Last week we analysed the first half the 2011/2012 Premier League fixtures list, looking at the key clashes through August to December.
Here we look at the second half of the season and try to pick where the best action is likely to be.
Monday, 2nd January sees the final act of the holiday season fixtures, 10 matches scheduled a mere two days after the 10 for Saturday 31st. Villa’s pain lets up with a home game to Swansea but there’s no respite for Liverpool or Manchester United, who visit Manchester City and Newcastle United respectively. Arsenal and Chelsea are away from home as well.
With a weekend break devoted to FA Cup action, Premier League football returns mid-month with the headline fixture being Aston Villa v Everton and Chelsea v Sunderland (odds on a repeat from last season are astronomical, to say the least).
The third week sees Arsenal host Manchester United – it was a similar game two years ago that more or less decided (ended) Arsenal’s title challenge, and it could be a similarly decisive match this time around as well. Manchester City and Tottenham square off at the Etihad stadium as well.
FA Cup (and rescheduled fixtures) will decidedly take precedence this month, with the final set of fixtures on the 31st, the highlight being Chelsea’s trip to Swansea and United hosting Stoke.
Six To Watch: Manchester City v Liverpool (2nd), Newcastle United v Manchester United (2nd), Aston Villa v Everton (14th), Chelsea v Sunderland (14th), Arsenal v Manchester United (21st), Manchester City v Tottenham (21st).
1st February sees Everton and Manchester City square off but all eyes will be firmly on Saturday, 4th February, when the two teams who have shared the last seven Premier League titles square off at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea and United are joined by Liverpool hosting Tottenham in making this a entertaining weekend, which is the second is a series of crucial games for Liverpool. After playing away to Wolves on 31st January, Liverpool host Tottenham on the 4th, play away to Manchester United on the 11th before playing hosts in the Merseyside derby on the 25th. Incidentally, that match is then followed by Arsenal’s visit to Anfield on 3rd March, before Liverpool are on the road to Sunderland the week after.
But while Liverpool at Old Trafford on the 11th of February, Chelsea are away to Everton, Manchester City away to Aston Villa and Arsenal away to Sunderland, while Tottenham host Newcastle. And on the same weekend as the Merseyside derby, we also see the North London derby as Arsenal host Tottenham.
Eight To Watch: Everton v Manchester City (1st), Chelsea v Manchester United (4th), Liverpool v Tottenham (4th), Manchester United v Liverpool (11th), Everton v Chelsea (11th), Aston Villa v Manchester City (11th), Liverpool v Everton (25th), Arsenal v Tottenham (25th).
European commitments will start to take their toll on the top sides by March and April. With Liverpool hosting Arsenal on the 3rd, we also have Tottenham hosting Manchester United on the same date. The next weekend sees Everton v Tottenham and Norwich v Wigan as standout matches, while Everton host Arsenal and Manchester City host Chelsea on the 17th. The next two weeks have no ‘massive’ games but several tricky fixtures, with Arsenal v Aston Villa, Chelsea v Tottenham and Aston Villa v Chelsea the standouts.
Eight To Watch: Liverpool v Arsenal (3rd), Tottenham v Manchester United (3rd), Everton v Tottenham (10th), Everton v Arsenal (17th), Manchester City v Chelsea (17th), Arsenal v Aston Villa (24th), Chelsea v Tottenham (24th), Aston Villa v Chelsea (31st).
As the jostling for league positions cranks up several gears, April kicks off with a few crackers. Arsenal host Manchester City, there’s a potential relegation 6-pointer between QPR and Swansea, United have an away trip to traditional whipping boys Wigan, Fulham host Chelsea, Chelsea and Manchester United host Newcastle and Aston Villa respectively.
The second half of April sees some crucial title-deciding matches – Arsenal v Chelsea and Manchester City v Manchester United, while Liverpool enjoy a relatively easy month with matches against Aston Villa (home), Blackburn (away), Fulham (home), West Brom (home) and Norwich (away). If Liverpool are going to serious contenders this season, for the champions league or for the title, these are 15 points they should be getting.
Five To Watch: Arsenal v Manchester City (7th), Liverpool v Aston Villa (7th), Manchester United v Aston Villa (14th), Arsenal v Chelsea (21st), Manchester City v Manchester United (28th).
The last two gameweeks of the season (plus any rescheduled games thanks to domestic and continental cup commitments) could see the title decided if the contenders keep dropping points as they did last season. Aston Villa host Tottenham on the first weekend but that’s only a precursor to the big one, Liverpool v Chelsea at Anfield. On the same weekend Manchester City are also away to Newcastle United, while Arsenal and Manchester United enjoy home games against Norwich and Swansea respectively.
The final week sees some tough games, with Norwich hosting Aston Villa,
Manchester United Reserves Sunderland hosting Manchester United and Swansea hosting Liverpool, while QPR are away to Manchester City and West Brom host the Arsenal.
Five To Watch: Aston Villa v Tottenham (5th), Liverpool v Chelsea (5th), Newcastle United v Manchester City (5th), Everton v Newcastle United (12th), Sunderland v Manchester United (12th).
Disclaimer: Please note that the fixtures are subject to change and Soccerlens is not responsible for any changes that may be made.
Watch Live Premier League Matches On Sky
This season Sky Sports will show 115 live Premier League fixtures with every match available in HD and selected matches in 3D. The confirmed TV listings are till end of November, with a guaranteed 39 live games.
ALL THE CLUBS: Every Barclays Premier League team will be shown live in the first set of Sky Sports HD fixtures with all three newly-promoted clubs shown live at least three times by the end of November.
BIG HEAD-TO-HEADS: Sky Sports will show 11 matches between last year’s top six teams, including Manchester United v Arsenal on August 28 and Manchester United v Chelsea on September 18.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SPECIAL: Sky Sports will offer more than 129 live matches from the UEFA Champions League on Sky Sports HD2, Sky Sports HD4 and via the red button, including live coverage of the final qualifying round in August. Throughout the tournament Sky Sports will show up to 15 live matches per week across the Group Stage including every match on Tuesday nights.
SKY GO: Sky Sports is also available to view via Sky Go, a service that allows Sky TV customers with Sky Sports access across a range of devices at no extra cost. Sky customers will be able to watch live streaming of every Sky Sports channel on laptops, computers, tablet and mobile devices with Sky Go (watch the Sky Go ad).