Fixture difficulty matrix: League 2
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.
Both Carlisle‘s scariest and most winnable-looking matches are like buses this season: they play five relegation favourites in a row starting in early October and then in five of their last seven matches, the latter of which could see them mount a late surge up the table. Their tough games are also clustered together, with five of their first ten games against the division’s most-fancied sides and six of their first nine games post-January looking similarly scary.
Notts County could make a strong start as four of their first five games are against clubs predicted to struggle, and Luton could do likewise with three of their opening five and five of their opening ten fixtures looking very winnable.
Leyton Orient have also been given the opportunity to begin well, with four relegation candidates crossing their path before their first encounter with a promotion rival in their tenth match. No club has to wait longer before facing one of the apparent promotion contenders, although Hartlepool‘s start looks similarly benign.