Today was a key date for the 2016/17 Premier League season, with club fixture schedules released. While many Premier League fans are enjoying the Euro 2016 & Copa America 2016 international tournaments, as you should, the release of fixtures means we can now start analyzing which teams have easier or harder perceived fixtures and start to scout players for our Fantasy Premier League teams that have those easier matches. It’s really key to get off to a good start and set yourself up for the season with a big points haul.
EPL Fixture List
First 5 Gameweeks Analysis
Which Teams Have the Easiest Start?
Crystal Palace, Manchester City and Manchester United all look like they have fantastic starts to the season. Crystal Palace had a fantastic first half of the season last time round, before fading badly in the league as their FA Cup run continued. Palace’s start looks like they could get off to a great start of the season once again, West Bromwich Albion (H), AFC Bournemouth (H), Middlesbrough (A) and Stoke City (H) all look like winnable matches for them. Lets keen an eye on Yannick Bolasie in pre-season to see how they are shaping up.
Jose Mourinho will surly be happy with Manchester United’s start, featuring AFC Bournemouth (A),Southampton (H) and Hull City (A) to blow the cobwebs out before a Manchester derby against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Though United have yet to finalize their transfer for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and his desire to play in the Olympic games means he would most likely be unavailable anyway.
Pep Guardiola’s first Premier League in charge of Manchester City will to at home to Big Sam’s Sunderland. Stoke City (A) and West Ham United (H) won’t be straight forward fixtures, but could see Sergio Aguero in the goals early on.
Also worth an note are newly promoted Middlesbrough, who avoid all the big clubs in their opening five games. That run might allow them to get up to speed and bridge the gulf in qualify between the Championship and the Premier league early on.
Newly appointed Everton manager Ronald Koeman might also like the look of their opening run. If Koeman can sort out their defense over the summer then Everton defenders might be a good cheaper option, given the nice run of West Bromwich Albion (A), Stoke City (H), Sunderland (A) and Middlesbrough (H) after opening hosting Spurs. There’s some good clean sheet opportunities there for them.
What teams should I avoid? Who has the hardest start to the Premier League Season?
Watford, Liverpool and Burnley look to have the hardest starts of the season, with each facing at least 3 teams from the top 5 last season. Watford probably win the award for having the hardest fixtures, playing Southampton (A), Chelsea (H), Arsenal (H), West Ham United (A) and Manchester United (H). Ouch, now that is a super tough!
Liverpool also look like they may struggle for points at the start of the season. They’ll really be counting on getting some points at Burnley at home in round two, as they face the top 3 clubs from last season and a resurgent Chelsea now let by Antonio Conte. Newly promoted Burnley might find it’s tough in the Premier League earlier on, with a hard run that features Liverpool, Leicester and Chelsea all away from home in the first 5 rounds.