Clarets get first bite at the Bridge

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

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.

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