Manchester United will open the new Premier League season against Roy ‘Woy’ Hodgson’s West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthornes in what might prove to be a season of two distinct halves. Sir Alex Ferguson’s team faces a tough start to the season, with seven matches against direct title rivals before mid-February, but just one match against teams searching for Premier League glory during the run-in.
The Scot’s side will play three tough fixtures against direct rivals adjacent to Champions League groups stage matches, with Ferguson surely hoping for home European games when the draw takes place on 25 August.
The Champions League quarter and semi-finals are likely to be next to games against Fulham, Blackburn Rovers, QPR, Aston Villa and Everton. Only the match with City on 28 April 2012 at Eastlands, which backs on to the second leg of the Champions League semi-final should United make it that far, will concern Ferguson.
But it is the season’s end that will get Ferguson purring with only that City fixture likely to be against a direct rival for the Premier League title. March, April and May will bring games against likely relegation candidates including Swansea, Wigan Athletic, Blackburn, Wolverhampton Wanderers and QPR.
Rant would bring you a full fixture list but the Premier League, via the Football Data Co., insists that even not-for-profit blogs such as this site buy an annual license at the cost of several hundred pounds.