The pressure must already be building on David Moyes, as the Scot starts 'mission impossible' this evening. The former Everton manager this week bemoaned United’s early fixture schedule and almost went as far as saying there was a conspiracy against the champions, to ensure they don’t start the 2013-2014 campaign in predictable fashion.
My memory recalled United under Sir Alex usually started the season with a Sunday afternoon stroll in the early autumn sunshine, dispatching some newly promoted team by three or four goals to nil. However, the facts are always better than one’s memory, so here's some data on the first three games of the season for Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs and their opponents since 2010.
The table is broken into three categories. “Big 6” means the team in question played one of the other teams listed, "Promoted" refers to a fixture against a newly promoted team, while "Other" captures the remaining teams in the league. In theory an ‘easier’ start would mean playing less “Big 6” teams and more “Other” and “Promoted” clubs.
So maybe David Moyes is onto something. In fact, if we exclude this season’s fixtures and examine 2010 to 2012 we can see United we far better treated under Sir Alex. In fact, they are the only club of the six examined that will play two of the “Big 6” in their opening three games this season.