RANKED: Which clubs have the best and worst opening fixtures?

26 Jun 2024
McNeil and Saka

We reveal the Premier League teams with the greatest chance of making a flying start to 2024/25

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After the 2024/25 Premier League schedule was released, we look at each team's first 10 matches to see who has the best and worst fixtures to start the season.

Everton and Forest have kindest start

Everton and Nottingham Forest, two teams who fought off relegation last season, have the chance to make a flying start to this campaign. 

That's because their opening 10 matches are kinder than any other team's, according to the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR). 

The FDR is a Fantasy Premier League tool based on a complex algorithm that generates a rank for the perceived difficulty of a team's opponent. You can see the fixtures and FDR scores below for each team's first 10 opponents.

Fixtures are ranked from 1 (easy) to 5 (hard), with the colours green for easier fixtures and red for harder opponents helping Fantasy managers determine at a glance which teams have kind or difficult runs of opponents.

Each team's FDR score first 10 matches
Fixture Difficulty Ratings. Every team's first 10 matches

Looking at only the first 10 matches, the FDR gives the opponents of Everton and Forest an average score of only 2.5. 

In their first 10 fixtures, they each face only two teams who finished in the top six last season, and neither of the top two. 

Ipswich Town and Liverpool have the next-best opening 10 matches, with an average FDR score of 2.6.

Arsenal among teams with tough start

In terms of who has been handed a tricky beginning to the season, AFC Bournemouth have on paper the hardest first 10 matches. 

Their opponents generate an average FDR score of 3.4. Bournemouth face Newcastle United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Manchester City in their first 10 fixtures. 

Title-challengers for the past two seasons, Arsenal, will also have to overcome a tough start if they hope to become Premier League champions for the first time since 2003/04.

They have the fourth-toughest opening fixtures, with an average FDR score of 3.1, travelling to Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur, Man City and Newcastle, as well as hosting Liverpool.

Brighton & Hove Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Newcastle are the other teams whose first 10 matches rank among the five toughest in the Premier League.

European ties add extra difficulty

The seven clubs who have qualified for European competition in 2024/25 also have the extra challenge of playing UEFA Champions League, Europa League or Conference League ties around Premier League action. 

There are THREE European match rounds that fall within the dates of the opening 10 Premier League Matchweeks. 

Arsenal, for example, have a Champions League group-stage match in between Premier League trips to Spurs and Man City. 

You can see below how all of the 2024/25 season's European dates fit around Premier League matches.

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