Sunderland have one of the hardest starts to the Championship campaign, on paper at least. The Black Cats found our their fixture list for the 2022-23 season, and will kick off with a home game against Coventry City.
We've compared the opening six opponents for every side in the division, based on last season's finishing position. And while Alex Neil's side have their work cut out in theory, Hull City have the toughest start to the Championship.
The Tigers kick things off with a home game against Bristol City, who finished 17th in the Championship last season. That’s followed by an away trip to Preston, who finished 13th, followed by a home game against Norwich (20th in the Premier League), Burnley away (17th in the Premier League), West Brom away (10th in the Championship), and Coventry at home (12th in the Champ).
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Overall, those opponents had an average finishing position of 28.3 in the English football pyramid last season. That’s equivalent to 8.3 in the Championship. The opening six opponents of no other club in the division have a higher average than those of Hull. Huddersfield and West Bromwich Albion have the next highest averages at 9.0 each.
Watford’s opening six opponents have an average of 9.5, Sheffield United’s have one of 9.7, and Sunderland’s have an average of 9.8. Bristol City, however, have the easiest start to the season on paper. The Robins start the season against Hull, who finished 19th in the Championship last season.
Sunderland are next and finished 5th in League One, which is the 49th spot in the football pyramid. Wigan finished top of League One (45th overall), Luton Town finished 6th in the Championship, Cardiff City 18th, and Blackpool 16th.
That gives an average of 38.8 in the football pyramid, which is equivalent to 18.8 in the Championship. Coventry have the next easiest start on paper, with their opening six opponents having an average finishing position of 18.5 last season. That’s followed by Norwich (17.2), Preston (15.5), and Rotherham (15.3).
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