Manchester City prepare for English Premier League battle

Manchester United, who were just pipped to the title on the final day of the 2011/12 season, are away to Everton before Fulham visit Old Trafford the following weekend.

Arsenal, third last term, start at home to Sunderland before travelling to Stoke and Liverpool.

The opening day of the season sees two Europa League rivals go head-to-head when Newcastle welcome Tottenham Hotspur, currently without a manager following the departure of Harry Redknapp, to St James’ Park.

European champions Chelsea, with Roberto di Matteo now their full-time as opposed to caretaker manager, begin their quest for the Premier League title away to Wigan. Newcastle will be the first league visitors to Stamford Bridge.

Brendan Rodgers’ first Premier League match as Liverpool manager will be at West Bromwich Albion, now managed by former Chelsea and Liverpool assistant Steve Clarke after the Baggies lost Roy Hodgson to England.

Rodgers is set for a tough start in front of the Liverpool faithful, with Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United the first three league visitors to Anfield next season.

Swansea, the team Rodgers left, will have the first league game under new manager Michael Laudrup at Queens Park Rangers.

West Ham’s return to the Premier League starts at home to Aston Villa, now managed by former Norwich boss Paul Lambert.

Fellow newcomers Reading will also have home advantage in their first top flight game for four years when Stoke arrive at the Madejski Stadium.

Meanwhile Fulham and Norwich meet at Craven Cottage in Chris Hughton’s first competitive game since replacing Lambert as Canaries boss. – Sapa-AFP

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