Chelsea To Defend League Title Against Burnley
The countdown to the new season of the English Premier League has begun. The EPL 2017/18 fixtures were released on Wednesday morning on the Premier League website.
The new season’s fixtures show Antonio Conte’s team will be defending their title against Burnley at Stamford Bridge on the weekend of August 12/13, 2017.
This would be the second time in recent years the Blues are playing their opening game for the season against the Clarets, having won 3-1 at Turf Moor in 2014/15.
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That game against Burnley is followed by their first London derby of the campaign, away against Tottenham Hotspur, as the top two from last season meet. With the north London side playing their home matches at Wembley during 2017/18.
According to Chelsea FC, they are hoping for a similar result to the last meeting between the teams at the national stadium. The last encounter between Chelsea and Spurs was the FA Cup semi-final where Chelsea defeated Spurs with a 4-2 win in April. The Blues have won the past three matches against Tottenham at Wembley.
Arsene Wenger’s side finished outside the top four for the first time under the Frenchman last season, and will now feel the full force of a competition that, while won by Manchester United last season, has often directly impacted on a club’s league performance. Arsenal will be visited by the 2016 league champions Leicester on August 12.
Arsenal FC also ended their season on a high, winning the FA Cup at Wembley over Chelsea. But their Premier League campaign was a huge disappointment.
Arsene Wenger’s side could only manage fifth place, falling out of the top-four for the first time in 21 years.
Manchester United failed to mount a title challenge last season but eventually struggled to keep pace with the top four. That was a similar story for Liverpool as they reached the final the previous year.
Now the Gunners face similar difficulties and have received little help with next season’s fixtures.
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Other EPL 2017/18 fixtures, Runners-up Tottenham starts away from home for the seventh successive season. The trip to newly-promoted Newcastle is a repeat of the 2012/13 opener, which the Magpies won 2-1.
Tottenham is eyeing their first-ever Premier League title after coming so close two seasons running and they’ll hope it is third time lucky beginning with Newcastle away on the opening weekend.
Mauricio Pochettino is the key man for Spurs and keeping their boss is imperative to overcome the disadvantage of playing an entire campaign at Wembley Stadium.
New signings will be key too, along with players developing further, as their rivals aim to spend considerably more than them
Brighton host Manchester City in their opening game. In reaction to the EPL 2017/18 fixtures, Brighton Club Ambassador Alan Mullery said:
“Many years ago I was the last manager to take them up and we drew Arsenal at home on the first day and we got stuffed 4-0. It’s changed so much now because you’ve got so many good sides in the Premier League and you’ve got to fight, you’ve got to scrap, you’ve got to chase, you’ve got to win as many games as you possibly can at the start of the season.
Because if you lose four or five games you are on a downward trend and that’s very difficult. Its got to be a big plus for the players that they are going to come up against some of the best players in the world.”
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Other Premier League newcomers, Huddersfield, will be visiting Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park London.
More so, Manchester United will begin at home and will be hosting West Ham, while Liverpool goes to Watford.
Everton host Stoke, Southampton face Swansea and West Brom are at home to Bournemouth in the other opening day matches.
To view, the complete EPL 2017/18 fixtures, click here
More to come