Fixture difficulty matrix: Championship, 2018/19
As usual, I’ve taken the newly-released EFL fixtures and combined them with an aggregation of leading bookmakers’ odds (from OddsChecker) 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 down the side to identify which fixtures are which.
Leeds are fancied to do well this season (perhaps the Bielsa effect) but have a tough start, facing four of the bookies’ six most-fancied teams in their first six
Derby are likely to start well by comparison, playing all six of the relegation favourites before a run of tougher games in October, so Frank Lampard will have a gentle start to his managerial career.
Aston Villa have a horrific run-up to the end of the year, facing the predicted top five back-to-back in December, although the flipside is an easy start that sees them avoid ‘red’ matches until mid-October.
Rotherham will need to be clear of the relegation zone before April given their tough-looking run-in, which sees them play five likely promotion challengers in their last seven fixtures.