Looking ahead to the fixture list (Video)

The day that all football fans look forward to every summer has arrived as the fixture list for the upcoming season has been released. Now we can all eagerly look forward to see which teams will be facing off against each other on the opening day of the 2013 / 2014 campaign.

After glancing at the first round of matches and calculating who will collect three points and briefly top the table, we can then turn our attention to the ‘big games’ of the season. Some of us may even start thinking about booking time off work to make that all important away trip to the other end of the country for a crucial midweek tie, or mentally noting which weekends we are going to be unavailable because we want to watch the football. This is a time when every fan dreams about what may lie ahead, wonders whether their team will lift a trophy and can barely contain their excitement that they will soon be gearing up for match day.

What significance should be placed upon the fixture list? Does it really matter when teams play each other? Every team has to play all the other teams twice by the end of the season, so in terms of points available then the answer is no. However, the start of the season is always important, especially for new managers who will be desperate to get off to a great start.

If a big side loses several matches early on then the media focus will be squarely upon them and people will begin to question whether they have the skill to guide the club to better things. On the flip side, a winning start can breed confidence in the squad and help them to maintain good form during the first few months. 

Managers are notorious for moaning that the fixture list is against them and that their side has it harder than everyone else. The reality though is that a league season rewards the most consistent team of the year, so the champion will have to play well for 10 months, not just one or two games.

I personally believe that the title race that awaits us will be closer than the one we have just witnessed and I’m eagerly anticipating an enthralling campaign. Can Moyes get it right at the first attempt or will Mourinho return to claim glory for Chelsea?

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