As if the start of the World Cup was not exciting enough, we now know the schedule for the 2018-19 Premier League season.
Manchester City may have established domestic dominance in record-breaking style last time out, with Pep Guardiola’s side becoming the first to reach the fabled 100-point mark, but there are plenty of teams intent on making life considerably more difficult for the Blues in the defence of that crown.
Jose Mourinho is under pressure to deliver atManchester United following a rare trophyless campaign, while Tottenham are determined to take the next step from also-rans to trophy winners with Mauricio Pochettino tied to fresh terms.
North London rivals Arsenal are entering a brave new world without Arsene Wenger, with Unai Emery about to get his first taste of life in the English top-flight, while there are plenty of issues to address at Chelsea as they seek to once again counter top-four failure with a title challenge.
Liverpool will also expect to be in the mix after reaching last season’s Champions League final, ambitious Wolves will be eager to make their mark among the elite, while Cardiff City and Fulham are back in the big time after four-year absences.
Premier League 2018-19 opening weekend
The first fixtures in the 2018-19 campaign will take place on the weekend of August 11/12.
Manchester City and Chelsea will have met at Wembley a week prior to the big kick-off in the Community Shield, with the first silverware of the season on the line.
The reigning champions will then open the defence of their crown with a heavyweight clash against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium – offering new Gunners boss Emery a baptism of fire.
FA Cup holders Chelsea start on the road at Huddersfield, while London rivals Tottenham are also away from home as they travel to St James’ Park to take on Newcastle.
Manchester United and Liverpool will take in home dates with Leicester City and West Ham respectively, with a visit to Anfield seeing Manuel Pellegrini – a title winner with Manchester City in 2014 – return to English top-flight management.
Elsewhere, Cardiff’s first game back in the Premier League takes them to Bournemouth, Fulham welcome capital foes Crystal Palace to Craven Cottage, and Wolves play host to Marco Silva’s Everton at Molineux.