Playing Cambridge Utd in BSP, I let my Ass Man arrange friendlies but he set us up with Tottenham for the last one - a nice confidence sapping thrashing just before the first serious game - I cancelled and stuffed my own Youth Team 9-0 instead. (This was a bit cheaty IMO.)
Does everyone arrange their own friendlies? And what makes a good schedule to start the season in good form?
always arrange my own i'm currently playing in N'Ireland i have a 1k seater stadium so i arrange friendlies v league 1 teams and make about 5k a game play about 5 of these to make some money which i lose through the season anyway, and then play my u18's last to get a good win
I always arrange my own friendlies and I find it best to start with weaker teams and end with equal/stronger teams. ie this would entail, for instance
As Man Utd:
and end with
Chelsea\Tottenham\Arsenal\Liverpool or any other strong team.
This would make every part of my team rise with the challenge and be fully fit before the first league match.
In past versions I've always let the assman handle it rather than spend hours trying to find a club who would just say yes to a friendly request, but with the excellent (and rather unsung) addition of the menu of suggested clubs of various levels who are pretty much guaranteed to say yes I now do almost all the scheduling myself. In reference to the OP's example I agree that a match against a big club just before the opening weekend is a poor choice (shame because you'd have raked in some cash for that game), but be a bit careful arranging against smaller teams if you let the assman take control of friendlies - for some reason against smaller teams they tend to mess up the team talks which destroys squad harmony.
For Arsenal for 09/10 I arranged friendlies to mirror RL:
Obscure Austrian team A (IRL SC Columbia of Austrian 4th division but not in (my save) database
Haladas of Hungarian top flight A
Atletico Madrid H (made up "Emirates Cup" and draw mirrored RL (though not sure there is an actual draw IRL - Arsenal set up the 1st day matches as they wish. Also can't mirror the RL rules of 90 mins no pens, 1 point per goal and teams ranked by total shots on target if level on points, goals scored and goal difference).
Rangers/PSG H (3rd place playoff/final)
Boreham Wood A
We play Barnet as our earliest friendly every season IRL and are contracted to play them in the game (we play our reserve matches at their ground). Likewise Boreham Wood who host our ladies matches (though IRL this is a fixture for our reserves). We have a training camp in Austria each year which will include a couple of games. Emirates Cup on our own ground is also a fixture. So there are 6 games lined up for each subsequent pre-season and I like to arrange a game at AFC Wimbledon also.
I have always let my ass man take control for friendlies as I am impatient to get to the serious business and not so deeply into tactical side to tinker and try out things.