OK. In his post-match interview after the Stoke City game at Anfield (27 December 2016), Jürgen Klopp said: ‘This is not the moment the season is decided … we will have to fight for each point … it’s still open, and we’re still in the race which is good.’
Well, all this might be correct, but we have seen one thing being a big deal in the period from Christmas to February, and that is some few clubs will drop a few too many points to be considered real title challengers by the middle of February, even if they were by the time of Boxing Day.
This article will be my personal attempt to sum things up for each of the top 6 clubs at the moment, while I hope Liverpool will be dropping fewer points than Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, and Manchester United in the course of the next one and a half month of Premier League action.
Let’s take a look at the Premier League fixtures coming up then.
Manchester United have home games against Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Hull and Watford coming up now. Away games in the same period (31 December 2016 – 11 February 2017): West Ham, Stoke and Leicester. Not too hard, but with every chance to drop some points.
Tottenham Hotspur have home games against Chelsea, West Brom and Middlebrough. Their away games will be against Watford, Manchester City, Sunderland and Liverpool.
This looks slightly more difficult than what can be said about Man United’s upcoming fixtures. Spurs might drop quite a few points now and be on their way out of the league title race by mid February?
Arsenal have home games against Crystal Palace, Burnley, Watford and Hull coming up now, and will play Bournemouth, Swansea and Chelsea away.
I would easily regard Arsenal’s next few games the easiest of the top 6 fixture lists, and they will most probably remain in the race until at least 13 February and a little bit longer.
Manchester City have home games against Burnley, Spurs and Swansea coming up. Their next few away games will be against Liverpool, Everton, West Ham and Bournemouth.
This fixture list looks tough on Man City fans, and I would say quite a few points are there for their opposition sides to steal away from them. Then again, manager Pep Guardiola will always be well prepared, as always.
Only Swansea can really be said to be ‘easy’ although who knows what might happen with a defense like ours?
That’s always the serious question, isn’t it? Liverpool’s next away games in this period are against Sunderland, Manchester United and Hull.
As things stand, I know we are heading into a key period of the 2016/17 season now. I have no doubt about this. Our schedule is very tough and we must be at our best not to drop too many points in this period.
Other clubs’ fans will want to think Liverpool will drop many, many points now. Let’s all hope these other clubs fans are terribly wrong about their wishes and hopes against us, as we know we can beat anyone any day!
Chelsea have home games against Stoke, Hull and Arsenal coming up now, and they also got games against Tottenham, Leicester, Liverpool and Burnley away.
Chelsea’s schedule isn’t easy at all, but Antonio Conte’s new Chelsea is in deadly form now. Then again, does anything last forever?
Of course it could, but I spy a few possible points dropped in local derbies against Arsenal and Spurs here, then they are also going to play both Liverpool and Burnley away. Yes, I mention Burnley here, because they are extremely hard to beat at Turf Moor.
Okay, there you have it. I’ve got it, you’ve got it. If you don’t agree with me when I say the next few games constitute a key period of the current Premier League season, I certainly am not to blame. I only say it’s now or never right now. We will need to fight for almost each and every point in the next seven Premier League matches, and then also be a little bit lucky.
If we are, we will all be very happy by 13 February 2017. If not, well, I know what.
Written by @magneleokarlsen