Fixture difficulty matrix: League 2, 2017/18
As usual, I’ve taken the newly-released EFL fixtures and combined them 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 and the clubs themselves are sorted and numbered by where the odds imply they’ll finish in the table.
I’ve coloured the six strongest-looking clubs (based purely on the odds) in red and the six weakest-looking in blue, but you can use the numbers to identify which fixtures are which.
It looks like a tough start to the season for Carlisle, who face four of the expected top five in their first seven matches, and they also have to deal with three tricky fixtures in their last six. Colchester also have a testing run-in, facing three strong sides in their last four games.
Coventry could well finish the season strongly with five of their last seven matches coming against clubs expected to struggle, while Yeovil‘s run-in looks horrendous. The Glovers play five of the six strongest-looking teams in their final six matches, so need to have plenty of points on the board before then.
Both Swindon and Stevenage could get off to a flying start with three of their first five games against likely relegation battlers. The Robins also look to have a pretty benign run-in, with their final match against a fellow promotion-chasing side scheduled for mid-February.
You can find similar matrices for the other two EFL divisions here and if you’re wondering about the Premier League, I did one of these for PA which can be seen here in full and as a snazzier “who has the toughest start” version for Bwin here.