The Premier League fixtures for 2019-20 were announced this morning.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the stories behind the schedule.
Only a point separated the top two last season and it could be all about fine margins again in 2019-20. If that is the case, Manchester City seem to have been dealt a kinder hand, with a home game against Tottenham appearing to be the most challenging fixture in their first and last six games. In contrast, Liverpool have Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle in their first six – and finish against the trio.
Domestic fixtures following European action have often proved to be a
contentious subject for frustrated Premier League managers trying to balance the demands of different competitions. Champions League winners Liverpool are the main beneficiaries next season, with an Anfield Premier League contest scheduled to follow five of their six group games – last season it was all six. None of England’s other European qualifiers have done so well, with Spurs given home help after only two of their six Champions League games.
The fixture list has clustered a lot of Manchester United’s most winnable matches together, including a five-match run beginning in late October and a string of four games from late March which immediately follows their last meeting with a fellow ‘big six’ side – expect a few peaks in their form and a potential late surge up the table.
The Magpies have lost four of their last five opening day Premier League fixtures, drawing the other, and another slow start could be on the cards this time with five of their first nine games against last season’s top six. Rafael Benitez’s men also have City, Spurs and Liverpool in their final five matches.
Amazon looks poised for an exciting debut season, after the Premier League announced last week that the online retail giant would show 20 matches in each of the the next three campaigns – one full Bank Holiday round of games and one further midweek schedule. The first midweek action takes place in the first week of December – with Manchester United’s match against Tottenham and the Merseyside derby at Anfield looking sure to feature.