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Revealed! Which teams have the easiest – and hardest – starts to the 2020/21 Championship season?

Championship Fixtures
(Image credit: Future)

Yesterday the Premier League fixtures were announced - today it's the turn of the EFL, with the Championship campaign, laid out before us.

The reason we love this league is that it's so unpredictable. Anything can happen, anyone can get promoted and anyone can go down: last season, no team was confirmed as being in that league next season until almost the very end of the season.

But suppose you could work out what the harder fixtures are? Suppose you could grade every team from Mango & Lime to Extra Hot, based on their difficulty?

We ranked every Championship team based on where they finished last season. Bournemouth top - as the 18th placed Premier League team - followed by Watford, Norwich City, and then, of course, Brentford - 3rd, but missing out on the automatic promotion spots. Bottom was Wycombe Wanderers - up on the play-offs.

So how do the first 10 games look for every side in terms of trickiness?

Championship Fixtures

(Image credit: Future)

The toughest starts

For our money, Blackburn Rovers have been dealt a rotten hand of luck at the start of this campaign. Not only are Rovers fans missing out on a trip to the beach by facing Bournemouth first - why couldn't that game have come in May, with nice weather and fans allowed back? - but in the four games after hosting Wycombe, they're playing Derby County, Cardiff City, Nottingham Forest and Watford. Ouch. 

Huddersfield Town are going to hit the ground running, facing just two of the supposed bottom six in the opening ten games. Derby have an awful run after their first three games, while no one's envying Preston North End's opening fixtures. Swansea City's run is deceptively hard too: a lot of tough sides early on for them. 

Spare a thought too for Middlesbrough, facing two wounded beasts in Bournemouth and Watford, straight down from the top tier. 

The easy starts

One of the benefits of being one of the best teams in the league (we're guessing, based on positions last year) is that you have to play one less of the best teams. Because, well, you are that team. 

Still, Watford have a very favourable early start to life back in the second tier. Aside from Bournemouth, they're not facing anyone in our supposed top six in the first couple of months of the season. Barnsley, too, have been dealt a good hand, with their most difficult game up until November being a Watford clash nine matches in.

Bristol City have three rather winnable games too to kick themselves off. Well, as winnable as you get in this league. 

As Championship fans know though, this division could go either way. Don't be surprised if Wycombe push on up the table and Bournemouth and Watford scrap around the bottom: that's exactly the kind of topsy-turvey division this is. 

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