Wednesday 13 December 2017

Seven talking points about the 2017/18 Premier League fixtures

Arsene Wenger faces five Premier League away games after Europa League action
Arsene Wenger faces five Premier League away games after Europa League action

The Premier League fixtures for 2017/18 were announced this morning.

Here, Press Association Sport's Simon Lovell takes a look at some of the talking points.


Tottenham fans will have hoped for an appealing start to life at Wembley - the venue for their home matches next season as their new stadium is being built - and Chelsea should fit the bill nicely. Mauricio Pochettino's first Premier League match at the national stadium will be against the only team to finish above them last season.


Managers new to the Premier League have admitted that adapting to the busiest fixture list in the world is one of the biggest challenges to face them. The World Cup in Russia means things will be tougher, not easier, with the 2017/18 campaign finishing a week earlier and clubs facing four games in 10 days between December 23 and January 1.


Arsene Wenger expressed his frustration at facing away trips in the Premier League after gruelling European jaunts. The 2017/18 domestic calendar does him few favours, with just one of Arsenal's six Europa League ties followed by a Premier League home game. In contrast, five out of Tottenham's six Champions League games are followed by a home game.


The weekends of December 9/10 and April 7/8 are big ones in the north-west, with red and blue meeting in two cities. Liverpool host Everton at Anfield, while the first Manchester derby of the season sees United and City meet at Old Trafford. The returns are due to take place four months later.


Huddersfield's chances of hitting the ground running may be helped by the fact they do not have any of the big guns in their first six games. However, the back end of the season is not quite as appealing. The Terriers, back among English football's big boys for the first time in 45 years, face Chelsea, Everton, Manchester City and Arsenal in an intimidating run-in.


Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Newcastle are the only three teams to start and finish at home and have a Boxing Day clash in fron t of their own fans. In contrast, Manchester City, Leicester and Stoke are away in all three rounds.


Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce said early last year it was ''diabolical'' top-flight clubs had fixtures the Tuesday and Wednesday after FA Cup third-round weekend. The Premier League appeared to listen, as there was no midweek league programme earlier this year - and although Allardyce is no longer a top-flight manager, those who are will be pleased to see the situation is unchanged in 2018.

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