In Depth

Premier League fixtures: Easy run-ins for Spurs and Man City

Man United have relatively painless start to season but Arsenal could collapse in February

The Premier League fixtures for next season have been announced, with newly promoted Brighton facing Manchester City on the opening day, and champions Chelsea at home to Burnley. 

But, as fans pore over the fixtures what are the main conclusions to be drawn?

Good start for Man Utd

Jose Mourinho had reason to smile after the fixtures were announced. Not only are most of United's post-European matches at home, they also have a relatively kind start to the season.

Their first major away match is not until 14 October when they face Liverpool at Anfield. Before that they face West Ham (H), Swansea (A), Leicester City (H), Stoke City (A), Everton (H), Southampton (A) and Crystal Palace (H)

Tough start for Spurs

Spurs played their European games at Wembley last season and struggled. They will have to adapt to their temporary home next season if they want to challenge for the title. Unfortunately, their first home game is against champions Chelsea on 19 August.

The last time the two teams played at the national stadium was in April when Chelsea won their FA Cup semi final 4-2.

To make matters worse, Spurs's second scheduled home game against Burnley on 26 August clashes with the rugby league Challenge Cup final.

West Ham away until September

Hammers season ticket holders will have to wait for a few weeks to watch their team in action at home next season.

"West Ham will be unable to play their first scheduled home game of the season against Southampton on 19 August because the London Stadium will not be ready after hosting this summer's World Athletics Championships," reports The Guardian

"One possibility is that the Southampton fixture will be reversed, with Slaven Bilic's side scheduled to visit St Mary's on 31 March, meaning that West Ham would play their first three games away from home. Liverpool had a similar arrangement last season because of delays in the expansion of a stand at Anfield."

Arsenal in February

One of the Premier League's best-loved traditions (outside Islington) is Arsenal's annual meltdown in February. It's the month when "hope is abandoned and replaced with Wenger Out banners", says the Daily Telegraph

This year there is no Champions League football to derail them, but the fixture computer has made up for that by pitting the Gunners against Everton, Spurs and Man City.

The title run-in

There are some potentially pivotal matches in April and May that could have a bearing on the title. 

On 7 April, Liverpool must travel to Everton, while Manchester City will host United in two massive derby matches. A week later, Spurs will play host to City. 

On 28 April, Arsenal are playing Manchester United at Old Trafford and on 5 May, the penultimate weekend of the season, there's the small matter of Chelsea vs Liverpool.

None of last season's top seven will face each other on the final weekend of the season, however. Of the leading contenders Spurs and Man City have the easiest-looking run-ins. 

Relegation woes

Newly promoted Brighton and Huddersfield won't want to be in the bottom three heading into the final weeks of the season. 

"Brighton play Spurs home, Burnley away, Man Utd home and then Liverpool away in their final four games," says the Telegraph. "And if you thought that was difficult, look at the state of Huddersfield's run-in."

They face Chelsea away, Everton at home, Man City away and then Arsenal at home on the final day.

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