The start of the new Premier League season is almost upon us, with kick-off matches across the country scheduled for 3pm on September 12.
Liverpool went out to defend their own title after winning their first League title in 30 years last campaign. But the Reds face stiff competition from Manchester city, while there are a number of teams aiming to get into the top four.
The competition is likely to be just as fierce at the other end of the table as newly promoted Leeds, West Brom and Fulham try to avoid the drop, while last season’s stragglers will seek to stay away from the relegation scrap.
But which teams have the best chance of getting off to a very important strong start? We calculated the numbers and here are the results.
Well, West ham United have had the most difficult start to the Premier League season, at least on paper.
The hammers will face Newcastle, Arsenal, wolves, Leicester, Tottenham, Manchester city, Liverpool and Fulham in their first eight games leading up to their second international break.
Last season, these teams averaged 7.8 places in the final League – a higher average than the top eight opponents of any other Premier League club.
Mikel Arteta Arsenal and title contenders Manchester city have the next toughest set of opponents leading up to the international break. The teams they will face averaged 9.1 th place in the League last season.
It is followed by the returning Face giants (9.4), top-seeded Sheffield United (9.6) and Newcastle (10.0) last season.
Scott Parker brought Fulham back to the Premier League just one season after relegation, and the cottagers have the easiest starting set on paper. Last season, their opponents averaged 13.5 th place in the championship.
Jose Mourinho will be hoping the campaign goes off in strong fashion in his first full season as Tottenham boss, as spurs have the next easiest start (12.4).
This is followed by a trio of European contenders in Wolves (12.1), Leicester (12.1) and Southampton (11.9).
As a warning to the calculations, Leeds, West Brom and Fulham were given League positions of 18, 19 and 20 respectively for the purposes of the calculation.
And since their opening weekend matches were postponed, Aston Villa, Burnley, Manchester city and Manchester United played just seven matches.
Average position of Firstlight’s opponents in the League
Club / / Average
West Ham United / / 7.8
Arsenal // 9.1
Manchester City / / 9.1
Leeds United / / 9.4
Sheffield United / / 9.6
Newcastle United / / 10.0
Brighton / / 10.1
Chelsea / / 10.3
Everton // 10.3
Aston Villa // 10.3
Manchester United / / 10.3
West Bromwich Albion / / 10.4
Burnley / / 10.4
Liverpool / / 10.8
Crystal Palace / / 11.3
Southampton / / 11.9
Leicester City / / 12.1
Wolverhampton / / 12.1
Tottenham Hotspur / / 12.4
Fulham / / 13.5