One of the biggest events in the football calendar at this time of year is fixture release day. The evening before you start seeing all the rumours on the internet; supposedly 'leaked fixtures'. It's like a young boy sneaking downstairs on Christmas Eve to have a peak at his presents, but peaking at the wrong ones.
You get an awful lot of baloney in terms of 'in the knows' coming up with total boo-hockey opening day fixtures. I saw Arsenal v Hull, Hull v Arsenal, Arsenal v Southampton and Fulham v Arsenal. And who are we playing opening day? Oh yeah, Aston Villa at home. The boy has sneaked downstairs to peak at presents under the tree but found out they're the wrong ones. They're not for him.
Finally 'Christmas' morning arrived and boy found the right presents. This morning and I looked at the overwhelming amount of fixtures, looking in particular for derby day dates, big games, potential away days and what games I'll miss while I'm away on holiday in September. Unfortunately I'll miss an Everton home game against Newcastle. Not only does that mean missing a game but missing one where there's a bit more a competitive bite and rivalry between two of England's traditional top flight clubs. It's a shame I'll miss that because it's usually a good game and Newcastle might take the upper tier (which always makes for a better atmosphere for me). Fingers crossed for some massive floods to postpone the game. Still, it could be worse. It could be one of the biggies... like Liverpool or Arsenal, or Man Utd. That'd be a true nightmare.
The big positives are a nicely sparse distribution of big games at Goodison- three in each half of the season and the last 3 home games of the season being Arsenal, Man Utd and Man City with a few away days like Sunderland, Newcastle and Hull around them. Liverpool and Tottenham earlier on in the season close together, Chelsea early on and most of the mid-table teams far away from the end of the season unlike the last couple of seasons.
Arsenal-wise, it's not ideal to have Tottenham so early but I'm not too bothered. It would be great to start the season by beating them. It's also not ideal we play Tottenham and Chelsea away, Man City at home and Everton away all in a row in March/ April but overall we've got a good set of fixtures. We've got a good start and a good run-in. We don't play any teams apart from Stoke at home with new managers early on, nor any newly promoted teams which I think is ideal.
It's so exciting to have the fixtures out and on the same day I passed the theory part of my driving test!