The 2014/15 Premier League fixtures have been released and while last season Manchester United were fuming about the tough start to the season they had, this time it is the blue side of Manchester that is complaining.
The first five matches for Manchester City are Newcastle (A), Liverpool (H), Stoke (H), Arsenal (A) and Chelsea (H). The good news is that three of the five matches are home, but to play the three other sides that qualified for the Champions League in your opening five games is brutal, especially when so many players are involved in the World Cup and will have a shortened preseason.
One of Liverpool’s signings this summer has been Southampton striker Rickie Lambert and his new club will meet his old club at Anfield in the opening weekend.
In stark contrast to the fixtures that his predecessor David Moyes faced last season, new Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has been handed a much more inviting start to the season. United open up at home to Swansea City on August 16 before two away fixtures at Sunderland and Burnley before a home game against Queens Park Rangers on September 13. United don’t actually face a potential title rival until the end of October when they host Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.
The weekend of the 27 and 28 September provides an exciting round of fixtures with both the Merseyside and north London derbies taking place at Anfield and Emirates Stadium respectively, while Arsenal will face their former captain Cesc Fabregas, at Chelsea, the following weekend.
An action-packed schedule will take in four fixtures over 12 days of the Christmas period. Manchester United warm up for the festive season with a home match against traditional rivals Liverpool on 13 December. They then travel to Aston Villa on the weekend of 20 December before hosting Newcastle on Boxing Day and visiting Spurs on 28 December. Chelsea take on West Ham on 26 December, when Arsenal host a local derby with Queens Park Rangers, while West Ham and Arsenal will meet at the Boleyn Ground two days later.