Is the FA Biased?

Now I’m not one who endorses conspiracy theories but when I look at the opening seven games in the Premier League it gives me leave to at least wonder.

In my belief it is important to have a high degree of balance and fairness in the schedule in order to give every team an equal opportunity of success. However the opening seven games favour one team far more than others.

Take a look at this ——–

Is it just a quirk of scheduling or do I perceive bias? Of course in the end result each team plays a home and away game against every other team but the schedule gives Man U a totally unfair advantage as they do not face any of the other top six teams. They have a distinct possibility of winning all seven games which will be a huge boost to their confidence level while the other five teams are in a dog fight playing against each other.

Am I being paranoid or do others have a similar opinion?

Written by GunnerN5


44 Responses to Is the FA Biased?

  1. chas says:

    Cheers, GN5.

    It would be interesting to see all of the criteria used for fixture selection.

    Obvious things like Arsenal and the spuds not playing at home for each fixture is a basic one, but I presume there are more complex ones relating to cups.

    I’d imagine it is just a quirk of the FA’s equivalent of ERNIE that the mancs have an easy start.

    Hopefully it also means that once the CL starts, they’ll have some really tricky fixtures interspersed – which will ruin both their campaigns. 🙂

  2. GunnerN5 says:

    A few more options for AW

    Midfielders Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin returned to action from injury in Arsenal Under-23s’ 3-2 win over Derby County on Monday night.

    England midfielder Wilshere completed 74 minutes in his first appearance since fracturing his leg against Tottenham in April while on loan at Bournemouth.

    Coquelin, playing alongside Wilshere in central midfield, also showed no ill effects after an ankle injury and was withdrawn alongside the 25-year-old at St George’s Park.

    England left-back Kieran Gibbs, 27, also played the whole of the first half for the young Gunners.

    Newcastle, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth have all been credited with interest in Wilshere, who has a year left on his current deal at the Emirates.

    Arsenal recovered from being 2-0 down with Reiss Nelson (2) and Eddie Nketiah on the scoresheet for Steve Gatting’s side.

    Match-winning forward Nketiah, 18, scored 25 times in 34 appearances at all age levels last season, earning himself a place in Arsene Wenger’s squad for the pre-season tour of Australia and China.

    The teenager had already been on target this month, scoring in the U23s’ 5-1 win at Leyton Orient.

  3. Eris says:

    I am with you on that oneGunnerN5. I found it curious myself but consoled myself that Leicester, Everton, Southampton and Stoke will give United a game, thus turning that intended advantage into a problem when they start to meet direct rivals.

    Interestingly, I predicted that somehow, the fixtures will be made to favour United, when having a discussion with a friend; he still called me yesterday to express how right I was. If a team can win 7 in a row, it has an advantage over the chasing pack and can afford to simply prevent a Loss when they come against rivals, and they will have needed confidence to do so, egged on by the complicit media. It is true, each team plays every other team over a season, but timing is a key component of how the games pan out.

    It would have been interesting to see how they would have faired on Sunday, had the hammers not had the likes of Jose Fonte, Kouyate, Antonio, Lanzini and Carrol, all out injured.

  4. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Eris, Thank you for the comment.

    Being and Arsenal fan when I first saw the schedule it struck me how tough our start was, with away games against Stoke, Liverpool and Chelsea and it made me wonder about what our main PL were faced with.

    My findings were the reason I wrote the post and I’m more than a little surprised that there have been so few responses, especially when the schedule appears be so one sided.

    Naturally I’m very biased but what I look for is fairness and that, for whatever reason, is not apparent in the first 7 games. I can envisage how much the media will drool over their “darlings” Man U if they do in fact get 21 points from these opening matches, while at the same time the schedule makes it nigh on impossible for any other team to achieve the same..

  5. Gööner In Exile says:

    I think the real test comes in looking at when those games against big teams come and whether there is any spacing in pretty sure over last couple of seasons we have faced periods where we have had three consecutive league matches against top 4 rivals interspersed by CL games. Real damage to league campaigns can be done in these periods especially if key matches in CL fall in between those PL games.

    The last season Man C got offf to a flier with a very similar opening schedule and everyone wanted to shout that Pep was going to win the league at a canter and look how it should be done blah blah blah. Without considering the run of games they had had.

    In prefer our start to Liverpool and City, Chavs have probably got toughest openers. Which could mean curtains for Conte.

    What was more annoying to me was trying to find a Saturday 3pm kick off in the first bunch of opening games for Arsenal.

  6. GunnerN5 says:

    Fine comment GIE, I can see things from your viewpoint and I cannot disagree.

    I actually have a spreadsheet prepared showing the entire seasons league games for these teams and I update it after each game. I’ve done it for a few seasons now as I always like to see what games we have against our main rivals but I’ve never added any of the cup games.

    I know that sounds like a dumb thing to do – but I’ve got so much time on my hands and I want to keep my brain active.

  7. Big Raddy says:

    Very interesting GN5.

    Like chas I would like to know the criteria behind the fixture list but, once again, the football authorities decision are not open to the public (who pay their wages).

    Our 3 away fixtures are tough

  8. GunnerN5 says:

    For those that asked here is twhat I found on the fixture scheduling criteria.

    But without knowing the answers to the queries it’s not possible to determine if the fixtures are fairly arranged or not.


    Producing the full Premier League fixture list for 2017/18 is no random draw. It is the result of a meticulous and painstaking process that lasts almost half a year and involves the scheduling of 2,036 matches across the top four divisions in England.

    The man behind the list is Glenn Thompson, of Atos, a veteran compiler who has collated almost 60,000 matches since taking on the role in 1992. He explains how the list is compiled.

    When does the work on the next season’s fixture list start?
    Glenn Thompson: At the start of the year. That’s when I get the playing dates from the Premier League.

    The whole thing is built up putting in the international dates from FIFA, then the European club competitions, then the Football Association adds in the dates for its competitions and what you are left with are the dates when you can play league and League Cup matches.

    What is “sequencing”?
    That’s the methodology we use which is all about breaking the season down into a number of constituent parts, which are called sets. We break it down into five sets, which are reversed in the second half of the season.

    Are there any rules you have to adhere to?
    There are the “golden rules” of sequencing. In any five matches there should be a split of three home fixtures, two away, or the other way around.

    Wherever possible a club will not have more than two home or away matches in a row, and will be home and away around FA Cup ties.

    We will also strive to prevent any club from having to start or finish the season with two home or two away matches because it would be unfair for a team to finish with two aways, especially if they are looking for points.

    Around the Christmas period, if you are at home on Boxing Day you will be away on New Year’s Day, or the equivalent date. And we will also try to maintain a Saturday home-away sequence throughout the season wherever possible.

    Do clubs from the same area play at home on the same day?
    Most clubs will have a partner club they cannot clash with. There are the obvious ones – Manchester United and Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton – and then when you get into London it gets a bit more complex and less obvious.

    What happens next?
    Around March, the Premier League sends to each of its member clubs a form asking them to fill in three things: 1) Are there any dates you wish not to be at home? That is answered in conjunction with the local police. 2) Which club do you want to pair with? 3) Are there any teams you do not wish to play at home on Boxing Day?

    Can you satisfy all of the requests?
    From looking at the sequence we know how many of these dates we can meet. When we can’t, the Premier League will ask the club which of the requests are most important.

    We cannot accommodate everything but, on average, we satisfy higher than 85% every year.

    See: Thompson – If there are problems, we may go back to square one

  9. mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks very much GN5

    I agree with everyone above

    I’d add that if I was a minnow team, I’d rather play a top team as early as possible before all their poncy expensive tarts have either arrived or settled in

    Utd drop any points in these “easy” games and things work against them

    Bye bye 😎

  10. Gööner In Exile says:

    GN5 obviously I used to compile the swingo but no one could comprehend it. In fact it was as useful as recent opinion polls from the likes of YouGov so maybe I could have made a bob or two selling the formula to them.

    The pairing seems unnecessary these days , we are guaranteed Sunday fixtures for a good chunk of the season, Spuds are going to be at Wembley so is there any real point for this season of pairing those fixtures.

    However I reckon the easiest games the authorities to plan are Manc/Merseyside and London Derbies and then the respective games between them, in reality you’d think Liverpool v Spuds should be same weekend as Arsenal v Everton, same for games against Manchester teams and same for Manc v Merseyside as they all need to be opposite. But looking at the above they’ve not bothered with that logic.

  11. fatgingergooner says:

    I was worried when I saw our opening fixtures as a bad atmosphere only ever seems to be a couple of poor results away these days and it’s not an easy start for us.

    For that reason I felt the victory against Leicester was vital for our season but also the way in which we came back is great for confidence and for the atmosphere in the crowd. If we can get a positive result at Stoke then we could set ourselves up well for the season and I know our fixtures get a bit easier after these first six or seven games.

    Ultimately everybody plays each other home and away but what the fixture list doesn’t show you is the timing of matches in relation to injuries, suspensions, form, new manager coming in, January transfers, cup matches etc

  12. fatgingergooner says:

    Pundits make me laugh. Heard lots this week about Arsenal having the same defensive frailties as previous years and they will struggle for top 4. Also lots about Özil being absent and not producing.

    I’m not sure what games these so called experts watch but what I saw was a defensive which included 2 left backs and a youngster, with an attacking midfielder playing LWB and Bellerin at RWB. Not exactly a defence which you can form an opinion of our future prospects on is it? I would imagine a defence of Bellerin/Mustafi/Merts/Kos/Kolasinac would fare slightly better.

    My worry about our defence was mainly set piece related and also the lack of cover from midfield, but I’m sure these will be solved once our players return.

    As for Özil, he was our best player in the last 30 minutes and was probably the reason we won the game. He was demanding the ball and switching the attack when others looked like they were going into their shells a bit. He may not have been great for the first hour, but he showed his worth to the team in that last half hour and was a big reason why we ended up winning.

    I don’t pay much attention to the media these days but I see they are still churning out the same boring articles about Arsenal.

  13. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi GIE,

    I feel that your spread sheet knowledge is superior to mine as I still use a lot of Lotus 123 formulas from the early nineties and I also use a Windows 7 version of Excel. However it works for me and I manage a lot of my son’s business need’s using it – so it gets me by but one of these fine days I might upgrade.

  14. GunnerN5 says:

    FGG – The other day I asked when and why the media turned on the Arsenal but the responses were sparse.

    Northern teams were always the media darlings when I was a kid but back then we only had newspapers and radio. With the advent of the internet and then social media it’s now rampant and it must be very disillusioning for the club and players.

  15. VP of Oz says:

    GN5 still using Lotus 123 formulas, that has made my morning.

  16. Gööner In Exile says:

    GN5 I think it’s quite simple to understand today’s media angle (perhaps easier than when it was paper and tv all produced from a Londoncentric base).

    But simply today’s media thrives on advertising revenue, there are two ways to create ad revenue on the internet. Create videos that people want to watch, post them on YouTube then watch the revenue roll in from ads on your videos provided by Google, one of my clients (a 20 year old kid) is earning around £5k per month just from YouTube ad revenues, he is also offered money by companies to mention them in his vids).

    So that’s one way of making ad revenue basically replacing traditional media.

    The route most newspapers/radio and tv groups have gone is thriving on click bait, they get paid for ads on their pages, they get paid more if you click on the ad, and more still if you get a sale.

    There is a massive contingent of social media/internet savvy Arsenal fans (from memory first club to hit 1m twitter followers). Therefore these companies know they have a swathe of Arsenal fans on the net, so their job is to get them to their site and therefore a headline which draws those pundits in is most likely to be published, and my guess over time is that those companies realised they get more hits from the critical articles than the positive ones. And from transfer tittle tattle, I’m pretty sure that’s why you see “previous Arsenal target” in so many transfer stories.

  17. Splendid GN5

    Apologies for not been around. For some reason my daughter took my “we should all go on holiday together this year”, seriously? To hot not to de-robe I have spent the last two weeks been mistaken by German tourists as a beach towel and to fend off the evil eye, local youths had no choice but to oblige a daily ritual of stone throwing, Fortunately there was no traveling circus passing by, so I avoided kidnap and the subsequent advert of “Come see the incredible middle aged Wolf”

    Logicaly, I do not perceive a fixture bias, but it’s important that we maintain that there is one. It’s every Arsenal supporters right to maintain “they’ve got it in for us, jealous coz we’re The Arsenal init”

    This arrogance maintains a feeling of superiority which makes one feel good, and when feeling good, chances of pulling birds increase. It also infuriates Totnumb fans, meaning they spend most of there married life sleeping in the shed. It’s a long time to spend around a rusty shovel and half a bag of coal.

    On a side note, I hate my son in law. During that holiday if it were not been followed around by a local copper, probably to make sure I didnt start howling and commence chasing other beach goers frisbee, I could have seriously done him over. The mans a PE teacher and is the type who exercises on the beach and looks at you with an expression that says I would like to put a cone on your head and give you a wedgie.

    I tried to get rid of him when he began courting my little girl. Not in a bad way, offering him money and hiring a few people to give him a kicking, but he hanged around? I have to start thinking of some new methods.

  18. fatgingergooner says:


    What you say is true. I often google Arsenal and some of the shite that is regarded as a story these days is unbelievable. If a couple of fans tweet about something then it’s a story. If a player tweets something then it’s a story. It’s desperate media but if they get paid the amounts you mention then who can blame them!

    The interent has a lot to answer for.

  19. fatgingergooner says:

    If £35m for Ox is true then I’d be tempted. I say wait until Coutinho goes to Barca then get £40-£45m for him. Could be great, but isn’t developing at Arsenal and doesn’t get in our first 11. If that money means we get Lemar from Monaco then I say take it.

  20. Jnyc says:


    Media, pundits never mention the makeshift central defenders we started with.. Imagine man city without komapany or Otamendi.

    Also i was so annoyed seeing all networks and pundits playing clip over and over of ball grazing Ozils arm, as if that won us the game…

    But not one word about an obvious handball that should’ve given us a penalty. Media bias.

    I don’t know if there’s any truth in it.. but I’d take 35 mil and sell ox in england if he doesn’t sign right now. I’ll just hope he doesn’t reach his potential alsewhere. But leaving on a free would really upset me. Disloyal brat for trying to go for free.

    I’ll regard Leicester as one of the tougher opponents after the obvious big teams, and say we got one of the harder games out of the way with 3 points.

  21. chas says:

  22. chas says:

    Thanks for the fixture selection criteria, GN5. Very interesting.

    There seem to be so many different considerations that I bet there is wiggle room for a bit of bias.

  23. chas says:

  24. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All.

    Terry. Superb, as always. Love the idea of your howling and chasing a frisbee. I had the same problems with my daughters boyfriends, she seemed to pick the sort of blokes we all hated at school. Perhaps she did it on purpose.

    GN5. 5.10 is very interesting. Thank you

  25. Big Raddy says:

    7.11 is Lord Micky Didit with his nursery manager

  26. LB says:

    Finally got to see the game — and wow what a great season we have ahead of us. There was some really great interplay.

    I was interested to see just how bad Holding was as some reviews had been quite critical of him. It has to be said that he made three very poor passes which were intercepted and led to Leicester attacks but they did not lead to goals and further the goals that Leicester did score were not his fault at all. Leicester targeted the lack of height on our left. It was in Monreal’s zone that the goals came from but how could anyone blame him?

    I think Kos is back for the Stoke game so things should be better, as for Holding I still expect to be out there.

    Lacazette looked very mobile.

  27. Rasp says:

    Thanks for the post GN5. I wouldn’t be surprised if manipulation of the fixtures takes place … but not to favour any particular club, rather for financial reasons and to make the EPL a more saleable product.

    Hi LB. I think Koz is serving the last of his 3 match ban so won’t play against Stoke. Mustafi should be back in contention though.

  28. GunnerN5 says:

    GIE thank you for your thoughts on the media, what you said makes a lot of sense. So it sounds like we have become the leader in attracting negative advertising to allow others to profit.

    Given that GIE I feel that Terry and yourself should get together and use your forensic accounting skills to find a way for Arsenal to get a cut of that profit.

    Or alternately we should set up a site that denounces and exposes untrue negative media against the Arsenal. We would be able to retire from the revenue – Oops I’m already retired.

  29. wally says:

    Some one should tell the FA that there is this new thing called a computer and they can use it to create a schedule for the league and the entire season including all the various cup competitions. What a joke!
    The notion that they are doing this manually makes you think of bob cratchitt sitting in his garret slaving away trying to get it right for months on end.

  30. wally says:

    I’m left wondering why anyone cares what the media says about us or anyone else? WHY?
    Does anyone need the media to feel good or bad about the team? Are we all 10 years old and need mommy to tell us we’re ok?

  31. chas mobile says:

  32. GunnerN5 says:

    By Arsene Wenger’s own admission, the focus for much of the rest of the transfer window will be on outgoings rather than who could be joining us.

    But will Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere be among those who could be on the way out?

    This is what the manager said in his press conference:

    on whether he expects a busy end to the transfer window…
    Getting players out keeps you as busy as getting players in. I think I will be busy, yes.

    on whether the Ox will be here at the end of the season…

    on why he thinks that…
    Personally, because I rate him highly and he’s one of the players who is on his way up. In the last year, he has made huge progress and I want him to stay here for a long time. I’m convinced he will be the English player that everybody will look at in the next two years.

    on if he’ll keep Ox no matter what…
    Yes, I have regular conversations with the players where I tell them where I stand and they know what I want and where I stand on that front.

    on whether Jack’s future is here for the final year of his contract…
    At the moment, yes. I think I plan for him to be here for the whole season, after we will see at the end of the season.

    on Lucas…
    There’s a possibility [he could leave this month]. I opened the door for him because I have many strikers. If he finds a good opportunity, I will help him.

    on if he’s pleased that transfer requests haven’t been handed in…
    Yes, I’m very happy about that, because I believe it’s important that you have a serene atmosphere inside, and clarity as well about your commitment. That’s why we spoke about the transfer window. It’s important that the players are not half in and half out, but completely in.

    on if club is strong enough financially to potentially run down high-profile contracts…
    Look, let’s not be wrong, it’s not an ideal situation on the financial side and it demands some sacrifice but first of all it doesn’t mean the players who are in the final year of their contract will not extend their contract. You have still that possibility and we work on that as well.


  33. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsene Wenger has provided a team news update ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash against Stoke City.

    The boss revealed the latest on Shkodran Mustafi, Francis Coquelin, Jack Wilshere, Per Mertesacker and Alexis.

    This is what he had to say:

    on the team news…
    Early team news is that from last week I think Mertesacker will be available again. For Alexis it looks a bit early, but he works hard in training. Our medical people think Saturday comes too soon but he should be available for the next game against Liverpool.

    on Alexis’ recovery…
    His recovery is going very well, he is working very hard but we have to be cautious. It was a muscular strain and [its important] not to have any setback on it.

    on Mustafi and Coquelin…
    They will be in the squad, yes.

    on Jack Wilshere…
    Well, for him it’s good that he’s back and available. I think he needs games now. He might play again on Monday night but overall, what is important for him is the natural progression to be completely fit. He is not far away now.


  34. Zee says:

    Hi GN5,

    I posted a comment earlier commending you for your really interesting headline Post, and unfortunately it disappeared into the aether.

    I am reluctant to repeat myself other than to say the work of scheduling the various competitions including the FA Cup, the Premiership, the Europa and the CL competitions is clearly done using an algorithm for the base data input, and then giving that to the clubs to comment on any perceived local clashes – and that in turn would enable them to sign up to the league timetable in advance, as you mentioned above.

    The nature of cup matches will always cause some conflict because of FA Cup replays, which for the teams involved is not foreseeable, so too the CL draws and from which pots and dates the clubs are drawn from are again not known in advance — unless UEFA are really bent and the TV draws are all fixed — surely not?

    It is a really complex scheduling, and even tho someone like Moanhio is bound to blame fixture congestion for Manure going down in flames, it cannot be intentional biase,

    Anyway this might be a repeat comment, should my original materialise from the mists of the technical miasma we are all prone to get lost in occasionally.

    Thank you, sir, you are a real trouper. 😀

  35. Zee says:

    GN5 @ 12:20

    For myself, and I believe many others too, I simply use an ad blocker that does not let the relevant annoying ads onto my screen, and I do my best to avoid ‘click bait’ — but to be frank, many fans go to read what blog sites are saying because they are desperate to read some supposedly ‘positive’ transfer news, for example, or to rage at other stories that accuse the club of this or that, or bash the manager or whatever.

    Unfortunately, there are always some who believe this ‘Fake News’ as Trump would have it – but maybe that is how they get their kicks.

    Personally, I could give a stuff. 🙂

  36. Zee says:


    When I complete my contracts, I am going to become your agent and get you to work on stage, and make me a lot of money – not sure about how much you will get!

    Your 9:28 pm yesterday is/was brilliant. 😀

  37. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Zee, Just got back in, sorry I missed you. I agree with you about Terry he is quite brilliant and never fails to make me laugh.

  38. fatgingergooner says:

    Barca looking a bit of a mess these days. They’ve bought terribly over the last few years and it’s starting to catch up with them. They’ve lost players like Dani Alves, Puyol, Xavi, Pedro, Neymar, Inesta (injured a lot these days) and they’ve brought in sub standard replacements like Digne, Andre Gomes, Deulofeu, Arda Turan, Umtiti, Denis Suarez etc.

    With Neymar jumping ship maybe it’s possible that others may follow. I could see the likes of Busquets and Suarez moving on soon if they don’t buy in some quality. Apparently ex Spurs Paulinho is due to sign, not exactly a Barcelona player. If I was Coutinho I’d be a little hesitant about going there.

  39. Eris says:

    Paulinho being considered for that great club just exemplifies how lowly things have become. Maybe, they consider they are in need of physicality? You are correct about their transfer dealings in the last couple of years; they’ve also not given youth a chance in their desperate need to remain on top, unlike Zidane’s Madrid who have allowed academy lads like Lucaz Vasquez and Tejero to thrive alongside their more accomplished first team stars. They’ve also bought young Spanish internationals like Asensio and Isco to secure the future.

    Hopefully, Barcelona can come back from this bruising defeat to make a fist of the rest of the season.

  40. chas mobile says:

  41. chas says:


  42. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    6.45 Terrific pic.

    Hard to disagree about Barca. I wonder why they have bought so poorly. Could it be to do with transfer restrictions?

    As Elis says, RM’s investment in youth and their commitment to letting young players develop even when they are struggling (Isco) is admirable. That said, they are not shy of getting out the cheque book, are they?

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