Manchester City’s title defence starts at Arsenal
City begin title defence at the Emirates while Liverpool face awkward September run
Manchester City will start their Premier League title defence at Arsenal. The 2018-19 fixtures, announced yesterday, handed Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking team an Emirates Stadium opener on the weekend of 11-12 August – a fixture that will be Unai Emery’s first competitive match as the Arsenal manager.
City, who amassed 100 points and 106 goals en route to finishing 19 points clear of Manchester United in 2017-18, do not face another side from last season’s top six until the trip to Liverpool in October. Games against the newly promoted trio of Wolves, Cardiff and Fulham are part of a sequence that also includes Huddersfield, Newcastle and Brighton – the three teams who came up in 2017.
It is a similar story for Manchester United, who begin at home to Leicester. The 2017-18 runners-up have Tottenham at home in their third game, with Brighton, Burnley, Watford, Wolves, West Ham and Newcastle their other early-season opponents.
Liverpool start at home to West Ham, before playing Crystal Palace, Brighton and Leicester, but Jürgen Klopp’s side have a stiff return from the first international break, facing Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City in a run of four games that also includes the visit of Southampton.
Tottenham start their campaign at Newcastle for the second successive year before hosting Fulham at Wembley on 18 August. Their new £850m stadium at White Hart Lane will not be ready until the 15 September fixture against Liverpool.
Arsenal face a tough first two games without Arsène Wenger. After hosting the champions, they are at Chelsea for a London derby. The Blues, meanwhile, travel to Huddersfield on the opening day and, after the trip to Arsenal, face Newcastle, Bournemouth and Cardiff.
The promoted sides were spared a daunting start to the season – although all face one of the top six in their opening four matches. The Championship title winners, Wolves, have a home opener against Everton, before trips to Leicester and West Ham sandwich the visit of Manchester City to Molineux.
Cardiff start at Bournemouth but soon host Arsenal, while Fulham begin at home to Crystal Palace, before the trip to Spurs.
It’s West Ham first for Jürgen Klopp