Fixture difficulty matrix: Championship

As is now traditional, I’ve combined the newly-released fixture lists with an aggregation of leading bookmakers’ odds to visualise where each club’s tough and easy matches appear to be next season. Each row in the matrix below lists a club’s league matches in chronological order, colour-coded based on how difficult they appear to be.

As is also traditional, I’ve been unable to resist meddling with the format again. I’ve simplified things slightly this time around as there are only three categories: title favourites in red, relegation favourites in blue and everybody else in grey.

I’ve also added in a numbering system so that you can identify which fixtures are which, rather than just which category each opponent belongs to. Clubs are listed in descending order of where their odds of winning the title currently indicate that they’ll finish, and these numbers are repeated in each box.

The plan is to update these towards the start of the new season, once the odds have been updated to reflect transfers etc, but I can’t imagine that too much will change.

CH 16-17 FRD

It looks like Bristol City have a tough start – they have to play five of the six most-fancied sides in their first eight fixtures – so Robins fans shouldn’t be too dejected if they are lingering near the drop zone in September.

Derby‘s season begins with something a rollercoaster: they face three relegation favourites and three of their likely promotion rivals in their first six matches.

QPR will need to have plenty of points on the board by the end of March as they have a horrible-looking end to their season. Their final eight games include give encounters with current promotion favourites, so they may end up limping over the finishing line.