Leicester City’s fixture list for the 2018/19 Premier League season were released this morning. Of course, we already knew the 19 opponents, but the order you play them can make a huge difference.
We saw that last year, when a really tough stretch right out the gate was enough to cost Craig Shakespeare his job. On paper, losses against Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool were understandable. In practice, it lead to a record of just one win from the first eight games and a large number of restless fans.
Meanwhile, the relatively easy looking run in would have generated a lot more points if it had come earlier in the year, when the team still looked invigorated by the chase for Europe.
The opposite side to that coin was the rousing start to the 2015/16 season against a weak Sunderland side. The momentum seemed to carry through to the rest of the season and in the end a difficult looking finish (Manchester United and Chelsea away in the last three weeks) was mooted by our early success.
Unfortunately, it’s going to be an uphill struggle out the gate again this year, as the Foxes will start their campaign at Old Trafford against Manchester United. That will be followed by a home game against newly promoted Wolves, but we all remember how that went with Hull City two years ago.
With the Brendan Rodgers rumours still swirling, Claude Puel will be eager not to fall into the same trap as his predecessor. With two away games on the south coast sandwiching a visit from Liverpool, it could be a tough start.
The always congested Christmas period will be especially tough thanks to a set of fixtures including Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton amongst their run of eight games in 31 days. On the bright side, a home game against Cardiff City could provide some release between the City and Everton Fixtures.
It’s always difficult to predict which games will be hardest in the run in. The teams at the bottom of the table will be fighting for their lives, and it’s generally the mid table teams (like Leicester this year) that you want to face.
It shouldn't be difficult to predict that a final three games of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City will not be easy. All in all, this doesn't look like a forgiving list to me, though the momentum generated by a couple of long stretches without top half opposition could be very helpful.
Full fixture list:
@ Man Utd
vs West Ham
vs Man City
vs Man Utd
@ West Ham
@ Man City