Manchester United were handed a nightmare start to the new Premier League season | Manchester United handed new Premier League season
Manchester United were handed a nightmare start to the new Premier League season: And it could cost the champs dearly if they make their traditionally slow start to the campaign. Luckily for Alex Ferguson’s men, they were not the only ones to suffer at the hands of the fixtures computer. Manchester United were handed a nightmare start to the new Premier League season yesterday.
Manchester United handed new Premier League season Tottenham face four of their rivals for a Champions League spot in their first seven matches. Boss Harry RedknappHarry Redknapp admitted: “That’s one of the toughest starts I’ve had in all my years as a manager.”
And Arsenal are going to find it hard to juggle domestic and European commitments with a challenging first few weeks Manchester United were handed a nightmare start to the new Premier League season. Last term, the battle for the title was a three-horse race right through to the beginning of May – and United grabbed the crown with just one game to spare.
This time things could become clearer early on, particularly as Chelsea’s boss-in-waiting Guus HiddinkGuus Hiddink has been handed a gentle start to his second spell in charge. That is in stark contrast to United, whose first nine games feature match-ups against their five closest rivals from last season.
They open at West Brom on the weekend of August 13 but then face both Tottenham and Arsenal at Old Trafford before the first international break at the end of the month.
Prem runners-up Chelsea head to the Theatre of Dreams on September 17 – and Fergie will have made a note of the middle of October. United go to bogey ground Anfield on the 15th and a week later welcome neighbours City.
Tottenham, who open at home to Everton, arguably face an even more daunting start. They meet both Manchester clubs before August is out – United away and City at White Hart Lane – then Liverpool head for North London on September 17.
Still the big games keep coming for them and the derby against old rivals Arsenal is scheduled to take place at the Lane on October 1. Boss Redknapp said: “Everton are a strong side and always difficult to beat, United at Old Trafford is as tough as it gets and then City at home makes for a difficult start.
“But they are great games to look forward to, big home games especially in front of a packed White Hart Lane. They are exciting. It would be great to get off to a good start and we’re looking forward to it.”
Arsenal, without a trophy since 2005, also have a tricky time as they aim to nail down a Champions League group place while getting their title charge off to a flier. They face both Liverpool and United after starting off at Newcastle – where they famously drew 4-4 last season after surrendering a four-goal lead.
October also looks tricky for Arsene Wenger’s Gunners as they are handed London derbies against Spurs and Chelsea. Liverpool will play only three of their potential title rivals before the end of October – Arsenal, Spurs and United – so will have the chance to start well.
That would be in stark contrast to last season when Roy Hodgson’s team flirted with relegation before KennyKenny Dalglish turned their fortunes around following his appointment in January.
The Kop kings entertain Sunderland followed by a crunch clash away to Arsenal. And skipper Steven Gerrard said: “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. “But it’s a massive test early on. Hopefully we will have a few new signings in and can start the season with three points.
“That would give us the confidence to then go and get a good result at Arsenal. That’s a difficult place to go and we haven’t won there for a while.” Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City – who finished third in May and will fancy a title tilt this time around – face top-six opposition just twice in the first three months.
But City will be dismayed to see they have been handed away fixtures after EVERY one of their Champions League group ties. Chelsea can be quite pleased with their opening 10 fixtures. They face a repeat of last season’s title showdown with United on September 17 but their next big game is not until the end of October against Arsenal.