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Wednesday 19 June 2013

Baptism of fire for Manchester United's Moyes

The Barclays Premier League fixture list has pitted United against Chelsea and Liverpool in August

Chelsea's Jose Mourinho and Man United's David Moyes will meet on Matchweek 2

David Moyes will want to hit the ground running in his first season in charge of Manchester United as his side face Chelsea and Liverpool in the opening three weeks of the fixture calendar. Fans of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur will not have long for the first North London derby of the season, which also takes place in August.

The defending Barclays Premier League champions have never lost on the opening day and Manchester United will hope that record holds true on 17 August when Moyes’s men travel to Swansea City. They lost their first match of last season, away to Everton, before going on to win the title.

The Red Devils then host Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea the next week in what will be a keenly anticipated first home match of the season. Mourinho, whose side host newly promoted Hull City on the opening day of the season, will have every confidence of continuing his good record against Man United, having beaten them four times in eight attempts and lost just once. The Special One’s record against Moyes is better, with five victories against Everton from eight matches during his first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.

After those stern opening tests, United go to Anfield on Matchweek 3 to take on Liverpool as Moyes completes his August baptism of fire.

Manchester derby

Supporters of the Barclays Premier League side’s top two sides over the last two seasons will only have to wait five matches before discovering which of the two rivals may emerge triumphant in the first Manchester derby.

The Mancunian clubs will meet at the Etihad Stadium on 21 September with United aiming to win in their neighbours’ yard for the second season in succession, while Manchester City will look for a hat-trick of Old Trafford successes in the return fixture on 1 March, having won 2-1 at Old Trafford last season and 6-1 in their title-winning campaign in 2011/12.

City get the Manuel Pellegrini era under way at home to Newcastle United, before taking on two newly promoted sides, Cardiff City and Hull, in Matchweek 2 and 3 respectively.

After a battle for fourth place that went down to the wire last season Arsenal and Tottenham fans will see their two sides reconvene at the Emirates Stadium on 31 August, in a North London derby which has produced curiously familiar results over the last two seasons. Spurs have been beaten 5-2 on each of their last two trips to Arsenal, while they have won their last two home matches against Arsene Wenger’s charges 2-1. Andre Villas-Boas’s side host the Gunners on 15 March.

Wenger, whose side begin the season at home to Aston Villa, will be hoping to improve his record against Mourinho, four days before Christmas, when the Frenchman bids to beat the Portuguese for the first time. The Gunners travel to Stamford Bridge on 22 March.

Boxing Day

In a full schedule of matches on Boxing Day, the Gunners make the short trip to West Ham United, Manchester City host Liverpool and Newcastle United welcome Mark Hughes’s Stoke City. The Magpies host Sunderland in the Wear-Tyne derby on 26 October and visit St James’ Park on 1 February.

For the first time in its history the Barclays Premier League will be graced by an all-Welsh contest as newly promoted Cardiff City take on Swansea City for national bragging rights. Malky Mackay’s charges, who open their first Premier League campaign with a trip to West Ham, will meet the Swans at the Liberty Stadium on 2 November and host the Capital One Cup holders on 8 February.

There is always something at stake on the final day of the season of the Barclays Premier League. Manchester United will go to the South Coast to take on Southampton, while Man City will host West Ham and Newcastle face a final day trip to Anfield.

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Key Points

  • The fixture list for the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season has been released
  • Champions Manchester United face Chelsea and Liverpool in August
  • Arsenal host Tottenham on Matchweek 3 will Swansea go to Cardiff on 2 November