Manchester City will start the defence of their Premier League title away to Tottenham after the fixtures for the 2021-22 season were unveiled.
City are among the sides who want to sign the Spurs striker Harry Kane, throwing up the tantalising possibility that the England captain could line up against the north London club on the opening weekend. Pep Guardiola’s side won the division by 12 points ahead of Manchester United, who open against their old foes Leeds at Old Trafford.
Elsewhere on the weekend of 14 August, Brentford begin life back in the top flight for the first time in 75 years with a derby at home to Arsenal, and the Championship winners Norwich entertain Liverpool.
The Champions League winners Chelsea host Crystal Palace, and Everton, another side looking for a head coach, are at home to Southampton, with Leicester facing Wolves at the King Power Stadium. Watford, the third promoted side, take on Aston Villa at Vicarage Road, Brighton visit Burnley and West Ham are away to Newcastle.
The Premier League concludes on 22 May with Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea at home against Villa, Wolves and Watford respectively, while Manchester United are at Crystal Palace.
There are a number of early meetings between the ‘big six’, with the weekend of 25 September seeing a repeat of the Champions League final when Manchester City travel to Chelsea. Arsenal also host Spurs on matchday six. Their second meeting occurs on 15 January.
Matchday seven, the weekend of 2 October, is the first meeting between the most recent Premier League winners, with Anfield the scene for the latest instalment of Jürgen Klopp v Guardiola, and on 23 October Liverpool visit Manchester United.
Two weeks later brings the first Manchester derby of the campaign at Old Trafford, and Manchester City host Chelsea in one of the opening matches of 2022 (15 January). City face Manchester United in the return on the weekend of 5 March. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men travel to Anfield on 19 March and Liverpool’s trip to the Etihad Stadium on 9 April, matchday 32, could be key in the title battle.
All fixtures are subject to change for TV coverage. Currently there are only four rounds of midweek fixtures, three of them in December.
On the prospect of capacity crowds, the league said: “The Premier League and its clubs are committed to the ambition of having full stadiums, including away supporters, from the start of the season, and will continue to work closely with government and all relevant authorities, ensuring operational plans are in place ready to safely welcome supporters back to stadiums in August.”
Premier League opening fixtures: Brentford v Arsenal; Burnley v Brighton; Chelsea v Crystal Palace; Everton v Southampton; Leicester City v Wolves; Manchester United v Leeds; Newcastle v West Ham; Norwich City v Liverpool; Spurs v Manchester City; Watford v Aston Villa.
Source: The Guardian