Ain’t no rest for the wicked. Especially if they happen to play for countries in the Women’s World Cup, Copa America, U21 Euros, Gold Cup, Africa Cup of Nations and *sigh* the UEFA Nations League (remember that old thing?).
Oh, and the 2019/20 Champions League campaign kicks off today with Feronikeli, Lincoln Red Imps, Tre Penne and Santa Coloma all going at it to get knocked out by Eastern European minnows in the next round. Football!
The 2019/20 Premier League fixtures were released almost two weeks ago now. Even Mitchell and Webb would be surprised.
Thanks to the graphical graft of Ben Mayhew (aka the excellent @experimental361), we can see exactly which sides have the best and worst starts possible to the campaign as they go about getting off to the coveted Dream Start™.
Let’s start with champions Manchester City who, let’s be honest, have it easy early on: Spurs at home in their second game aside, they don’t face a fellow ‘big six’ team until a trip to Anfield in November. But then it does get interesting – that kicks off a run of four matches in six against the top dogs.
By the time they meet Liverpool, the Reds will have already faced four of last season’s top six. Kudos to Jurgen Klopp’s side if they’re still keeping the pace by then.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be pleased with his lot, meanwhile: Manchester United have scope to build good runs more or less through to December: they only face one ‘big six’ side in their first six games – Tottenham on the opening day – and even home games against Arsenal and Liverpool shortly afterwards are followed by matches against five of the six teams expected to prop up the rest.
Everton and West Ham both face five of the predicted bottom six in their opening 10 matches, but Newcastle – of course, Newcastle – have another shocking start as they play five of the predicted top six in their opening nine games.
Of the promoted sides, Norwich have the trickiest start with three of the big six to play in their opening five fixtures. But perhaps better to get them out of the way early? Aston Villa have a grim run from March, so will have hoped to pick up enough points before then to avoid a dreaded return to the second tier. Cabbages ahoy.
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