Premier League fixtures: Man City face Spurs, Brentford host Arsenal, Liverpool at Norwich

Aymeric Laporte scores for Manchester City against Tottenham

Champions Manchester City face a trip to Tottenham on the opening weekend of the 2021-22 Premier League season.

The first fixtures will take place on 14 August and newly promoted Brentford will host Arsenal in their first top-flight game since the 1946-47 season.

Norwich and Watford, who were also promoted last season, face Liverpool and Aston Villa respectively.

Manchester United play Leeds at Old Trafford, while Champions League winners Chelsea host Crystal Palace.

Premier League clubs were able to host fans at reduced capacity when Covid-19 restrictions eased late in the 2020-21 campaign.

It is not yet known how many fans will be able to attend the opening fixtures of the new season but the Premier League said it was “committed to the ambition of having full stadiums, including away supporters” from the start of the season.

The men’s and women’s Wimbledon finals will become the first UK outdoor sporting events to host capacity crowds in July, while Wembley will also be able to host matches at 50% capacity – about 45,000 – for the knockout stages of Euro 2020.

First round of fixtures in full

Brentford v Arsenal

Burnley v Brighton

Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Everton v Southampton

Leicester City v Wolverhampton

Manchester United v Leeds United

Newcastle United v West Ham United

Norwich City v Liverpool

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City

Watford v Aston Villa

Man City and Norwich face tough start

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are favourites to retain their Premier League title but face a testing opening run of games, with Spurs, Norwich, Arsenal, Leicester, Southampton, Chelsea and Liverpool their first seven opponents.

Norwich, who returned to the Premier League at the first time of asking after relegation in 2019-20, start with Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester and Arsenal.

The first north London derby between Spurs and Arsenal is due to take place on 25 September, while the first Merseyside derby of the season will see Everton host Liverpool at Goodison Park in a midweek fixture on 30 November.

The first Manchester derby sees United take on City at Old Trafford on 11 November, while eye-catching Boxing Day fixtures include Liverpool v Leeds and Manchester City against Leicester.

The penultimate round of Premier League fixtures will take place on Sunday, 15 May in order to accommodate the FA Cup final a day earlier, with the final day of the season scheduled for 22 May.

Analysis – a week off for some…

BBC Sport football reporter Simon Stone:

The Premier League has opted to leave a January window free because of a number of international matches that have been scheduled for the end of the month as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Aside from European governing body Uefa, every regional confederation has been cleared to arrange fixtures between 24 January and 1 February. The period also coincides with the Africa Cup of Nations, which has been delayed by 12 months.

It means players from European countries will get a short rest period during a season that is lacking an actual winter break.

Meanwhile, BBC Sport understands Premier League chiefs are planning to start the 2022-23 season a week earlier than normal and finish a week later in order to create space for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The tournament will run from 21 November to 18 December in order to avoid the extreme summer temperatures found in Qatar.

The stats – 11 in a row for City?

  • Manchester City have won their first league match of the season in each of their past 10 campaigns, the joint-longest such run in top-flight history alongside Aston Villa between 1891-92 and 1900-01.
  • Brentford’s opening day match against Arsenal will be their first top-flight game for 74 years, since a 1-0 defeat by the Gunners in May 1947. The only team with a longer gap between top-flight matches is Bradford City (77 years, 1922-1999).
  • Leeds are winless in their past 16 league visits to Old Trafford against Manchester United, a run dating back to a 1-0 win in February 1981.
  • Liverpool are unbeaten in their past 14 Premier League matches against Norwich, and the Canaries are winless in their first Premier League match of the season in each of their past eight attempts – a run dating back to 1992-93.
  • Everton have not lost their opening match in any of the past nine Premier League campaigns while Southampton have won their opening fixture in just one of their past 14 Premier League campaigns.
  • West Ham have lost their first Premier League match in each of the past five seasons.

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