Based on Nuno and co’s Robin Hood approach to points accumulation last season, most would say it doesn’t matter who you play in the Premier League, but does it make a difference when you play them?
I don’t know about you, but my immediate checklist invariably focuses on the most pressing questions:
- Who are we playing on or around my birthday? (i.e. how likely is my birthday to be ruined?)
- Who are we playing on Boxing Day (i.e. how likely is Christmas to be ruined?)
- Does the dreaded ‘family commitment’ present danger to an otherwise unblemished home attendance record?
With those key issues addressed, I’ll usually fret about the opening months and how long it will take Wolves to accrue a meaningful tally.
It doesn’t look an easy start by any means, but last season the lads racked up 15 points from the 7 fixtures we’ll kick-off with this time, so there should be little to fear.
I do think it’s handy to avoid the newly promoted teams in the early weeks and mission accomplished in that sense, with Villa’s trip to Molineux not coming until early November with the others to follow shortly afterwards.
It’s statistically proven that playing the big 6 immediately after they’re engaged in European competition is beneficial, so any weekend fixtures from September onwards could be favourable. Then again we may lose out ourselves if Europa League qualification is achieved.
And of course, all of the above are subject to change anyway with cup progress giving the TV overlords (which will also include Amazon this year) the opportunity to have their say.
All things considered, the list itself doesn’t make much difference in the here and now, but the timing of fixtures as the season progresses does contribute to the success/failure of a team’s campaign.
How can it not?
Teams have good and bad moments in a season. Times when key players are out, times when confidence or energy levels spike and drop, times when the pressure to get a result creates nerves that wouldn’t otherwise be present.
I can think of several games last season when it felt like Wolves either benefitted or lost out based on these factors. We can never say they were the definitive ingredient to those results, but we cannot dismiss them either.
We’ve learned nothing today about what Wolves can expect.
Yet, despite the fact it’s luck of the draw and it’s small gains and losses, I do believe the timing of these fixtures do have a say in a competition of such fine margins.
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