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Fixtures give Allardyce chance for early progress

30 Nov 2017
Sam Allardyce in Everton training

See why Everton's next eight opponents from the start of December give new manager a perfect platform for points

As he starts work at Everton, Sam Allardyce will look at the club's fixtures over the next month and see a series of opportunities to make rapid strides up the table.

Of Everton's eight matches between 2 December and New Year's Day, five come against teams lying in the bottom nine positions: Huddersfield Town, Newcastle United, Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion and AFC Bournemouth.

The other three fixtures look trickier, with Everton visiting Merseyside rivals Liverpool and then hosting Chelsea and Manchester United.

Overall, according to the Fixture Difficulty Rankings (FDR), which calculates the difficulty of fixtures, the average rating of Everton's next eight opponents is 2.75, with five being the hardest.

Everton's festive run
MW Date Opponent FDR
15 2 Dec HUD (H) 2
16 10 Dec LIV (A) 4
17 13 Dec NEW (A) 2
18 18 Dec SWA (H) 2
19 23 Dec CHE (H) 4
20 26 Dec WBA (A) 2
21 30 Dec BOU (A) 2
22 1 Jan MUN (H) 4

Allardyce will recognise the importance of a fast start.

He has had differing fortunes in that regard in his last two Premier League jobs, having taken command of Sunderland and Crystal Palace at a similar time in the season and when they were at the wrong end of the table.

But the end result each time was the same: maintaining Premier League status.

In October 2015, he took over at Sunderland, who had not won any of their opening eight league fixtures.

They triumphed in three of their next six matches, keeping clean sheets in each victory, and finished two points clear of danger.

After Allardyce took charge at Crystal Palace in December 2016, the Eagles went five matches without victory but they won six out of eight matches between February and April - keeping clean sheets in four of those successes - and ended up seven points above the bottom three.

He will be hoping for a quicker impact at Goodison Park, starting against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

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