The fixtures for the 2017/18 Premier League season have been revealed and there’s already a few key dates to watch out for.
Every team must play each other twice, of course, but as with so much in life timing is everything with a game during the congested Christmas period potentially having more riding on it than a fixture game played out in February.
Fortunately, loaded is on the ball (whey!) with a list of seven fixtures to keep a close eye on. Featuring clashes between the Premier League’s elite, relegation scraps with a few potential banana skins here’s our pick of the Premier League.
Opening Day: Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur
Newcastle’s return to the Premier League couldn’t get much tastier with an opening day home encounter with a Tottenham side out for revenge in the offing.
Rafa Benitez’s side battered Spurs 5-1 on the last day of the season two years ago, preventing Mauricio Pochettino’s team from finishing above Arsenal in the process. Tottenham will be out for revenge and eager to start their season, and potentially title challenge, with a bang.
August 19: Tottenham v Chelsea
Chelsea and Tottenham played out an absolutely barnstorming FA Cup semi-final last season at Wembley in what ranked among the games of the season and this fixture offers up an early test of both Spurs’ title credentials and how they might fare at their new, temporary, London home.
Spurs struggled for form at the venue in the Champions League and will face a stern test against a Blues side that will have started the season against relegation candidates Burnley.
September 23: Liverpool v Manchester United
The first meeting between Liverpool and Manchester United is always one worth making a note of, even if recent meetings between the two have been largely drab affairs.
That could change at Anfield though with Jurgen Klopp’s all-attacking Liverpool side potentially bolstered with the addition of Mohammed Salah and several other attacking talents in their ranks. With Jose Mourinho also under the pressure to bring attractive football back to Manchester United, it could amount to a more open, attacking, affair all round.
November 18: Arsenal v Spurs
The first North London derby is set for November and could serve as a clear indicator of whether Tottenham truly have usurped Arsenal as North London’s top team.
There’s no guarantee of that happening of course, with Arsenal competing in the Europa League that season and Spurs likely to be busy in the Champions League, meaning the Gunners could be the fresher of the two sides. Given the damaging effect their Champions League woes have had on previous campaigns, this could be Arsenal’s chance to redouble their efforts in the league.
Boxing Day: Manchester United v Chelsea
Another brilliantly busy afternoon of Boxing Day fixtures is in the offing with the Premier League offering up the enticing gift of Manchester United vs Chelsea at Old Trafford.
“The Mourinho Derby” provided plenty of memorable moments last season, from United giving a goal away straight from kick-off in a 4-0 defeat to the Special One lambasting Antonio Conte for celebrating too much.
United got their revenge with a 2-0 win later in the campaign and with a record that reads 13 wins, 5 draws and just 5 defeats in games against his former clubs, the Portuguese should not be underestimated.
New Year’s Day: Arsenal v Chelsea
New Year’s Day is shaping up to be a bumper day in the Premier League with both Spurs v Swansea and Everton v Manchester United in the offing.
The real highlight, however, comes with Chelsea’s visit to the Emirates. Arsenal may have finished well off the Blues in the league but they beat them 3-0 at home last term and exorcised a fair few big game demons with a 2-1 win over Antonio Conte’s team in the FA Cup. The perfect accompaniment to the inevitable New Year’s Day hangover.
April 28: Manchester United vs Arsenal
Manchester United host Wenger’s Arsenal on April 28 in one of the biggest fixtures of the second half of the season. With just two games remaining for both sides after this one, it could also be a key battle in the race for the Champions League qualification places or perhaps even the title. Wenger vs old enemy Jose Mourninho is always pure box office, and the Arsenal boss will be doing everything to prove he’s not a specialist in failure.
May 5: Brighton vs Manchester United
Premier League new boys Brighton will be looking forward to their game against United on May 5 more than any other. Why? Well, Brighton played United in the 1983 FA Cup final, and even forced a replay before being battered 4-0. Fans and players will be well up for their game against Mourinho’s men, especially given they could be fighting for their Premier League lives by then. This one has potential banana skin written all over it.
April 7: Everton v Liverpool
Everton’s top four ambitions could be put to the test in this Merseyside Derby encounter against a Liverpool side that could yet be chasing that elusive Premier League title at this point in the season.
While the Reds claimed a 1-0 victory the last time these two sides met in the league, Merseyside derbies have been surprisingly high scoring affairs of late and this could well prove to be the case when these two meet at a crucial juncture in the campaign.