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07/08 Fixture analysis


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by BOF

The fixture list came out today and here's a breakdown of how the difficulty balances out compared to last season.

The first 6 games of last season were against teams who, on average, ended up 13th in the final league table. This season's first 6 games are against teams who, based on last season's league table, finished just below 9th position. So, ostensibly, that would suggest a much more difficult start to this season than last. This, in my opinion, is a good thing, as the better the team the earlier you'd like to play them - before they get into their stride.

Our next set of 6 fixtures last season were against teams with an average finishing position of 7th and included the likes of Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool & Everton - a very tricky set of teams. Compare that to this season's next 6 which are against an average of 9th place last season - and although it contains the Champions it also contains Derby County.

Rounding off the first half of the season with the final 7 games we see an identical set of fixtures with both sets of 7 against teams who, on average, finished just over 11th place. Instead where last season read ManUre, this season read Chelsea.

Thanks to our relatively tricky start to this season, the tail end will be comparitively easier.

Our first 6 games of the 2nd half (20-25) are, on average, identical to last season (10th average) however the fixtures involved are more balanced. Last season we faced the likes of ManUre & Chelsea in this section and balanced it against Watford & Charlton. This season we only face Liverpool of the top 4 and the rest are in and around the middle of the table so the average is the same but the fixtures are kinder.

Heading towards section 5 of 6 we see an easier set of fixtures. Last season saw games 26-31 played against teams on average 8.67 in the league and contained the likes of Liverpool, Everton & Arsenal. This season sees an average of 10.67 and again only contains 1 top 4 team in Arsenal. Again a kinder balance of fixtures.

Finally, the final 6 fixtures of the season. Basically identical average placing opposition compared to last season (12.4 in '06 to 12.1 in '07) but this season contains some far more tasty fixtures. Most notable the derbies against Derby County followed immediately by Birmingham City. It also contains the Champions and Wigan are there too probably ripe for relegation by that stage.

So all in all I think this season's fixtures are not only kinder to us at the start and at the end, but even the dispersion of the top teams is far more even. It is incredible and very lucky to think that there will always be at least a month (or 4 fixtures) between facing two of the big 4 teams. I wonder how many other schedules are that kind?

Roll on August, and an intriguing opening fixture. May both teams look very different come kick-off....

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Nice analysis, Bofmiester.

Overall, there is no run of fixtures that really worry me, unlike December last season.

Tricky start of course, but then how many games are going to be easy anyway?

Plus, looking at it, we could technically relegate Derby, SHA & Wigan, who for me are the three favourites to go down :)

Not too shabby for the Sheriff :D

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