The fixtures for the 2014-15 Barclays Premier League season were released on Wednesday morning.
Here, we take a look at each month’s most eye-catching clashes.
Man City v Liverpool (August 23)
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The top two of 2013-14 do not have to wait long to square up this time around. The champions, who dropped just five points at home last season, came from behind to win this duel on Boxing Day, with Liverpool gaining revenge with a 3-2 success at Anfield later in the season.
Arsenal v Tottenham (September 27)
The Gunners did the double over their biggest rivals last season, with a pair of 1-0 victories. The teams were separated by 10 points at the end of the campaign, so the first derby match could be key in the race for a top four placing – with new Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino getting his first taste of a north London derby.
The early season fixtures appear kind to new United boss Louis van Gaal, with the visit of Chelsea looking the most testing of the first quarter of the campaign. The outcome of a game against Jose Mourinho’s men could be an indication as to how the Dutchman’s rebuilding job is progressing – particularly with a derby against City next on the agenda.
Liverpool v Chelsea (Saturday, November 8)
Steven Gerrard’s slip in this match last season was a defining moment in Liverpool’s unsuccessful title bid. It enabled Chelsea to complete the double over the Reds, whose manager Brendan Rodgers will know there can be no room for errors this time around.
Man Utd v Liverpool (Saturday, December 13)
The Merseysiders tore United apart in this one in 2013-14, loosening David Moyes’s grip on the manager’s job a little more. United, low on confidence, had no answer to the Reds’ attacking verve, succumbing to a sixth home defeat of the campaign. If Van Gaal makes a positive impact at Old Trafford, it is unlikely to be as easy for the visitors next season.
Arsenal had no answer to City’s free-flowing football at the Etihad in December, losing 6-3. Arsene Wenger’s men led the table despite this defeat – but finished fourth. They also suffered heavy defeats at Liverpool and Chelsea, so this game could provide an indication as to whether they have made significant progress in their bid to be serious title contenders.
Everton v Liverpool (Saturday, February 7)
Roberto Martinez, who last week signed a new long-term deal, is the latest Toffees manager seeking to close the gap between the Merseyside rivals. However, recent form suggests it will take time – Everton last beat Liverpool three and a half years ago and despite an impressive campaign, still finished 12 points adrift of them in 2013-14.
Burnley v Man City (Saturday, March 14)
Home form is likely to be key if the Clarets are to retain their Premier League status. The last time they were in the top flight, 2010-11, they were unable to manage the feat – but they bloodied a few noses at Turf Moor along the way. Manchester United and Everton were beaten and Arsenal could only escape with a point – however, City won 6-1 there.
The Blues have had the upper hand in against their London rivals recently, with the 6-0 drubbing at Stamford Bridge last time out highlighting this. If both are in the running for the title when this game takes place – four weeks before the end of the season – it could be a classic.
Everton v Tottenham (Sunday, May 24)
The most appealing of the final day’s fixtures. These teams threatened to claim a Champions League place last season, before having to settle for the alternative of the Europa League. If a top-four place is available to either at Goodison, it will ratchet up the tension.