With the dust barely settled on Chelsea’s Premier League title triumph, the fixtures for the 2017/18 season have been released, with fans spending much of the past twenty-four hours making plans for the forthcoming campaign.
The key areas of interest include the season’s opener and finale, the Christmas period and of course the ‘heavyweight clashes’, and whilst there aren’t any of the aforementioned on day one there are certainly some intriguing match-ups.
The champions begin the defence of their crown with a home match against Burnley, who last season beat the odds to comfortably retain their top flight status.
Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to go one better after finishing as runners-up and face a tricky trip to Championship winners Newcastle United while Premier League newcomers Brighton and Hove Albion and Hudderfield Town face Manchester City and Crystal Palace respectively.
Marco Silva begins his tenure as Watford manager with the visit of Liverpool who themselves are preparing for a season back in the Champions League, as are Europa League winners Manchester United, who begin with a home game against West Ham United.
Having finished outside of the top four for the first time in two decades, Arsenal start the season by hosting 2016 champions Leicester City while elsewhere Everton welcome Stoke City to Goodison Park, Southampton and Swansea City face off at St Mary’s and Bournemouth travel to West Bromwich Albion.
Everton’s start appears to be the toughest with the Toffees facing four of last season’s top six in their opening five fixtures while Manchester United have, on paper at least a more straight forward start with four games against sides who finished in the bottom half.
Fans won’t have long to wait before a clash between two of England’s Champions League representatives with match-day two seeing Chelsea make the short trip to Wembley to face Spurs, in what will be their first league game at their temporary home.
Despite winning a record thirty games on route to the championship last season, Antonio Conte’s Blues are only second favourites to lift the trophy this time around with Manchester City leading the market at 15/8.
The first big derby of the season comes on November 18th as Arsenal face Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium with the return fixture set to be played on February 10th while the Manchester sides and Merseyside outfits meet on the same weekend.
City face United at Old Trafford on December 9th – the same day Liverpool host Everton with the reverse games played on April 7th.
Premier League Opening Day fixtures:
Arsenal vs. Leicester City
Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Manchester City
Chelsea vs. Burnley
Crystal Palace vs. Huddersfield Town
Everton vs. Stoke City
Manchester United vs. West Ham United
Newcastle United vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Southampton vs. Swansea City
Watford vs. Liverpool
West Bromwich Albion vs. Bournemouth
All fixtures to be played on the weekend of August 12/13.
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