Chelsea will start its defence of the English Premier League title against promoted West Brom on August 14 while there are some tantalising first round matches to have us eagerly anticipating the 2010-11 season kick-off.
Despite being two months out and in the middle of the World Cup in South Africa, the thought of Liverpool v Arsenal and Tottenham v Manchester City on opening day has me marking the calendar and counting down the days.
The Reds face a major challenge as they start their new life without manager Rafael Benitez against last year’s third-place finishers Arsenal. Who else will leave Anfield this summer – will Javier Mascherano follow Benitez to Inter Milan or will skipper Steven Gerrard drop a bombshell and head to Real Madrid? The Gunners will be keen to keep Cesc Fabregas from going to Barcelona and get their campaign off to a perfect start with an away win over Liverpool.
Tottenham pipped Manchester City to fourth spot and a Champions League berth last season by three points. It’s likely to be another tight race for that highly sought after spot so this match will feature plenty of fireworks and assure the new term gets off with a bang.
Last year’s runner-up Manchester United gets things under way at home against Newcastle United, promoted back to the Premier League after one season down. The Red Devils, who trailed the Chelsea by a single point last season, will first meet the Blues on December 18 and then host their rivals at Old Trafford on May 7.
Saturday, August 14 fixtures: Aston Villa v West Ham, Blackburn v Everton, Blackpool v Wigan, Bolton v Fulham, Chelsea v West Brom, Liverpool v Arsenal, Man Utd v Newcastle, Sunderland v Birmingham, Tottenham v Man City, Wolverhampton v Stoke