A strange sort of bunching in next season’s Arsenal’s fixtures, and in the transfer window too

By Tony Attwood

There was a lot of comment when the fixtures came out for the coming season over the fact that we start with Manchester City at home and then have Chelsea away.

That seems a little curious but could of course just be the way the fixtures came out of the hat.

However hats, or even computers, can’t really explain what happens in the rest of the season: it really does look like these days the fixture list is utterly, well, fixed.  Either for the benefit of certain teams or for the benefit of the TV companies and their demands.

Here’s how it runs

After the Manchester City and Chelsea fixtures we go eight games without playing any of the teams who ended up above us.   Now those teams that finished the league in positions one to five represent 25% of the league in total and so we should be playing them once in every four games.  But none of them will be seen for eight successive matches.

Then at the start of December we get two such fixtures in four days.  Tottenham at home and Manchester United away.  But that is not all for December for in that month we also get Liverpool away.   Three fixtures out of the ten against those who finished above us last year – all in the same month.

After finishing December with the Liverpool game we then get another curious anomaly – three London derbies in a row: Fulham, West Ham and Chelsea.

Yet another double header of successive matches against the top five from last season turns up at the start of March with Tottenham away and Manchester United at home in successive games.

Then we finish the season with eight games in a row without any of the top five from last season involved.

The chances of such bunching appearing, followed by these runs is very low indeed, and the most likely reason for it is that the fixture setters at the Premier League are not totally led by the top live TV sponsors (Sky TV and BT Sprout) in determining fixtures.

Of course beyond the fixtures themselves I have no evidence of this, and the fixtures are merely evidence that a set of highly unlikely dates have come up, and nothing more.

But I suspect a more likely explanation is this:

The TV companies know exactly when the highest audiences are, and so aim to put matches that attract a lot of attention at those times, in order to attract the highest audiences.

Likewise the TV companies will have a view as to who will be in the running for the title in the last month or so and so arrange matches that will encourage a large audience.   This past season with Manchester City obvious winners of the league with over six weeks to go, audience figures went down because there were no games that could be seen as matches that could determine the outcome of the league.

Further, by bunching “big” matches next to each other I think the TV companies are hoping to generate excitement and help to take their audience figures up a bit after years of decline.

Meanwhile in the transfer doings for the Premier League Chelsea have still not bought anyone and just released one player, exactly the same as Tottenham.  Manchester City have bought no one either.  Is anyone congratulating Arsenal on getting the job done early?


4 Replies to “A strange sort of bunching in next season’s Arsenal’s fixtures, and in the transfer window too”

  1. As well as the shall we say ‘the none public’ or ‘hidden agenda’ this year we have the added factor that had to be programmed into the fixture list.

    Due to the failure of spuds to get their new spudole ready on time, we have a season end of six away games to their six home games.

  2. Tony, Colario’s point is very well made. Given that it is usually accepted that teams do better at home than away (and we certainly have done in recent years), the disproportionate number of away fixtures we have at the end of the season is disadvantageous to us, and beneficial to Sp*rs. There is no logical reason for doing this in the modern day. We are unlikely to play fixtures on the same days anyway (us mostly on Sundays, them on Saturdays) and we have often played home games on the same day that Chelsea or West Ham have anyway. Policing is not so much of an issue as it was in the old days of rampant hooliganism, so this is unnecessary. Regardless, it is unfair on us and we should eb objecting as a club.

  3. algorithm
    noun: algorithm; plural noun: algorithms

    a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.

    You use it to bet effectively, as demonstrated here, also employed by yself. Equally, you could do the same thing applying rules regarding dates, in which audiences would escalate or betting would change on team with a wildcard nature, who often produce dissimilar performances, which could be affected by a sequence of fixtures. Arsenal, the worst odds….. the easiest team for the bookies to make money on.

    Football Manager, uses similar programming influences.

    Nice to see my target topping the distance overed charts, whilst the rest relax.

    in factnice to see Belgium performing, I wonder if they will consider trying to beat us, over resting all the key personnel?

    I wouldn’t risk that, for either side. 2 Games played, ientical records, but Panama looked like they played with little conviction, and even worse defending. Great finish from Lingaard, even if he was afforded a lightyear to shape that one.

    The inconsistencies at corners, no holding whatsoever, but these were much softer than many I hace seen.

    Columbia need to win, but tbh Ospina being back to be shiped on here wouldn’t hurt much.

    Southgate needs to use a different system if Belgium play the same way, even with different personnel. they have a whole other top 6 EPL squad to come on.

    and in other news…. I’ll leave the Cannabis debate, much ado about nothing.

    Remember who polices games, I told you once already at least. For an increased defence budget, at home and accross the Atlantic, you need a quiet, peaceful, international situation for sure?!


  4. Tony … during those long periods where we don’t play the bigger teams, are they playing each other? And do we have one or two “tasty” fixtures most weeks? That would suggest more influence from the TV companies ….

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