Arsenal open against City

Tough start for Gunners' new boss Emery as he hosts EPL champs before facing Chelsea

LONDON • Unai Emery faces a baptism of fire after Arsenal were handed an opening-day fixture at home to Premier League champions Manchester City.

Emery, the Gunners' first new manager since Arsene Wenger took charge in 1996, will then travel to London rivals Chelsea on the second weekend of the season.

But of the title contenders, Liverpool will have the toughest start.

The Reds, 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 east London side.

Liverpool will then go up against Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and City in a run that also includes Crystal Palace, Brighton, Leicester City and Southampton.

Jose Mourinho's Manchester United, distant runners-up to City last season, start at home to Leicester while FA Cup winners Chelsea are away to Huddersfield Town.

Tottenham, 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. Spurs say their first game in their new £850 million (S$1.5 billion) stadium at White Hart Lane will be against Liverpool on the weekend of Sept 15-16.

The north London club played all their home games at Wembley last season while their new 62,000-seat stadium was being constructed but work is still ongoing and the club has sought permission to return to the national stadium for one game.

The promoted sides were spared a daunting sequence of games to start the season - although all face one of the top six in their opening four matches.

Championship title winners Wolves have a home opener against Everton, before trips to Leicester and West Ham sandwich the visit of Manchester City to Molineux.

Cardiff start at Bournemouth and have Newcastle at home and Huddersfield away, before the visit of Arsenal.

Fulham, who secured their place in the top flight with victory over Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final, begin at home to Crystal Palace, before the trip to Spurs is followed by Burnley at home and Brighton away.

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2018, with the headline 'Arsenal open against City'. Print Edition | Subscribe