It looks like those leaked Premier League schedules were faked after all. The Premier League released the preliminary match fixture list for all teams in the 2016-17 season, and Tottenham quickly followed suit with its own graphic.
Here’s what we can learn from the fixture list:
Spurs open away... again.
Oh look, Spurs start the season with an away match, this time at Everton. But we shouldn’t be surprised at this point: Tottenham’s last five opening matches of the season have all been away: at United (2015), West Ham (2014), Crystal Palace (2013), Newcastle (2012), and United again (2011). In fact, the last time Tottenham opened the Premier League season at White Hart Lane was in 2010, the last time Spurs were in the Champions League.
November looks brutal... as does Spurs' run-in.
Take a look at Spurs’ fixtures starting at the end of October heading into December. Leicester City (H), Arsenal (A), West Ham (H), Chelsea (A). There are also two Champions League group stage matches in November as well, sandwiched between the Leicester & Arsenal games, and the West Ham & Chelsea games.
While it’s better to be playing a crazy run of matches like this one in November instead of September, this stretch highlights the fact that Spurs desperately need to upgrade and enhance its midfield. That’s a lot of tough games for our existing midfield, and that’s not even factoring in possible injuries.
Crazily, we get Leicester-Arsenal-West Ham back to back again at the end of April and beginning of May, with Manchester United capping off that run instead of Chelsea. Who makes these schedules, anyway?
Spurs’ holiday season looks pretty easy.
Matches come thick and fast in December heading into the new year, but thankfully Spurs’ schedule doesn’t look all that bad in that period. After the November gauntlet, Spurs have matches against Hull City, Burnley, Southampton, and Watford before a highly anticipated home tie against Chelsea on January 2. There are only three days’ rest between Hull City and Burnley, and Watford & Chelsea, but that’s not too shabby, all things considered.
The Premier League didn’t honor Spurs’ end-of-season request.
In the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust’s last meeting with Spurs’ board a few weeks ago, they noted in their minutes that the club had requested to play its last two matches away in order to get a jump on demolition of White Hart Lane. That obviously didn’t happen. Though Spurs will finish the season away to Hull, they’ll give White Hart Lane a proper send-off with a huge match against Manchester United on Saturday, May 13.
Overall, this looks pretty balanced.
On the whole, there’s not too much to complain about with this schedule. It’s got a couple of tough stretches and a couple of easier stretches, which is more or less par for the course every season. It looks pretty balanced between home/away and tough/weak opponents, as it should be.
The killer part is when you factor in Champions League group stage matches. The league matches after scheduled Champions League group stage matches are beastly (Arsenal away, Chelsea away), and we don’t yet know whom Spurs will play or how rigorous their travel schedule will be. Hopefully this will spur Tottenham on to make some important roster and transfer decisions in the offseason.