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Swans opener for champions Chelsea


Chelsea's title defence starts at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea's title defence starts at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea's title defence starts at Stamford Bridge

Champions Chelsea will start the defence of their Barclays Premier League title against Swansea.

Jose Mourinho's men finished eight points clear at the top last season and open at Stamford Bridge against Garry Monk's side on August 8.

Manchester United's home game with Tottenham is the stand-out clash of the opening weekend, though, after the 2015/16 fixtures were released on Wednesday.

Liverpool have an instant chance to banish memories of their 6-1 drubbing at Stoke on the final day of last season when they return to the Britannia on day one of the new campaign.

Manchester City start at West Brom while Arsenal kick-off against new West Ham boss Slaven Bilic at the Emirates, and Hector Bellerin wants a strong start after last season's slow opening cost the Gunners in the title race.

"We didn't do that great at the beginning of last season but we showed by the end how we can perform, that we have great players and we were really doing well as a team. So we just need to keep that momentum up for the new season and start on the right foot," he told arsenal.com

"It will be really important to start strong, to let people know that we have the same way of playing last season and can get the same results."

Elsewhere, Steve McClaren takes charge of Newcastle after joining last week with the Magpies hosting Southampton on the opening day.

"Last week I was appointed head coach and that was a great moment, but when you get the fixtures through it really hits home and creates that extra buzz and excitement," the former Derby head coach told nufc.co.uk.

"We have a home game up first, which is always good.

"You want to test yourself against the best straight away, especially if you are ready.

"The first four are key. Then the international break comes along, so you can have a breather and a break and have a look at things. But to have last season's top four inside those opening couple of months is going to be a real test, but one we will relish."

Leicester host Sunderland while play-off winners Norwich welcome Crystal Palace and boss Alex Neil, who signed a new contract with the Canaries on Tuesday, is eyeing early points.

"We haven't got any of the 'big boys', if you like, in the first few games. Obviously you want to start the season and try to get points on the board as early as you can," he told the club's official site.

"Certainly looking at the fixtures it gives us a good opportunity to do that, but as we know every game at this level will be tough."

Newly-promoted Watford go to Everton and new manager Quique Flores is eager to start.

"Seeing the Premier League fixtures and knowing I will be part of this with Watford makes me want the start of the season to be here tomorrow," he told the club's official site.

"I am a coach who has worked in the Europa League final and the Madrid derby, but I don't think I felt like this before a season has started."

Last season's Sky Bet Championship winners Bournemouth welcome Aston Villa in their first ever Premier League game.

Once the opening weekend is out of the way Chelsea head to Manchester City for an early-season blockbuster, followed by clashes at West Brom and at home to Crystal Palace.

City also face Everton (away) and Watford (home), with Arsenal taking in Palace (away), Liverpool (home) and Newcastle (away) after their opener.

The first Manchester derby of the season comes at Old Trafford on October 24 and United face Chelsea in a tasty-looking festive clash on December 28.

McClaren's first taste of the north-east rivalry with Sunderland will come at home on October 24, the first Merseyside derby is set for October 3 at Anfield, with Arsenal and Tottenham facing off on November 7.

Bournemouth and their 11,700-capacity stadium will have December 12 (Manchester United), February 6 (Arsenal), April 2 (Manchester City), April 16 (Liverpool) and April 23 (Chelsea) ringed on the calendar.

PA Media