Premier League fixtures: Which top-four challenger has the worst fixture list?

If you're already fed up of the lack of club football during the international break, worry not; April will offer a jam-packed fixture list to make up for it.

The matches willonly getbigger and bigger, of course, as the Premier League enters its final straight and the races for the title, top four and to avoid relegation are decided.

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While Chelsea have emerged as heavy favourites to be crowned champions, they are one of six clubs competing for just four spots in next season's Champions League.

To get a better idea of who might emerge from that shake-up with a place in Europe's top competition secured, here are the schedules Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are facing between now and the end of the campaign.

ARSENAL

Date Opponent Venue
02/04/17 Man City H
05/04/17 West Ham H
10/04/17 Crystal Palace A
17/04/17 Middlesbrough A
22/04/17 Sunderland H
26/04/17 Leicester City H
30/04/17 Tottenham A
06/05/17 Man United H
13/05/17 Stoke City A
21/05/17 Everton H
? Southampton A

Arsenal are in a bit of a mess, and the defeat to West Brom was particularly damaging because they could quite easily lose again in their next match against Manchester City.

It's tough to see them winning that game, anyway, and after a reasonably friendly run following their next matchthey end the campaign with a difficult series of fixtures against Leicester, Tottenham, Man United, Stoke and Everton. There is also a yet-to-be-rearranged date at Southampton to cramin.

Arsenal West Brom Hector Bellerin Nacho Monreal

Even the 20 points we've projected for them - which is still only enough for sixth - would require either five wins and five draws or six wins and two draws, and it is difficult to convincingly argue where that sixth win is going to come from in their current state.

If we give them victories at home to West Ham, Sunderland, Leicester and Evertonthat's four, and they should also beat Middlesbrough away. But then they're left with three top-six rivals and three less-than-straightforward away matches at Crystal Palace, Stoke and Southampton.

Current points: 50 (sixth)

Projected points:70 (sixth)

CHELSEA

Date Opponent Venue
01/04/17 Crystal Palace H
05/04/17 Man City H
08/04/17 Bournemouth A
16/04/17 Man United A
25/04/17 Southampton H
30/04/17 Everton A
06/05/17 Middlesbrough H
13/05/17 West Brom A
21/05/17 Sunderland H
? Watford H

Chelsea will win the leaguebut whether they can break the English top flight's points record, which they set themselves in 2004-05 under Jose Mourinho, is another matter.

We see them posting a record of seven wins, two draws and one defeat between now and the end of the campaign, leaving them three points short of Mourinho's 95. Their total would be comfortably enough, nevertheless, to wrap up the title with a few games to spare.

There is nothing that is going to derail the Blues in their remaining fixtures but they still have to host ManCity and visit Man United and Everton, and Antonio Conte's side willneed to win two of those games and be perfect in theother seven to make Premier League history. That might be asking too much even of them.

Current points: 69 (first)

Projected points: 92 (first)

LIVERPOOL

Date Opponent Venue
01/04/17 Everton H
05/04/17 Bournemouth H
08/04/17 Stoke City A
16/04/17 West Brom A
23/04/17 Crystal Palace H
01/05/17 Watford A
06/05/17 Southampton H
13/05/17 West Ham A
21/05/17 Middlesbrough H

Liverpool's remaining fixturesare the most difficultto predict. On the one hand, victory over rivals Everton after the international break would seem to put the Reds in an incredibly strong position, with West Brom - currently eighth - the next best team they will have left to face.

The problem, of course, is that the Reds have been very good against the top teams in the league this season and inconsistent against those lower down the table - especially away from home.

Georginio Wijnaldum, David Silva, Manchester City - Liverpool, Premier League, 03192017

So they could play to their full potential, win seven or eight of nine and breeze into next season's Champions League.

We're yet to see that kind of consistency from them, however, and so while our projection still sees them sneak into the top four it makes the race for that final spot a lot closer, with goal difference possibly coming into play.

Current points: 56 (fourth)

Projected points: 71(fourth)

MANCHESTER CITY

Date Opponent Venue
02/04/17 Arsenal A
05/04/17 Chelsea A
08/04/17 Hull City H
15/04/17 Southampton A
22/04/17 West Brom H
27/04/17 Man United H
30/04/17 Middlesbrough A
06/05/17 Crystal Palace H
13/05/17 Leicester City H
21/05/17 Watford A

City look to be figuring things out under Pep Guardiola and though their Champions League exit to Monaco was disappointing, they are unbeaten in domestic competitions since their 4-0 humbling at Everton back in January.

Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling are driving them up front and the back four has stabilised enough to give City a real chance of taking second off of Tottenham if they can come through their next two matches, at Arsenal and Chelsea, with two or three points.

From then on they have perhaps the friendliest run-in of all six teams, though like their rivals United they have had issues taking their chances and punishing teams on home turf.

Current points: 57 (third)

Projected points:79 (second)

MANCHESTER UNITED

Date Opponent Venue
01/04/17 West Brom H
04/04/17 Everton H
09/04/17 Sunderland A
16/04/17 Chelsea H
23/04/17 Burnley A
27/04/17 Man City A
30/04/17 Swansea City H
06/05/17 Arsenal A
13/05/17 Tottenham A
21/05/17 Crystal Palace H
? Southampton A

United's biggest problem is going to be fixture congestion as they continue to balance their league campaign with the Europa League.

Their advantage, however, is that they have probably the least-idealistic manager in the top six, which is to say Jose Mourinho will have no hesitation shutting up shop away at Arsenal and Spurs and playing for a point.

Anthony Martial Zlatan Ibrahimovic Manchester United

If they can scrap for draws in the tougher matches, they have seven other games against mid-table opposition or lower that give them a real chance of retaking a place in the Champions League. The sheer grind of their existing backlog combined with the extra fixtures to come in Europe, however, may see them come up short.

Current points: 52 (fifth)

Projected points: 71 (fifth)

TOTTENHAM

Date Opponent Venue
01/04/17 Burnley A
05/04/17 Swansea City A
08/04/17 Watford H
15/04/17 Bournemouth H
23/04/17 Leicester City A
26/04/17 Crystal Palace A
30/04/17 Arsenal H
06/05/17 West Ham A
13/05/17 Man United H
21/05/17 Hull City A

At first glance, Spurs' fixture list doesn't look too bad; they have Arsenal and Man United still to play but both at home, where they have been extremely strong.

It's away, however, that they may slip up. Burnley have been excellent at home, Leicester look a different team under Craig Shakespeare and Swansea, Hull and Palace are all fighting for their lives and getting results under new managerson a semi-regular basis.

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Mauricio Pochettino's men have enough breathing room, at least, that while they may face a battle for second with Man City, they should have few issues holding on to a top-four spot.

Current points: 59 (second)

Projected points: 77 (third)

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