Premier League fixtures

Champions start at West Brom

June 17, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Premier League champions Manchester United will begin the defence of their title away at West Bromwich Albion, while newly-promoted Swansea open the season with a trip to the richest club in the top flight, Manchester City.

Manchester United won the 2010/11 Premier League
GettyImagesManchester United won the 2010/11 Premier League

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Sir Alex Ferguson's United travel to The Hawthorns on August 13, but their next two games at Old Trafford could really set the tone for the season as they face Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. The champions round off the campaign on May 13 with a match at Sunderland.

The Gunners have a tough start to the campaign with a long trip to Newcastle - a contest which finished in a 4-4 draw last season - followed by a home game against Liverpool before the trip to Old Trafford.

Chelsea, last season's runners-up, travel to Stoke City on the opening day, before taking on West Brom at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool start their campaign at home to Sunderland, meaning Reds midfielder Jordan Henderson will get an immediate match against the team he supported and played for, prior to his recent big money move to Anfield.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said: "It's a massive test early on. It's nice to have a home game first.

"Hopefully we will have a few new signings in and we can start the season with three points which would give us the confidence to then go and get a good result at Arsenal. That is a difficult place to go and we haven't won there for a while.

"It's important to hit the ground running if you want to compete for the title. You can't afford any slip-ups early on. It's a tough first two games but I'm really looking forward to them and I think we can get two positive results.''

Swansea may begin the season with a baptism of fire at Eastland's but chairman Huw Jenkins is also looking relishing the prospect of life in the Premier League.

Jenkins said: "We are looking forward to it...the main thing is to be competitive. Everyone talks about a good start but it's a long season and you've got to be consistent. The aim is to keep the club moving forward and luckily we've got an opportunity to do that.''

Wigan provide the first home opposition for Swansea, meaning a return for former boss Roberto Martinez - who left south Wales for the Latics a little more than two years ago. The Swans have an appealing final day fixture, with Liverpool visiting The Liberty Stadium on May 13.

Of the other Premier League newcomers, QPR open with a home match against Bolton, while Norwich travel to Wigan. Hoops boss Neil Warnock assessed his team's fixtures and said: "It's just fabulous to be involved. When you see the fixtures it's so exciting. It doesn't matter who you play, the Premier League is where we all want to be. It's just fabulous to be involved.''

Elsewhere on the opening day, Tottenham and Everton meet at White Hart Lane, Fulham and Aston Villa face each other at Craven Cottage, while Blackburn host Wolves.