The PL ‘big six’ head-to-head table in 2022-23: Chelsea last…

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The clashes between the traditional Premier League ‘Big Six’ are always important in the battle for the top four and title race and the 2022-23 season is no exception.

Raheem Sterling during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, London, January 2023. Credit: Alamy

There have been some brilliant clashes in the much-hyped Premier League glamour fixtures and the results in them correlate to how the table is shaping up.

Arsenal have been the story of the 2022-23 season and their performances on the big stage have been a major reason. Their only defeat this season was away to Manchester United, but they’ve beaten Liverpool and Chelsea, done the double over north London rivals Spurs and got their revenge over the Red Devils courtesy Eddie Nketiah’s last-gasp winner at the Emirates.

Mikel Arteta’s Gunners still have to play Manchester City home and away in the league – mouth-watering matches to circle in your calendar. They could well end up resulting in who lifts the Premier League trophy in May.

The results in the big games this season have been a symbol of Arsenal’s turnaround this season. Arsenal had the worst record in the ‘big six’ mini-league last term, having lost seven of their 10 clashes against their fellow heavyweights last term.

Meanwhile, champions Manchester City have lost to rivals Liverpool and Manchester United but beaten Chelsea, Tottenham and United. In particular, their 4-2 comeback win over Antonio Conte’s Spurs showed you’d be a fool to write them off in the title race – although their 1-0 defeat in the rematch a fortnight later shows they still have a hoodoo at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Erik ten Hag has done stellar work at Old Trafford, leading Manchester United to home wins over City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs. But they’ve also lost away to City and Arsenal and still have to go away to Liverpool and Spurs.

Liverpool and Chelsea’s 0-0 draw at Anfield was a demonstration of how the two Champions League sides have regressed this season and look unlikely to make it back into the top four this season.

Klopp’s Reds have shown some fight in wins over Man City and Spurs but also lost to United and Arsenal. All the while Chelsea remain the only side yet to win a ‘big six’ clash this season, with the worst record in the heavyweight clashes, though they have mustered draws against Liverpool, Manchester United and Spurs.

Tottenham have lost five of their seven ‘big six’ matches, having been beaten by Arsenal home and away, Liverpool, Manchester United and City. They took a point from their 2-2 draw at home to Chelsea back in August and beat City 1-0, continuing their remarkable home record against Pep Guardiola’s side, who have yet to win or score at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

It’s important to note that unlike most seasons of late, the big six are unlikely to occupy the top six places in the table. Surprise packages Brighton, Fulham and Brentford are ahead of Chelsea and Liverpool as things stand, while newly-minted Newcastle United are looking strong in their top-four push.

Should Newcastle continue to improve, we may have to question whether the concept of ‘the big six’ is relevant anymore and whether we might have to extend it to a ‘big seven’ in the coming years.

This season, Eddie Howe’s Magpies have only lost one match – courtesy of a late winner at home to Liverpool. They’ve held Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal to draws and beaten Tottenham and Chelsea. They’ve taken nine points from six meetings with the old ‘big six’, which is a more than respectable return – demonstrating they might just be the real deal.

Ignoring Newcastle for now, here’s how the traditional ‘big six’ have stacked up in fixtures against one another this season.

  1. Arsenal – 15 points
    Played: 6
    Won: 5
    Drawn: 0
    Lost: 1

Goals for: 13
Goals against: 8
Goal difference: +5

  1. Manchester United – 13 points
    Played: 7
    Won: 4
    Drawn: 1
    Lost: 2

Goals for: 15
Goals against: 13
Goal difference: +2

  1. Manchester City – 9 points
    Played: 6
    Won: 3
    Drawn: 0
    Lost: 3

Goals for: 12
Goals against: 9
Goal difference: +3

  1. Liverpool – 7 points
    Played: 5
    Won: 2
    Drawn: 1
    Lost: 2

Goals for: 6
Goals against: 6
Goal difference: 0

Credit: Alamy

  1. Tottenham – 4 points
    Played: 7
    Won: 1
    Drawn: 1
    Lost: 5

Goals for: 7
Goals against: 15
Goal difference: -8

  1. Chelsea – 3 points
    Played: 5
    Won: 0
    Drawn: 3
    Lost: 2

Goals for: 3
Goals against: 5
Goal difference: -2

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