It's not even the start of the season, but the fixture list has already given some managers cause to moan.
Ahead of this season’s Premier League weekend there has been plenty of talk about the fixture list, which surprise, surprise, allows sides to play each team twice, once at home and once away.
Yet that doesn’t stop managers from having a moan about a having a difficult start to the season, or saying other sides are being given preferential treatment for one reason or another.
He added: “I hope it’s not because Manchester United won the league quite comfortably last year [that] the fixtures have been made much more difficult.”
Well, David, here is a bit of news for you – everybody has to play each team twice. It may be a hard start for United but they are not the only side in recent years that have had a tricky start. And why have you started to moan now when the fixtures came out in June?
For Paul Lambert, who also has a difficult start to this season, it is a little different. The fixture computer has handed him early visits to Arsenal and Chelsea, plus the task of welcoming Liverpool to Villa Park all before the end of the month.
“We had about 45 different explanations - but I don’t know if one of them is true. I don’t get it. Would have it been different if it had been the other way round? Possibly, yes, are you talking about big club syndrome? “
Lambert should note that Chelsea were also participating in the Super Cup last season and their fixture with Reading was brought forward early, though they got six points from two games, it wasn’t a title winner for them.
Having three big games in such a short space of time is likely to make Lambert grumble, especially with one of the fixtures being rearranged, and might have his side at a slight disadvantage physically for their game against Liverpool. But all sides have periods of fixture congestion, and it is just a test of their managerial skills, are managers a bit worried about being put to the test too early on?
Every other team has been through it before at one stage or another. Teams have hard starts, teams have easier starts, but if you are good enough to beat a side and you don’t then it’s the manager and the players who should be looking at each other, not the fixture computer. Just get on with it!
image: © Jason Gulledge