Clarets get first bite at the Bridge
LONDON: Chelsea will open the defence of their Premier League title at home to Burnley when the season kicks off on the weekend of August 12-13.
The full list of fixtures was released yesterday with Antonio Conte’s side also slated for a follow-up game at Tottenham Hotspur, who will play all their home fixtures at Wembley while White Hart Lane is being redeveloped.
Manchester City travel to newly promoted Brighton and Hove Albion on the opening weekend, while Manchester United play West Ham United at Old Trafford.
Liverpool take on Watford, under the new management of Marco Silva, at Vicarage Road, while Spurs travel to Championship (second tier) champions Newcastle United.
The other Premier League newcomers, Huddersfield Town, will play their first top-flight game in 45 years at Crystal Palace, as Arsenal open at home to Leicester City .
Everton, who begin at home to Stoke City, face a testing opening to the campaign with games against Manchester City, Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United before the end of September.
The first weekend’s fixtures are completed by Swansea City’s visit to Southampton and Bournemouth’s trip to West Bromwich Albion. Manchester United’s first meeting with Liverpool, always one of the highlights of the season, will be at Anfield on October 14.
The first Manchester Derby will be at Old Trafford on December 9, the same weekend as the Merseyside derby at Anfield.
Huddersfield manager David Wagner will have a first competitive reunion with mentor Juergen Klopp at Anfield on October 28. However, his side face a daunting end to the season with their final four games including trips to Manchester City and Chelsea, plus Everton and Arsenal at home.
The festive programme is typically packed, with a full round of fixtures two days before Christmas. All the timings are subject to slight change because of TV scheduling. Spurs’ games face further problems because of conflicting demands at Wembley and the club immediately announced that their home game with Burnley on August 26 would have to be rescheduled because it clashes with the Rugby League Challenge Cup final. Meanwhile, the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) has warned that the proposed late evening Premier League matches could lead to “empty stands” as fans will struggle to attend games that are expected to start as late as 7.45pm GMT.
The changes were proposed to broadcasters and the league’s governing body as they plan to increase the number of games broadcast live from 168 to 190 from the 2019/20 season, according to a report in The Times. – Reuters
I included Quinton de Kock – an obvious choice, and wrote that: “It may be exaggerating to state that ‘as De Kock goes, so goes South Africa,’ but such is his importance to the team, that if he has a poor tournament, the side will struggle.”
De Kock didn’t have a good tournament, and I’m not sure why. This is not to bash the precocious wicket-keeper/batsman, but in trying to understand South Africa’s umpteenth failure at an ICC event, it’s worth weighing up one particular statistic as it pertains to De Kock.
Prior to the tournament, he had a strike rate ALL-ROUND PERFORMANCE: Pakistan’s Rumman Raees celebrates after taking the wicket of England’s Liam Plunkett in their ICC Champions Trophy semi-final encounter yesterday. Pakistan dominated the game and won by eight wickets.