Feature

Man Utd's tough task to keep pace with City

3 Oct 2017
Jose Mourinho, Man Utd, and Pep Guardiola, Man City

With Manchester clubs level on points at the top, we assess the two title contenders' upcoming runs

Goal difference is all that splits the two Manchester clubs as we enter the second international break of the season with City holding a slender advantage.

With a four-match run until the next international break, we look at the two rivals’ next set of fixtures to see if more than a single goal will separate them before they earn a weekend off in November.

According to the Fixture Difficulty Rankings (FDR), which is used in Fantasy Premier League, it would appear that Man City have the less difficult challenges immediately ahead.

Pep Guardiola's side's four opponents have an average difficulty rating of 2.5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest rating for difficulty.

Three of City’s matches are at home and only one is against a team who finished in the top nine last season, Arsenal.

Man City’s next four fixtures
DateOpponentFDR
14 OctoberSTK (H)2
21 OctoberBUR (H)2
28 OctoberWBA (A)2
5 NovemberARS (H)4

By contrast, in the same period Man Utd must face three of last season’s top four and have only one match at Old Trafford, against a Tottenham Hotspur team who have a perfect away record in the top flight this term.

Jose Mourinho’s men must also travel to Liverpool and Chelsea, either side of a trip to Huddersfield Town, with an average FDR of 3.75.

Man Utd’s next four fixtures 
DateOpponentFDR
14 OctoberLIV (A)4
21 OctoberHUD (A)2
28 OctoberTOT (H)4
5 NovemberCHE (A)5

After such a run, if United are still level on points at the top of the table with City, it will surely be Mourinho who will be the more satisfied of the two managers.

See: Coutinho and Liverpool the long-range kings

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