`

Premier League: Champion test for new Gunners chief Unai Emery

Champions: Manchester City have an opening day encounter against Arsenal.
Champions: Manchester City have an opening day encounter against Arsenal.
0
Have your say

Premier League champions Manchester City will start their title defence at Arsenal.

The 2018-19 fixtures handed Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking team an Emirates Stadium opener on the weekend of August 11-12 - a match which will also mark the Premier League bow of the Gunners’ new Spanish manager Unai Emery.

City, who amassed 100 points and 106 goals en route to finishing 19 points clear of Manchester United in 2017-18, do not face another top six side until the trip to Liverpool in October.

Games against promoted trio Wolves, Cardiff and Fulham are part of a sequence which also includes Huddersfield, Newcastle and Brighton - the three teams who came up the previous season.

It is a similar story for neighbours United, who begin at home to Leicester. The 2017-18 runners-up have Tottenham at home in their third game, with Brighton, Burnley, Watford, Wolves, West Ham and Newcastle are their other early season opponents.

Liverpool’s start appears more challenging. After hosting West Ham, Jurgen Klopp’s men face Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City in a run which also includes Crystal Palace, Brighton, Leicester and Southampton.

Tottenham will play their first home game of the 2018-19 Premier League season against Fulham at Wembley.

Spurs were hoping to be in their new stadium for the start of the new campaign but work has overrun, meaning they will return to the national stadium for the London derby against the promoted Cottagers on August 18.

The club have confirmed that the first game at their rebuilt home will be against Liverpool on September 15.

Arsenal face a tough first two games without Arsene Wenger. After the Gunners host the champions, the team now managed by Emery are at Chelsea.

Antonio Conte’s Blues travel to Huddersfield on the opening day and after the trip to Arsenal come Newcastle, Bournemouth, Cardiff, West Ham, Liverpool and Southampton.

The promoted sides were all spared a daunting sequence of games to start the season - although all face one of the ‘big six’ in their opening four matches.

Championship-winning Wolves have a home opener against Everton, before trips to Leicester and West Ham sandwich the visit of Manchester City to Molineux.

Cardiff start at Bournemouth and have Newcastle at home and Huddersfield away, before the visit of Arsenal.

Fulham, who booked their place in the top flight with victory over Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final, begin at home to Crystal Palace, before the trip to Spurs is followed by Burnley at home and Brighton away.

The other first day fixtures see Southampton host Burnley and Watford take on Brighton at Vicarage Road.

Among the final round of matches, scheduled for May 12, Manchester City are at Brighton - where they started last season - while Cardiff and Wolves are at Manchester United and Liverpool, respectively.

Opening weekend fixtures:

Bournemouth v Cardiff City

Arsenal v Manchester City

Fulham v Crystal Palace

Huddersfield Town v Chelsea

Liverpool v West Ham United

Manchester United v Leicester City

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur

Southampton v Burnley

Watford v Brighton

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton