In the first of our new column from Everton legend Bob Latchford, the former number 9 discusses the fixture list which was revealed today and how little he looked forward to pre-season training as a player…
As a fan, we rush to see the next seasonâ€™s fixtures when they are released by the FA Premier League, but as a player you are generally on holiday or at an international tournament, so next season and football is often at the back of your mind. Thatâ€™s not to say we didnâ€™t examine them closely when we got back and found out who we were playing though, and there were several key parts of the season I looked out for in particular.
I always looked at the start of the season; the first four or six games especially. I would always look to see who I could get a couple of goals against early in the season and who I might need to work a bit harder against, but itâ€™s also important not to lose those first few games. The first two games can have a massive impact on your whole season, as both Everton and Liverpool showed last term. Liverpool started strong and ended up having a title challenge in their hands to throw away, while we took a while to recover from our awful start. Of course, every Everton player looked out for when we played that shower across the park as well!
If Everton can avoid defeat against Arsenal on the opening day, then going to Manchester City will be a lot less daunting than going there on the back of a beating.
After that first section of the season, Iâ€™d always look to see if we had any tough groups of fixtures, and this season Everton have been treated to two sets of real tricky games. At first glance, it seems unkind to have grouped the tough games together, but it could turn out to our advantage.