Fixture difficulty matrix: League 1
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.
Peterborough have a tough start, facing four of the seven most-fancied sides in their first five games, although their next seven include four meetings with relegation favourites by way of compensation.
Speaking of the relegation favourites, the opening day of the season looks pretty mismatched. The five lowest-rated sides are all in action against one of the seven clubs considered most likely to win the title. However in the coming weeks – particularly at the start of September, there are plenty of encounters between the less-fancied teams that could give us an early insight into who may struggle and who has been underestimated.
Scunthorpe have a challenging run-in where they face five of the early title favourites back-to-back in late March and early April, so any momentum they’ve built up may take a hit.
Fleetwood have to endure a tricky start, which sees them encounter all of the seven top-rated sides before the end of October. However they then have a blissful stretch until the new year with seven out of ten matches coming against clubs expected to struggle.