The Premier League fixture list for the 2013/14 season has been released and it seems the sadistic computer that spits it out is trying to get David Moyes sacked within his first five matches as Sir Alex Ferguson's replacement at Manchester United. Here's how the league champions open the season:
17 Aug Swansea City A
24 Aug Chelsea H
31 Aug Liverpool A
14 Sep Crystal Palace H
21 Sep Manchester City A
That's away to Capital One Cup winners Swansea on opening day followed by Chelsea with Jose Mourinho back in charge at home, then away to rivals Liverpool, home against newly promoted Crystal Palace and revamping runners-up Manchester City away to round it out. What did Moyes ever do to the fixture computer to deserve such an unfriendly start in his new job? Did he once try to use it to play solitaire while downloading virus-laden pornography and feature-length films in gif format?
Playing Man United's two biggest rivals and Chelsea within the first five matches could either embolden his doubters or shut them up right from the start. So it could be an awful or a great way kick off the season (or somewhere in the middle if the results are adequately mixed). Maybe we'll even see Alex Ferguson back on the touchline when Man United host West Brom on September 28, chomping Moyes like an exceptionally large piece of ginger gum.
But regardless of what club you support, the greatest news to come out of next season's scheduling arrangement is the fact that the 2014 FA Cup final will be held (six days) after the Premier League season ends for the first time since! 2010. T his will avoid any chance of repeating the cruel scenario that played out this year in which Wigan won the FA Cup and then had their relegation sealed four days later.
For an explanation of all the migraine-inducing complexities that go into how the fixture list is compiled, read this.