… or possibly a week later.
So, the big day has arrived – 15 June and publication of the 2016-17 Premier League fixture list. My Facebook is alive with comments from other Palace fans – mainly focusing on the difficult last two months, with matches against both Manchester teams, Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester and Liverpool as six of our last nine matches.
Normally, that would be how I would look at the fixture list – when were we playing the big teams; what were out difficult runs of games and so on. But this year, my priorities were rather different.
First – where are we playing near family birthdays, on Boxing Day and at new year? Well, good news,with one exception. Boxing Day will be the relatively short trip to Watford, so no overnight stay needed. And the matches either side of New Year’s Day are both in London – Arsenal away and Swansea at home. Even better, we’re at home for the games near the kids’ birthdays. The only fly in the ointment is that we’re in Leicester the day before Janet’s birthday. So any ideas on how to make that up to her are very welcome!
After that, it was a case of when are the longest trips; and are there any difficult back to back trips.
August should be an easy start to the challenge – two home matches either side of Spurs away. And then suddenly the challenge ramps up with Boro and Sunderland – the two longest trips – both in September (with a home match in between). At least they’re not in the depths of winter, I suppose. And as soon as I get home from Sunderland, I’ll have to get straight back on the bike for Everton away on 1 October – definitely the hardest back to back fixtures of the season.
The other difficult back to back combination occurs in early December – when Hull away is followed by a midweek home match against Manchester Utd. Before then, I’ll have travelled to Burnley and Swansea in November – so three long trips in late autumn and winter there. Thankfully, the other three 200+ mile trips are in the spring.
Overall first impressions, therefore, at the fixture list has been as kind as I could have helped for – provided I can make it to end of the first week on October unscathed! Of course, there are Cup fixtures to add in; and fixtures are ‘subject to change’ – even a movement of a day for some matches could cause problems.
Anyone know when the TV fixtures are announced?