The Premier League fixture list for the new season was announced this morning and the opening weeks in particular throw up some intriguing contests, particularly for Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool.
The opening weekend sees the champions start their defence at home to the newly promoted Southampton whilst Fergie opens his charge for a 20th Premier League title away at David Moyes’ Everton. The new Tottenham boss will travel to St. James’ Park whilst Chelsea travel to Wigan with both Reading and West Ham embarking on their new season at home against Stoke and Aston Villa respectively.
Arsenal will open up against Sunderland whilst Brendan Rodgers will begin his career at Liverpool with a trip to the Hawthorns. The other matches include Fulham v Norwich and QPR and Swansea battling it out at Loftus Road.
In Liverpool’s first few home matches they will face the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United in what will prove to be an early but very stern test for Rodgers. Manchester City will hope to re-create their dramatics against QPR on the third weekend of the season whilst the 15th of September sees a potentially fiery re-match at Loftus Road between QPR and Chelsea.
Manchester City will face both Liverpool and Arsenal in the opening weekends and the latter don’t have the easiest start to the season as they face trips to the Britannia Stadium, Etihad Stadium and Anfield before entertaining Champions League holders Chelsea the week after the trip to Manchester. Fergie’s United will be relatively happy with their opening few fixtures as they travel to Liverpool twice before facing Tottenham Hotspur as they begin their siege for the title.
Matches like the Tyne-Wear derby, Chelsea’s visit to Tottenham and both the Liverpool derby and Chelsea entertaining Man United all jump out in late October as key clashes, not to forget the battle of the promoted sides as Southampton visit Upton Park.
November 3rd seems a crucial weekend as Liverpool face Newcastle at Anfield whilst United welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford, Roberto Mancini’s City visit newly promoted West Ham whilst Chelsea travel to a Swansea seemingly in the hands of former Barcelona playmaker, Michael Laudrup.
The weekend after sees Chelsea face Liverpool at home with Spurs travelling north to Manchester City in what could be a repeat of some of the greatest matches we’ve seen at the Etihad in recent years.
The gruelling North London derby under the new manager on November 17th. Chelsea will face Manchester City in late November as the calm before the advent storm takes place.
December 8th will be a large bookmark in many a Mancunian calendar as Sir Alex Ferguson takes his runners-up Manchester United to the champions, Manchester City’s stadium, the Etihad Stadium.
The Christmas period sees the usual smattering of fixtures splashed across nine days as four matches will be played. Through this period the champions, City face Sunderland, Norwich, Stoke and Reading as they looked to crawl into the New Year unscathed whilst United face Newcastle, Swansea, West Brom and Wigan.
New Year’s Day marks the fiery return fixture at Stamford Bridge and London derby between QPR and Chelsea. As the reality of the second half of the season dawns upon the clubs, City will travel to Arsenal with United welcoming their arch rivals Liverpool to Old Trafford on the same weekend.
The London derbies the weekend after sees QPR travelling to West Ham as Arsenal are entertained at Stamford Bridge by Chelsea.
Going into April, we presume that the big names from the previous season will be there or thereabouts. April opens with the firework of a Manchester derby at Old Trafford. Chelsea face consecutive matches against Tottenham and Liverpool to perhaps decide their title or 4th place fate whilst Tottenham won’t be happy to see Manchester City at White Hart Lane after last season’s 5-1 drubbing.
Chelsea, Swansea and West Brom isn’t the hardest three game run-in that Ferguson has had in his United tenure but City’s trips to Swansea and Reading, followed by a home match against Norwich causes potential upsets. The Liverpool derby could go a long way to deciding something in early May whilst Southampton’s trips to Spurs and Sunderland followed by a match at home to Stoke to end the season could be the knife in the back for their survival hopes.
On the final day of the season, Arsenal may have to fight for something at St. James’ Park whilst Chelsea face Everton at Stamford Bridge. West Ham and Reading could fight for 17th place perhaps whilst Tottenham entertain Sunderland and Liverpool close out their season to QPR.
I will attempt to cover most of the Premier League on my blog and hopefully it will be exciting right from the off into the close.