Liverpool surprisingly poor in the Premier League ‘big six’ head-to-head table of 2023-24…

Arsenal maintained their exceptional record against their fellow Premier League ‘big six’ this season by beating Tottenham 3-2 in the north London derby.

There’s some debate over whether the concept of the ‘big six’ is relevant in the Premier League in 2024 following Newcastle United’s takeover and qualification for the Champions League, while Aston Villa look a solid bet to finish in the top four this season at the expense of some of the traditional powerhouses.

Still, the fact remains that the same six clubs – Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea – have tended to be the only clubs that have finished in the top four, while being responsible for six of the top seven wage bills and comfortably the most-expensively assembled squads in terms of transfer fees.

And it’s often the much-hyped meetings between these top clubs that can make or break their seasons. We’re now approaching the business end of the 2023-24 campaign and most of the blockbuster clashes have already been played, many of which have actually lived up to expectations.

Last season Man City had the best record in ‘big six’ clashes. They did the double over runners-up Arsenal, which proved pivotal in ending the season five points clear at the top of the table.

But City’s record against fellow big six rivals this year is mixed, with just two wins – both over city rivals Manchester United – from those nine outings. Elsewhere they’ve registered score draws against Liverpool and Chelsea (home and away) as well as Tottenham at home.

Arsenal’s title charge faltered a little over the Christmas period with defeats to West Ham and Fulham, but they’ve tended to show up on the big occasion and are yet to lose in ‘big six’ clashes in 2023-24 so far, with victories over Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and both Manchester clubs.

The Gunners’ 5-0 mauling over Chelsea is their best-ever result against their London rivals, who were just showing signs of improvement in recent weeks. Days later they followed that up with victory away in the North London Derby, racing to a three-goal lead before withstanding a late fightback to win 3-2.

Mauricio Pochettino has taken time to turn Chelsea’s form around. The Blues sit underwhelmingly in midtable, but there have been glimmers of hope to be found in some of their performances in the big games – particularly with their madcap victories over Tottenham and Manchester United, spirited displays in draws against Liverpool, Arsenal and Man City (twice).

No other side in the league has taken points from all three title challengers. There are question marks over exactly how much they’ve improved, though, with Chelsea being battered 4-1 away to Liverpool and now 5-0 at Arsenal.

Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham have also been impressive in the big games this season, having already taken more points against big six opposition than they mustered in the entirety of last season. Spurs have taken four points from Manchester United. They also inflicted Liverpool’s first Premier League defeat of the season and drew with Arsenal and Man City earlier in the campaign.

Spurs still have Liverpool and Manchester City still to play, as well as Chelsea, and could yet have a massive bearing on where the Premier League trophy ends up.

Liverpool have also been poor in the big matches this season, with their only win against ‘big six’ opposition coming against floundering, midtable Chelsea. Half of their four league defeats this season have come in North London – away to Tottenham and Arsenal.

Manchester United have endured woes throughout the season. They produced a confident and solid display to beat Chelsea earlier in the season, but went on to lose 4-3 at Stamford Bridge in farcical fashion, and have otherwise been unconvincing as they’ve gone winless against Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City (all home and away).

Their last remaining ‘big six’ match is at home to Arsenal on the penultimate weekend, but their recent form and big-game record won’t give rivals City and Liverpool hope that they’re likely to do them a favour.

Here’s how the ‘big six’ head-to-head table stacks up in 2023-24 so far. We’ve ordered them in terms of points per game, with goal difference used if they’re level.

1. Arsenal

Played: 9
Won: 5
Drawn: 4
Lost: 0

Goals for: 20
Goals against: 9
Goal difference: +11

Points: 19

Points per game: 2.11

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2. Manchester City

Played: 9
Won: 2
Drawn: 6
Lost: 1

Goals for: 16
Goals against: 12
Goal difference: +4

Points: 12

Points per game: 1.33

3. Tottenham

Played: 7
Won: 2
Drawn: 3
Lost: 2

Goals for: 14
Goals against: 15
Goal difference: -1

Points: 9

Points per game: 1.5

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4. Chelsea

Played: 9
Won: 2
Drawn: 4
Lost: 3

Goals for: 17
Goals against: 22
Goal difference: -5

Points: 10

Points per game: 1.11

Chelsea's latest three-goal hero celebrates after beating Manchester United in April 2024.

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5. Liverpool

Played: 9
Won: 1
Drawn: 6
Lost: 2

Goals for: 12
Goals against: 12
Goal difference: 0

Points: 9

Points per game: 1.0

6. Manchester United

Played: 9
Won: 1
Drawn: 3
Lost: 5

Goals for: 11
Goals against: 20
Goal difference: -9

Points: 6

Points per game: 0.75

Arsenal top of the Premier League Big Six H2H Table 2023-24

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