony Pulis

8/26 19. Jurgen Klopp

9/26 18. Gerard Houllier

10/26 17. Sam Allardyce

11/26 16. Sir Bobby Robson

12/26 15. Brendan Rodgers

13/26 14. Martin O’Neill

14/26 13. Kevin Keegan

15/26 12. Harry Redknapp

16/26 11. Rafa Benitez

17/26 10. Mauricio Pochettino

18/26 9. Manuel Pellegrini

19/26 8. Carlo Ancelotti

20/26 7. Roberto Mancini

21/26 6. Kenny Dalglish

22/26 5. Claudio Ranieri

23/26 4. Antonio Conte

24/26 3. Arsene Wenger

25/26 2. Jose Mourinho

26/26 1. Sir Alex Ferguson

1/26 The top 25 Premier League managers

2/26 25. Alan Curbishley

3/26 24. Ron Atkinson

4/26 23. Roy Evans

5/26 22. Roy Hodgson

6/26 21. David Moyes

7/26 20. Tony Pulis

8/26 19. Jurgen Klopp

9/26 18. Gerard Houllier

10/26 17. Sam Allardyce

11/26 16. Sir Bobby Robson

12/26 15. Brendan Rodgers

13/26 14. Martin O’Neill

14/26 13. Kevin Keegan

15/26 12. Harry Redknapp

16/26 11. Rafa Benitez

17/26 10. Mauricio Pochettino

18/26 9. Manuel Pellegrini

19/26 8. Carlo Ancelotti

20/26 7. Roberto Mancini

21/26 6. Kenny Dalglish

22/26 5. Claudio Ranieri

23/26 4. Antonio Conte

24/26 3. Arsene Wenger

25/26 2. Jose Mourinho

26/26 1. Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester City

Current position: 2nd

Points: 83

Average home/away points of opponents: 1.65

City’s remaining schedule is undoubtedly the more difficult one, with two games against members of the top six to come, as well as ongoing Champions League commitments. 

Guardiola’s side also play just two of their remaining five games at home and face three testing away trips – on paper, at least.

First up, it is Tottenham at the Etihad, three days after a Champions League quarter-final second leg between the two sides on the same ground.

Remaining fixtures

20/04 Tottenham (H)

24/04 Manchester United (A)

28/04 Burnley (A)

04/05 Leicester (H)

12/05 Brighton (A)

Spurs beat City just last week in the first leg at their new stadium. On their travels, they have won at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge already this season and narrowly missed out on picking up a point at Anfield.

Whether they take a result away from the Etihad in the league could be coloured by how they fare in the European game days earlier. Mauricio Pochettino claimed a 2-2 draw away against Guardiola’s side two seasons ago.

City must then travel to Burnley (1.35 points-per-game at home) and relegation-threatened Brighton (1.38) on the final day, though the Seagulls could well be safe by the time the champions roll into town.

The visit of Brendan Rodgers to the Etihad will evoke memories of the last time City and Liverpool battled for the title in 2014. Leicester have beaten the champions already this year.

But the decisive game is likely to be at Old Trafford on 24 April, the first Manchester derby between Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and City’s game-in-hand over Liverpool.

United will need the points as they push for a top-four place. Whether they can pick themselves up after a run of recent poor form is another matter.

Verdict

If the question is who has the ‘easier’ set of fixtures, the answer is certainly Liverpool. City’s next three matches look particularly challenging and having more games away than at home does not help their cause.

City’s schedule is maybe more intimidating on paper than in reality, though. Tottenham are tough, but the timing of their game, three days after the Champions League clash, could play into City’s hands. 

United, meanwhile, have dipped recently and look uncertain while playing in front of Old Trafford. Burnley and Brighton could well be ‘on the beach’ soon, Leicester may be there already.

City are also in menacing form, having won every game since appearing to lose hope of defending their crown with defeat to Newcastle. Liverpool have won their last five, but will nine-in-a-row prove to be a stretch too far?

Overall, City remain narrow favourites. But a gruelling month awaits them and, against all expectation at the start of the season, Liverpool are still there, in position to capitalise on any slip-up.

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