Friday 19 January 2018

Five talking points about the new Premier League fixtures

Jose Mourinho is back in the Premier League
Jose Mourinho is back in the Premier League

The Premier League fixtures were announced this morning.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the talking points.


New Manchester bosses Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho will not have to wait long for their first taste of a derby, with Guardiola's City travelling to Old Trafford on September 10. Before that, London rivals Chelsea and West Ham meet at Stamford Bridge on the opening day, with north-east pair Sunderland and Middlesbrough shaping up on the second weekend. Arsenal and Tottenham must wait a little longer - they are slated to meet on November 5 - while Liverpool and Everton first clash on December 17 at Christmas at Goodison Park.


If Chelsea are still in the running for the title with three games remaining, new boss Antonio Conte might be heartened by their run-in. The Blues have home games against newly-promoted Middlesbrough and perennial strugglers Sunderland, with a trip to West Brom sandwiched in between.


Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce said earlier this year it was "diabolical" top-flight clubs had Premier League fixtures the Tuesday and Wednesday after third-round weekend. There is no midweek programme this year - and the Black Cats are at home before and after.


When the fixtures come out, many fans check their first day, Boxing Day and last day opponents. Sunderland fans may not like what they see - they are at City, United and Chelsea respectively. Four other teams are also on the road in these three rounds, Stoke, Tottenham, West Brom and West Ham. In contrast, five teams get lucky with three home games - Arsenal, Chelsea, Burnley, Hull and Southampton.


Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said the biggest challenge facing Guardiola would be adapting to the busiest fixture list in the world. The 2016/17 campaign finishes a week later than it did this year because there is no European Championship - but clubs still face three games in a week between December 26 and January 2.

Press Association

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