LONDON, June 14 — Arsenal’s new manager Unai Emery faces a baptism of fire after the Gunners were handed an opening day fixture at home to Premier League champions Manchester City.
Emery, Arsenal’s first new manager since Arsene Wenger took charge in 1996, will then travel to London rivals Chelsea on the second weekend of the season.
Liverpool, who will look to build on their Champions League final appearance, open their campaign at home to West Ham United in what will be manager Manuel Pellegrini’s first competitive game in charge of the London side.
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, a distant runners-up to City last season, start at home to Leicester City while FA Cup winners Chelsea are away to Huddersfield Town.
Tottenham Hotspur, who finished third, have confirmed that their first home fixture on the second week of the season against newly-promoted Fulham will be held at Wembley.
The north London club say their first game in their new stadium will be against Liverpool on the weekend of Sept 15-16.
Tottenham played all their home games at Wembley last season while their new 62,000-seater stadium was being constructed but work is still ongoing and the club has sought permission to return to the national stadium for one game.
“As you will note there is a home fixture scheduled for the weekend of 18/19 August 2018 and this match will be played as a home fixture at Wembley Stadium,” the club’s website said.
“It was always our intention to seek permission to play the first few games away. In discussions with our coaching staff the preference was to break what would otherwise have been a continuous run of away games with one game at what was effectively our ‘home’ stadium last season.”
Tottenham are away to Newcastle United on the opening weekend on Aug 11-12.
Championship winners Wolverhampton Wanderers will mark their return to the top division for the first time since 2012 against Marco Silva’s Everton at Molineux.
Cardiff City, automatically promoted with Wolves, start away to Bournemouth while Fulham, who beat Aston Villa in the Championship playoff, host former manager Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace in a London derby.
Southampton host Burnley on the opening day.
The season’s first Manchester derby will be at The Etihad on the weekend of Nov 10-11 while Arsenal host Tottenham and Liverpool greet Everton on the weekend of Dec 1-2.
All eyes will be on former Paris St Germain manager Emery as he attempts to revive Arsenal’s fortunes after they missed out on the Champions League for a second successive season.
The Spaniard will come face to face with fellow Spaniard Pep Guardiola on the opening day and after a trip to Chelsea he has another London derby with West Ham United the visitors. — Reuters