It’s London V Manchester on Premier League first weekend

Irons will host the champions; Blues away at United

The fixture lists for the upcoming Premier League season have been announced and the first pairings have produced a couple of stand-out games for London teams.

In the lunchtime kick-off on the first Saturday West Ham will host Manchester City. Not exactly an easy start, but at least the Irons will have home advantage. We would be confident that many supporters would have preferred to delay such a big clash for a few weeks. But, someone has to play them!

The late afternoon match the following day will see Manchester United facing Chelsea at Old Trafford. Chelsea drew the corresponding fixture at the tail-end of last season to virtually seal their place in next season’s Champions League by finishing fourth though their win in the Europa League would also have done the trick.

Again, a tough first day fixture for both. Based on last season’s final placings this game represents the toughest opening weekend pairing.

But what about the other London top flight teams?

At 3pm on the Saturday Palace will face Everton. Both teams finished last season well so this is a clash Palace fans should relish. 

Tottenham are at home in the early evening televised game on the opening Saturday against Aston Villa who were promoted through the play-offs. It’s a fixture that should underline to the Villains that they are back in the big time.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 16: Isaac Hayden of Newcastle United tackles Alex Iwobi of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on December 16, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

And Arsenal face a difficult long haul north to play Newcastle in the 2pm fixture on the opening Sunday.

As was the case last season there will be a match on the Friday evening in which Championship winners Norwich will travel to Champions League winners, Liverpool.

Perhaps the “easiest” of the fixtures for the promoted sides is the one facing Sheffield United. And even that is not so easy. They will travel to the south coast to face Bournemouth.

An all-Midlands clash involves Leicester and Wolves.

And, finally, Watford will take on Brighton who struggled to secure their place in the top flight last time. It will be the first league game in the Premiership for Brighton head coach Graham Potter who replaced ex-Spurs favourite Chris Houghton. Potter made his name in management with Swedish side Ostersund before joining Swansea last June. 

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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