United get Everton in season opener
Sir Alex Fergsuon’s Manchester United will face Everton at Goodison Park to open the new Premier League season after the fixtures for the 2012/13 campaign were unveiled Monday morning. Last season’s runners-up will face David Moyes’ Toffees, Fulham and newly promoted Southampton before August is out as United aim for a 20th English title. The opening day is scheduled for Saturday 18 August, but Ferguson’s side is more likely to take up one of the televised slots either on Saturday lunchtime, Sunday afternoon or Monday night.
The first home tie of the season will bring Fulham to Old Trafford in August, with fixtures against Southampton, Wigan Athletic, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur before the end of September. However, the draw offers Ferguson’s side a tough looking run-in, with fixtures against Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea in the last two months of the season, including a potentially decisive fixture with Roberto Mancini’s outfit at Old Trafford.
Champions City begin the title defence at home to newly promoted Southampton, Chelsea visit Wigan Athletic, Arsenal start at home to Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur play Newcastle United, and rank outsiders Liverpool, under new manager Brendan Rodgers, visit West Bromwich Albion.
The season’s first derby is at Eastlands on 8 December, while United travel to Liverpool on 22 September, visit Chelsea on 27 October and host Arsenal a week later on 3 November. United also faces a busy Christmas and New Year period with fixtures against Swansea City, then Newcastle United on Boxing Day, West Bromwich Albion, and then Wigan Athletic in the traditional ‘hang over fixture’ on New Year’s Day.
United’s last home fixture of the season, possibly the final game in Red for Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, brings Welsh side Swansea City to Old Trafford, before United conclude the campaign away at West Bromwich Albion.
By then United will hope to have secured the Premier League title, although few will bet against more last day drama. And on balance Ferguson will be pleased with the fixture split, which offers neither a hugely tough start to the campaign, nor the worst possible conclusion.
The Champions League draw takes place in Monaco on 30 August, and while specific European destinations are yet to be unveiled, United will face fixtures away from Old Trafford after five of six group games – traveling to Liverpool, Newcastle, Chelsea, Aston Villa and City after European games .
With just two months until the season opener United’s schedule already looks packed. The Reds start a summer tour a month today, with two fixtures in South Africa against AmaZulu FC and Ajax Cape Town, one in China with Shanghai Shenhua, and one in Norway against Vålerenga.
Players not competing in the European Champions are due to report back for training on 1 July.
August – Everton (A), Fulham (H)
September – Southampton (A), Wigan Athletic H, Liverpool (A), Tottenham Hotspur (H)
October – Newcastle (A), Stoke City (H), Chelsea (A)
November – Arsenal (H), Aston Villa (A), Norwich City (A), QPR (H), West Ham United (H)
December – Reading (A), Manchester City (A), Sunderland (H), Swansea City (A), Newcastle United (H), West Bromwich Albion (H)
January – Wigan Athletic (A), Liverpool (H), Tottenham Hotspur (A), Southampton (H)
February – Fulham (A), Everton (H), QPR (A)
March – Norwich City (H), West Ham United (A), Reading (H), Sunderland (A)
April – Manchester City (H), Stoke (A), Aston Villa (H), Arsenal (A)
May – Chelsea (H), Swansea City (H), West Brom Albion (A)
Domestic Cups (all tentative)
Capital One Cup Round 3 – 26 September
Capital One Cup Round 4 – 31 October
Capital One Cup Round 5 – 12 December
FA Cup Round 3 – 5 January
Capital One Cup semi-final (1) – 9 January
Capital One Cup semi-final (2) – 23 January
FA Cup Round 4 – 26 January
FA Cup Round 5 – 16 February
Capital One Cup final – 24 February
FA Cup Round 6 – 9 March
FA Cup semi-final – 13 April
FA Cup Final – 11 May
Champions League Schedule
Matchday 1 – 18–19 September
Matchday 2 – 2–3 October
Matchday 3 – 23–24 October
Matchday 4 – 6–7 November
Matchday 5 – 20–21 November
Matchday 6 – 4–5 December
Round of 16 – 12–13 and 19–20 February, 5–6 and 12–13 March
Quarter-finals – 2–3 April, 9–10 April 2013
Semi-finals – 23–24 April, 30 April – 1 May
Final – 25 May (Wembley Stadium, London)