The Premier League fixture list for the 2019/20 season has been announced, and all 20 teams now know when and where they will be facing each other.
Manchester City will begin their title defence against West Ham United at the London Stadium, but not until after the season kicks off with a clash between Liverpool and Norwich City at Anfield.
The other newly-promoted clubs, Aston Villa and Sheffield United, travel to Tottenham and Bournemouth respectively, while Manchester United’s encounter with Chelsea is the headline game of the opening weekend.
But it isn’t just about the first round of fixtures. Throughout the campaign, there will be twists and turns due to certain games falling at certain times, particularly towards the end of the season.
So we’ve had a look at the entire fixture list and put together some early thoughts as to who the 2019/20 fixture list appears to have smiled most kindly upon, and those most likely experiencing a sudden affinity with Sam Allardyce right now.
I don’t know who does the fixtures, but he needs sacking really.
– Sam Allardyce, 2017
Winner: Manchester City
Pep Guardiola’s side will be aiming to retain the title once again next season, and their run-in will give them the best possible opportunity to do so.
In their final three matches, Manchester City face Bournemouth at home, Norwich away and Watford at home, three winnable games that could end up keeping the trophy at the Etihad. The chances of that happening are increased by Liverpool’s run-in, which is undeniably more difficult.
The Reds will go up against Arsenal away, Chelsea at home and Newcastle away in their last three matches. They took seven points from nine in those fixtures last term, but Newcastle almost stole a point at St James’ Park and will prove tough to beat again, while Arsenal and Chelsea are likely to be stronger.
Loser: Chelsea’s new manager
If reports are to be believed, Maurizio Sarri is about to leave Chelsea for Juventus. The Blues will be on the hunt for a new manager, and whoever that is faces a baptism of fire.
Chelsea travel to Manchester United in their very first game. It’s undoubtedly the toughest opening day fixture for any of the top six. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be determined to get off to a winning start in front of an expectant Old Trafford crowd; the Red Devils will certainly be the favourites.
Fortunately for Chelsea’s new man in the dugout – or Sarri if he decides to stay – the Londoners have been handed two much fairer follow-up fixtures against Leicester at home and Norwich away. That said, starting badly at Old Trafford could affect the team’s confidence going into those games.
Winner: Tottenham fans
Tottenham supporters had to wait for what felt like forever to move into their new stadium after spending almost two full seasons at Wembley. But the wait to play a home game on the opening weekend of a Premier League campaign has been even longer.
Indeed, Spurs have started with an away match in each of the last eight seasons but will now finally begin a Premier League season at home, welcoming Aston Villa to north London. Mauricio Pochettino’s men ran out 3-1 winners at White Hart Lane the last time this fixture took place and will expect another win this time around.
April’s 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the stadium’s first-ever match was a showcase event, and Tottenham will aim to reward their fans’ patience with another worthwhile day out on August 10th.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
Arsenal’s main aim for 2018/19 is a return to the top four. It’s a big ask given the competition they face, but with the right signings, the Gunners will realistically be able to challenge their ‘big six’ rivals. However, making a good start looks like a tall order.
Unai Emery’s side go up against Newcastle on the opening day, which is as difficult as it is winnable. But their first two away matches are at Liverpool and Tottenham, two locations at which they have struggled to pick up points in recent years.
At least Arsenal will be getting those fixtures out of the way, and a home game against Burnley in between – again, tough but beatable – will give them the opportunity to pick up some much needed early points. Overall, though, Emery will be rueing his luck.
Winner: Sheffield United
Sheffield United are expected to be scrapping towards the bottom of the Premier League table in 2019/20. That said, the usefulness of a good start to the season shouldn’t be underestimated, and the Blades have been handed the chance to begin reasonably well.
Unlike their fellow promoted clubs, Norwich and Aston Villa, the Yorkshire side have avoided encounters with the top six in their opening three fixtures. They start the campaign against Bournemouth away before home games against Crystal Palace and Leicester.
Villa and Norwich travel to Tottenham and Liverpool on the opening weekend, so Chris Wilder’s men will be looking to open up an early gap on their relegation rivals. The fact they face only one of the top six, Chelsea, in their final six matches could also help Sheffield United remain in the top flight.
Loser: Norwich City
Canaries boss Daniel Farke will be a little jealous of his Sheffield United counterpart Wilder. In fact, Farke will be envious of just about every other manager in the Premier League; nobody else has to start the season with a trip to Liverpool, where the Merseysiders have just gone an entire campaign unbeaten.
Norwich couldn’t have asked for a more difficult opener, especially considering they face Chelsea at Carrow Road in their third match. The game in between, when they play Newcastle at home, all of a sudden looks very important if they are to pick up early points.
The new year schedule looks difficult for Norwich, too. They play Tottenham at home on December 28th and travel to Manchester Untied on January 11th. Again, the middle game in a tricky trio – this time against Crystal Palace at home – could be pivotal if Norwich are to avoid a dangerous run of defeats.
Loser: West Ham’s opening day luck
It’s safe to say West Ham haven’t had the luck of the draw from the fixture computer in recent years. The Londoners have been pitted up against each of the Premier League’s ‘big six’ sides on the opening day of the last six seasons after being given Manchester City at home this time.
Of the other five games, West Ham have lost four, going down to Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool away, and losing to Tottenham at home. The only win in that run came against Arsenal at the Emirates in 2015/16.
That record isn’t likely to improve when Manchester City come to town on August 10th. The Citizens have beaten West Ham on four occasions at the London Stadium, more times than any other team. Manuel Pellegrini will hope to avoid another embarrassment against his former club.