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Vital head-to-heads loom for bottom six teams

10 Jan 2021
A graphic of players from the bottom six teams

Sheff Utd v Newcastle among five matches between relegation rivals in the next month

For the teams in the bottom six at the start of 2021, the coming weeks offer great opportunities to quickly climb the table.

Indeed, not only do the matches come thick and fast, but many involve their nearest rivals. 

The bottom six

Pos Team Pl GD Pts
15 BUR 26 -16 28
16 BHA 26 -7 26
17 NEW 26 -17 26
18 FUL 26 -11 23
19 WBA 26 -35 17
20 SHU 26 -28 11
View Full Table

Newcastle United have slipped to 15th after a tricky trio of matches against title challengers Manchester City, Liverpool and Leicester City, from which they have taken one point. 

But their next fixture at winless Sheffield United gives them a good chance to build momentum, particularly as they did the double over the Blades last season.

Three of Newcastle's following four opponents are also in the bottom half. 

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Burnley are on the rise, climbing out of the relegation zone at the start of last month and moving up to 16th after three wins from their last five contests. But they now face a tough schedule. 

They play six top-half sides in succession, starting with Manchester United on 12 January and playing West Ham United, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Man City by 2 February.

Meetings between bottom six
Matchweek Fixture
18 Sheff Utd v Newcastle
20 Brighton v Fulham
21 West Brom v Fulham
22 Sheff Utd v West Brom
23 Burnley v Brighton

Brighton are winless in eight matches but are gradually picking up points, drawing four of their last five outings.

Graham Potter’s side must negotiate trips to Man City and Leeds United before a key home fixture against bottom-six rivals Fulham on 26 January.

Fulham lie three points behind Brighton, with whom they shared a goalless draw in December's reverse fixture, but they have two matches in hand and are in similar form, with four successive draws and only one win in eight. 

Scott Parker’s Cottagers face testing encounters with Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Man Utd in their next three matches, but their trip to Brighton is then the first of successive head-to-heads against relegation rivals.

They go on to visit West Bromwich Albion, one of the two sides they have beaten this season.

Duel between bottom two

West Brom have had a difficult start under new head coach Sam Allardyce, taking one point from a possible 12 and conceding 13 goals across those four matches.

Allardyce will hope to stop the rot in the Black Country derby at Wolverhampton Wanderers before facing his former club West Ham and then Man City.

Respite might come in back-to-back matches against Fulham and Sheff Utd in Matchweeks 21-22.

Schedule for bottom six
Club Next five matches
NEW SHU (A), ARS (A), LEE (H), EVE (A), CRY (H)
BUR MUN (H), WHU (A), LIV (A), AVL (H), CHE (A)
BHA MCI (A), LEE (A), FUL (H), TOT (H), LIV (A)
FUL TOT (A), CHE (H), MUN (H), BHA (A), WBA (A)
WBA WOL (A), WHU (A), MCI (H), FUL (H), SHU (A)
SHU NEW (H), TOT (H), MUN (A), MCI (A), WBA (H)

Chris Wilder's Blades face an uphill struggle after picking up only two points from their opening 17 matches. 

But Tuesday's home match against Newcastle gives them a chance to kickstart their season.

They will hope to win that fixture and be within striking range of West Brom by the time they host them on 2 February, although that bottom-six head-to-head comes after matches against Spurs, Man Utd and Man City.

Also in this series

Part 2: All to play for in wide-open title race

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