From the Press box

Nicole Carroll: A one woman mission to make a name in football

Do the top 4 really have easy first games?

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So, the fixtures have been released. As a Birmingham fan, there isn’t a massive amount to get excited about when you talk about an away trip to Sunderland first game of the season, and we look to have a very difficult Christmas period, which is exactly what you want to face at the most wonderful time of the year…

Every year though the same old argument comes to light about the “Big four”, who for this post, I’m using United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal as the example. I know that Liverpool weren’t top four last season, but in terms of recent history, it makes sense to use them as an example.

It is always argued that the big four get the rub of the green come the first game of the season, facing newly promoted teams so they can claim their first 3 points of the campaign with relative ease. However, this bit of information is one of those perpetual myths thats used every season, and eventually people believe it to be true. I have the proof to show otherwise though.

Here are the “Big Fours” opening matches from the 2000/2001 season up until this mornings fixture announcement:

Manchester United and Chelsea have both had 3 promoted teams in the last 10 seasons. Arsenal have faced two, whilst Liverpool have only faced one.

Fans will kick off today, say theres conspiracies about the big teams gettign the opening fixtures they wanted. Looking over that list though, they’ve all faced tough opposition on the first game of the season in the past, mainly because its a random fixture generator, and these difficult, and easier matchups are going to happen naturally in a selection process.

Of course there are certain parameters as to what the machine works to, and clubs do have some sort of say as to whether they’d like to be home or away. At the end of the day though, it really doesn’t matter. You’ll play every club twice during the season and you make your own luck. The league won’t be decided on who you play at the start of the season.

There’s a great BBC article here about the process behind planning the fixtures for the Premier and Football League.

9 week countdown until the league begins..


Written by Nicole Carroll

June 17, 2010 at 9:57 am

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