The Premier League fixture list for 2014/15 was published earlier today at 9am, affording Fantasy managers an early window into the season ahead. Behind the scenes, we’ll be working on our fixture tickers throughout the day and aim to get these to you as soon as possible to offer a means of analysis of the opening six Gameweeks and, if you’re a member, the entire season:
Looking at the first few fixtures, Louis Van Gaal could hardly ask for a kinder start to life at Old Trafford. The new United boss entertains Swansea in his first league match in charge and with trips to Sunderland and Burnley preceding the visit of promoted Burnley and a trip to Leicester, early investment in the Red Devils assets looks on the cards, with Robin Van Persie’s appeal certainly heightened by such a schedule.
Defending champions Man City have a tougher task. Manuel Pellegrini’s men face three of last term’s top four in the first five Gameweeks – an opener at Newcastle is then followed with Etihad showdowns against Liverpool and Stoke, with a trip to Arsenal then preceding the visit of Chelsea.
Jose Mourinho’s side have reason for optimism in the first few matches. The Blues have three very kind fixtures in the first four Gameweeks – an opening day trip to Burnley is followed by a home clash with Leicester and with Swansea also visiting the Bridge in Gameweek 4, they could be amongst the Fantasy points at both ends of the pitch.
Liverpool open their season with an Anfield encounter against Southampton before hitting the road in three of the next four Gameweeks – trips to City, Spurs and West Ham present Brendan Rodgers’ troops with a far from straightforward schedule.
Everton don’t have it easy either. The Toffees welcome Arsenal and Chelsea to Goodison in the first three Gameweeks, though Roberto Martinez’ team will be optimistic, given they were victorious in the corresponding fixtures in 2013/14. A Merseyside derby at Anfield in Gameweek 6 is also testing.
Paul Lambert’s Villa face a tough task to get their season off to a prosperous start. An opening day to the Britannia is followed by games against Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and City in the opening seven Gameweek, while promoted Leicester hardly have it easy, either. The Foxes face Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal and United in the first five and with a trip to Stoke also included in that run, points look hard to come by.
We plan to focus on the schedule in further detail over the next few days, with a first “Frisking the Fixtures” article of the 2014/15 season rolled out in the next day or two.