The Premier League fixtures for 2018-19 were announced on Thursday and Simon Lovell takes a look at some of the talking points.
Manchester City can really make hay
Pep Guardiola's team do not appear to need much help, having dominated the Premier League as they did last season. However, facing the league's newest six teams in their first eight games will have their title rivals wincing. Although they start at Arsenal and have a trip to Liverpool in October, in between Guardiola's men face Huddersfield, Wolves, Newcastle, Fulham, Cardiff and Brighton.
Oh no, Unai
Arsenal start the post-Arsene Wenger era with two tricky matches. Although Unai Emery's first competitive match is at home, champions Manchester City are not the ideal opponents. A trip to Chelsea follows on the second weekend of the season.
Home help for Tottenham
Tottenham have until Friday to decide whether to return to Wembley next season while work on their new stadium is completed. Starting at Newcastle - for the second successive season - may not be a bad thing. The question is, will Fulham be the first visitors to Spurs' new home on the site of White Hart Lane on the weekend of August 18? Or might Liverpool, due to visit in mid-September after Spurs helpfully have two away matches, be the glamorous opponents who mark the opening of the new ground?
Domestic fixtures following European action have often proved to be a contentious subject for frustrated Premier League managers trying to balance the demands of different competitions. This season,
Liverpool are the main beneficiaries, with an Anfield Premier League contest scheduled to follow all six of their European matches. Although none of England's other European qualifiers have done so well, none appears to have been dealt an especially bad hand.
Newcomers get a fair start - but run-in is tough on Bluebirds
The early-season calendar appears kind on the three promoted teams, Cardiff, Wolves and Fulham. Although all have one of the top six in their opening four games, other teams have more daunting starts. New boys Huddersfield had a tough run-in last season, however - and it is the same story for Cardiff in 2018-19. Their last seven games include fixtures against Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Related World Cup links
- World Cup outright tips
- World Cup Golden Boot tips
- World Cup fixtures & schedule
- World Cup groups & predictions
- World Cup team profiles
- World Cup podcast
- World Cup best bets
- World Cup outsiders to follow
- Elimination predictions
- England's routes to glory
- World Cup Golden Boot contenders
- World Cup Golden Ball contenders
- World Cup Golden Glove contenders
- New world champions in Russia?
- Four £5 flutters in Russia
- World Cup venues in focus
- Full World Cup squad lists
- More free football tips
- Sky Bet's World Cup odds