We all collectively pray to the football gods for an easy opening game of the season ahead of the release of our upcoming season’s fixtures.
Murmurings of Fulham at home came out, phew, we all thought. But when 9am came along, refreshing the phone, boom Manchester City at home first up. Oh, joy.
Whilst, in the grand scheme of things, when you play a team doesn’t particularly matter, each team plays everyone twice so whether you are playing Manchester City, Liverpool, Fulham or Bournemouth at the start of the season or in March, ultimately, it doesn’t matter.
However, what does matter is clusters of fixtures, and unfortunately for us, our opening six look difficult.
Opening up with City, followed by Jesse Lingard’s Nottingham Forest in their first Premier League home fixture for over 20 years, to say they will be up for it, is an understatement.
With Lingard’s arrival, it certainly adds an extra little bit of spice to that game.
So, potential zero points from a possible six — good. Who’s next? The old hoodoo Brighton. Crikey. Well, it has to end at some point, right?
Following the Seagulls’ trip to the east end — we head to Birmingham, and to a ground in Villa Park that has served us well in recent seasons.
So, let’s say we pick up points there and finally break our Brighton hoodoo, six from 12 — not bad.
August ends with the fixture every Hammers fan looks out for when the fixtures are released, our deluded North London neighbours Tottenham.
Antonio Conte has recruited well in the summer and Spurs will likely enter this London Stadium fixture under the lights as favourites.
Our men though will be bang up for it, as will our faithful, and with a few new recruits ourselves, Moyes and his staff will be looking to compete up toward the top end of the table with Tottenham.
On paper, it looks like a tricky opening salvo of games, but it could be said that facing the Champions of England on the opening day is a good thing.
We could catch them while they might not have gelled just yet fully as a team, and whilst they may be a little rusty still.
Forest have brought an awful lot of players in during the window, and again will they have got used to playing with each other yet? Nobody will fully know.
I would argue that August, alongside February, will be our hardest months of the season.
It is a funny old season with the 2022/23 season with the break in the middle for the World Cup in Qatar.
I have this season down as a bit of a free-for-all, anything could happen, and the clubs least affected by players going to the Qatari heat will benefit the most.
Am I saying that we could be on for another Leicester-style season? No. But I think it will be an enthralling season.
In terms of stressless months for us, you are probably looking at the last two games before the break for the World Cup — with home fixtures against Palace and Leicester to see us into Christmas (that feels weird to say when talking about November fixtures).
It is important to remember that we will have more fixtures potentially than last year if all goes to plan with the Europa Conference League.
So, squad depth is going to be more key than ever before. Newman and Moyes have been trying to get bodies through the door, and at the time of writing this article, they have managed to get three in and are on the cusp of a couple more.
I want us to go all out to win the Conference League — it is a massive opportunity for silverware, and with the Premier League looking more and more competitive it is another shot at qualification for European football in the 2023/24 season.
For me, when the fixtures come out the first thing I look at is, the opening six games and the final three.
Every club wants to get off to a good start, as I have mentioned above — we could get anything from six to nine points from the opening six.
The last three are Manchester United at home, Brentford away, and finally Leeds at home. A very interesting end to the season, which could see us pick up maximum points in May.
Which would either propel us to Europe, or in the worst possible case scenario, with the squad depth at the time of writing, and performances in pre-season not setting the world alight, the final three games would also give us a great chance of beating the drop if we need to.
Personally, looking through the fixtures, I see us comfortably surviving, and there is no reason if we recruit well, why we cannot win the Europa Conference League and finish in the top eight.