By Chris Wright
The fixture list for the 2012/13 Premier League season has been announced this morning and, as always with these things, we’re not actually allowed to post the calendar in full for piffling legal reasons – something to do with Communist spies, etc, etc.
Anyway, what we can do is ear-mark a few choice dates for you to jot down in your diaries – though please be wary that these dates are all subject to change as the season rolls on…
1. Reigning champions Manchester City get their title defense underway by welcoming newly-promoted Southampton to the Eithad on the opening day (Saturday 18th August), with games against Liverpool and QPR following swiftly.
2. Runners-up Manchester United start with a trip to Goodison to play Everton. If you recall, it was a bit of a doozy last time they met. Next up, United face Fulham at home followed by Southampton away.
3. Arsenal, who finished a fair way behind the Manchesters in third place last term, start with a home game against Sunderland before a couplet of away ties against Stoke City and Liverpool. Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea play Wigan away for starters.
4. The first Manchester Derby of the league season isn’t until Saturday 8th December at the Etihad.
5. Promoted Southampton have a hell of a start, playing last seasons’ Top 3 – Man City, Man Utd (1st September) and Arsenal (15th September) – inside their first four games. Welcome back lads! Fellow promotees Reading begin at home against Stoke while West Ham welcome Aston Villa.
6. The first Merseyside Derby of the season is penciled in for October 27th, with Everton at home.
7. Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool tenure begins with three unenviable home games, with Man City, Arsenal and Man Utd also showing up at Anfield on 25th September, 1st October and 22nd October respectively.
8. Europa League buddies Newcastle and managerless Tottenham play each other on the opening day.
9. The Boxing Day fixture list reads thusly: Arsenal vs West Ham, Aston Villa vs Tottenham, Everton vs Wigan, Fulham vs Southampton, Man Utd vs Newcastle, Norwich vs Chelsea, QPR vs West Brom, Reading vs Swansea, Stoke vs Liverpool, Sunderland vs Man City.
10. The potential decisive Final Day (May 19th) fixture list reads as follows: Chelsea vs Everton, Liverpool vs QPR, Man City vs Norwich, Newcastle vs Arsenal, Southampton vs Stoke, Swansea vs Fulham, Tottenham vs Sunderland, West Brom vs Man Utd, West Ham vs Reading, Wigan vs Aston Villa.
You can toddle over to the official Premier League site for a butcher’s at the full fixture lists.