The Premier League clubs with the toughest Christmas schedules - 2023/24

  • A busy Premier League festive period is in store at the end of 2023
  • Relegation candidates Burnley and Everton each have a tough slog ahead
  • Manchester City will return from Club World Cup

Vincent Kompany's Burnley and Sean Dyche's Everton each have tough Christmas schedules
Vincent Kompany's Burnley and Sean Dyche's Everton each have tough Christmas schedules / Alex Livesey/GettyImages
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The Premier League's festive schedule certainly isn't for the faint-hearted.

The winter 2022 World Cup meant the usual Christmas mayhem was reduced, but the chaos is back with a vengeance in 2023. The games will roll around at an unrelenting rate at an incredibly crucial period in the Premier League season.

It's the time where campaigns could be defined. A string of positive results may set a side up for a productive second half to the season, while a form slump could have the opposite effect.

Thus, the Premier League's scheduling plays an important role. If there's ever a time when you want a couple of light home fixtures with a comfortable rest between each, it's over the festive period.

90min has assessed which Premier League side has the toughest Christmas schedule by taking into account the quality of their opposition, the distance they have to travel and the number of hours between matches.

So, let's see who's been hard done by, and those who have gotten off lightly.


Who has the hardest Premier League Christmas schedule?

Rank

Team

Festive fixtures

Average league position of opponents

1.

Everton

Tottenham (A), Man City (H), Wolves (A

6th

2.

West Ham

Man Utd (H), Arsenal (A), Brighton (H)

6th

3.

Burnley

Fulham (A), Liverpool (H), Aston Villa

7th

4.

Sheffield United

Aston Villa (A), Luton Town (H), Man City (A)

8th

5.

Brighton

Crystal Palace (A), Tottenham (H), West Ham (A)

9th

6.

Arsenal

Liverpool (A), West Ham (H), Fulham (A)

9th

7.

Man Utd

West Ham (A), Aston Villa (H), Nottingham Forest (A)

9th

8.

Nottingham Forest

Bournemouth (H), Newcastle (A), Man Utd (H)

10th

9.

Crystal Palace

Brighton (H), Chelsea (A), Brentford (H)

10th

10.

Wolves

Chelsea (H), Brentford (A), Everton (H)

10th

11.

Liverpool

Arsenal (H), Burnley (A), Newcastle (H)

10th

12.

Newcastle

Luton Town (A), Nottingham Forest (H), Liverpool (A)

11th

13.

Bournemouth

Nottingham Forest (A), Fulham (H), Tottenham (A)

11th

14.

Luton Town

Newcastle (H), Sheffield United (A), Chelsea (H)

12th

15.

Brentford

Wolves (H), Crystal Palace (A)

13th

16.

Fulham

Burnley (H), Bournemouth (A), Arsenal (H)

13th

17.

Chelsea

Wolves (A), Crystal Palace (H), Luton Town (A)

14th

18.

Tottenham

Everton (H), Brighton (A), Bournemouth (H)

14th

19.

Aston Villa

Sheffield United (H), Man Utd (A), Burnley (H)

15th

20.

Man City

Everton (A), Sheffield United (H)

19th

*average league positions correct as of 20 November 2023

To work out the quality of opposition, we deciphered the average league position of their opponents. The average position ranges between sixth and 19th, with Everton having the toughest fixture list on paper.

The Toffees, who haven't exactly had it all their own way in recent times, will visit Tottenham and Wolves in between a home game against Manchester City. At the opposite end of the spectrum, City have the 'easiest' fixture list. Their participation at the 2023 Club World Cup means they have just two festive fixtures, taking on Sheffield United at the Etihad after their tricky trip to Goodison Park.

Unai Emery's high-flying Aston Villa face two newly promoted clubs on home soil, while Tottenham have a pair of home games against Everton and Bournemouth which they'll be expected to win.

West Ham rank close to Everton in terms of difficult fixtures, but two of their games come at the London Stadium against Manchester United and Brighton. A trip to title challengers Arsenal is sandwiched in between.


Manchester City v West Ham United - Premier League
There could be more snowy scenes around Christmas / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Which Premier League clubs travel the furthest over Christmas?

Rank

Team

Teams travelling to

Distance travelled (miles)

1.

Man City

Club World Cup final*, Everton

3,123.1

2.

Newcastle

Luton Town, Liverpool

422.9

3.

Burnley

Fulham, Aston Villa

357.2

4.

Bournemouth

Nottingham Forest, Tottenham

313.5

5.

Man Utd

West Ham, Nottingham Forest

312.6

6.

Everton

Tottenham, Wolves

302.9

7.

Arsenal

Liverpool, Fulham

218.8

8.

Chelsea

Wolves, Luton Town

189.9

9.

Nottingham Forest

Newcastle

168.7

10.

Wolves

Brentford

141.1

11.

Luton Town

Sheffield United

127.3

12.

Brighton

Crystal Palace, West Ham

124.2

13.

Sheffield United

Aston Villa, Man City

119.9

14.

Aston Villa

Man Utd

84.4

15.

Tottenham

Brighton

83.4

16.

Fulham

Bournemouth

59.7

17.

Liverpool

Burnley

52.4

18.

Brentford

Crystal Palace

14.2

19.

Crystal Palace

Chelsea

8.7

20.

West Ham

Arsenal

5.4

•projected

If City reach the Club World Cup final, they'll be making a long flight back to Manchester from Jeddah ahead of their trip to Everton.

City top this category by default, with Newcastle - as you might expect - racking up an impressive amount of domestic miles over Christmas. Their away trips to Luton and Liverpool combine for over 422 miles.

It should come as no surprise that the teams playing two away games make up the top eight (including City) in the distance travelled chart. Nottingham Forest play two games at the City Ground, but their visit to Newcastle means they rank ninth with that trip up to Tyneside accounting for 168.7 miles.

Three London clubs have got it particularly good given their only away games arrive in the capital. West Ham are visiting Arsenal (5.4 miles), Crystal Palace face Chelsea at the Bridge (8.7 miles), while Brentford, who only have two games over Christmas as they were scheduled to face Man City, merely have to trek to Selhurst Park (14.2 miles).


Which Premier League clubs have the least time to recover over Christmas?

Rank

Team

Dates/Kick-off times of festive fixtures

Average time between fixtures (hours)

1.

Chelsea

24/12/23 (13:00), 27/12/23 (19:30), 30/12/23 (12:30)

71.75

2.

Wolves

24/12/23 (13:00), 27/12/23 (19:30), 30/12/23 (15:00)

73

3.

Man Utd

22/12/23 (12:30), 26/12/23 (20:00), 30/12/23 (17:30)

74.5

4.

Luton Town

22/12/23 (15:00), 26/12/23 (15:00), 30/12/23 (12:30)

82.75

5.

Fulham

22/12/23 (15:00), 26/12/23 (15:00), 31/12/23 (14:00)

83.5

6.

Burnley

22/12/23 (15:00), 26/12/23 (17:30), 30/12/23 (15:00)

84

7.

Everton

22/12/23 (15:00), 27/12/23 (20:15), 30/12/23 (15:00)

84

8.

Nottingham Forest

22/12/23 (15:00), 26/12/23 (12:30), 30/12/23 (17:30)

86.25

9.

Sheffield United

21/12/23 (20:00), 26/12/23 (15:00), 30/12/23 (15:00)

93.5

10.

Aston Villa

21/12/23 (20:00), 26/12/23 (20:00), 30/12/23 (15:00)

93.5

11.

Arsenal

22/12/23 (17:30), 28/12/23 (20:15), 31/12/23 (14:00)

94.25

12.

Man City

22/12/23 (18:00)*, 27/12/23 (20:15), 30/12/23 (15:00)

94.5

13.

Bournemouth

22/12/23 (15:00), 26/12/23 (15:00), 31/12/23 (14:00)

95.5

14.

Tottenham

22/12/23 (15:00), 28/12/23 (19:30), 31/12/23 (14:00)

95.5

15.

Crystal Palace

20/12/23 (20:00), 27/12/23 (19:30), 30/12/23 (15:00)

104.5

16.

Liverpool

22/12/23 (17:30), 26/12/23 (17:30), 01/01/24 (20:00)

109.25

17.

Newcastle

22/12/23 (15:00), 26/12/23 (12:30), 01/01/24 (20:00)

110.5

18.

West Ham

22/12/23 (12:30), 28/12/23 (20:15), 02/01/24 (19:30)

111.5

19.

Brighton

20/12/23 (20:00), 28/12/23 (19:30), 02/01/24 (19:30)

131.75

20.

Brentford

17/12/23 (14:00), 27/12/23 (19:30), 30/12/23 (15:00)

157.5

*date/kick-off time of 2023 Club World Cup final if Man City progress

To get an indication of how long each team will have to recover in between matches, we worked out the average number of hours between their two or three kick-offs over the festive period.

Brentford are the major beneficiaries of City's Club World Cup ventures as they'll have ten days to prepare for their home game against Wolves on 27 December. Despite flying back from Saudi Arabia, City will have five days to recover from their projected Club World Cup final before they face Everton on 27 December.

City's average of 94.5 hours to recover is a middling figure, while the Bees have a whopping 157.5 hours. Crystal Palace, who host Brighton in the first fixture we're regarding as' festive' on Thursday 20 December, are one of six teams that have over four days to recover between matches on average. Liverpool, Newcastle, West Ham and Brighton are the others along with Brentford.

Wolves and Chelsea have been compromised the most by the Premier League's scheduling. These two sides will compete in the Premier League's first Christmas Eve fixture since the 90s, and they'll each have an average of three days to recover between matches. Manchester United also have fairly swift turnarounds, with 13 teams having anywhere between three to four days of recovery.


Overall ranking of toughest Premier League Christmas schedules

Rank

Team

Average ranking of toughest opponents, distance travelled & recovery time

1.

Burnley

3

2.

Everton

4.66

3.

Man Utd

5

4.

Wolves

7.33

5.

Arsenal

7.66

6.

Nottingham Forest

8.33

7.

Sheffield United

8.66

8.

Chelsea

8.66

9.

Luton Town

9.66

10.

Bournemouth

10

11.

Newcastle

10.33

12.

Man City

11

13.

Brighton

12

14.

Fulham

12.33

15.

West Ham

13.33

16.

Crystal Palace

14.33

17.

Aston Villa

14.33

18.

Liverpool

14.66

19.

Tottenham

15.66

20.

Brentford

17.66


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