Just five days after Manchester City set the seal on the 2022-23 season by completing a Premier League/FA Cup/Champions League treble, the countdown to the 2023-24 campaign has begun with the release of the fixture list for year ahead.
Pep Guardiola’s City will attempt to become the first club in English league history, dating back to 1888, to win four successive titles. Meanwhile, last season’s runners-up Arsenal will hope to mark the 20th anniversary of Arsene Wenger’s team winning the league as the “Invincibles” by ending their two-decade wait to be crowned champions again.
Luton Town will be the smallest team to play in the Premier League, nine years after winning promotion from the National League, by hosting games at their 10,356-capacity Kenilworth Road stadium. Their only objective will be to survive in the top flight.
With the fixtures now published and managers, players and supporters able to plot their path to success — or otherwise — here are the big talking points of the 2023-24 Premier League schedule.
Manchester City handed dream start
Pep Guardiola’s treble winners start the season by facing two promoted teams in their first three games, with a trip to Burnley — managed by former City captain Vincent Kompany — launching their campaign on Friday, Aug. 11. After facing Newcastle United at the Etihad on Aug. 19, City then travel to Sheffield United before a home game against Fulham takes them into the first international break in early September.
There is a flipside, of course, to playing promoted teams early in the season. Confidence is still high from the previous campaign and the positive momentum can give those teams the impetus to start well. But compared to their rivals, City have a dream start and aside from the early clash with Newcastle, the first tricky fixture on their list is the away game at Arsenal on Oct. 7.
A six-week period in the autumn could be City’s big test, with a trip to Manchester United on Oct. 28 followed by Chelsea (away, Nov. 11), Liverpool (home, Nov. 25) and Tottenham (home, Dec. 2). And after being handed a dream start, City also close the season out with games they will expect win against Nottingham Forest (away), Wolverhampton Wanderers (home), Fulham (away) and West Ham United (home).
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Tough start at Chelsea for Pochettino
After enduring a nightmare season last time around under three different managers — Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Frank Lampard — Chelsea need to start well under new boss Mauricio Pochettino, but the former Spurs coach could hardly have been handed a tougher beginning to the job.
Chelsea open with a home game against Liverpool on Aug. 13 before travelling to east London for a derby game against Europa Conference League winners West Ham six days later. Two fixtures loaded with history and rivalry, so the pressure will be on Chelsea and Pochettino to make a positive start before back-to-back home games against Luton and Forest.
Pochettino, who guided Spurs to a Champions League final in 2019, returns to his old club for the first time on Nov. 4 before Chelsea face Manchester City the following weekend. With no European football at Stamford Bridge this season, however, Chelsea’s ability to focus solely on domestic fixtures could help Pochettino put the team back on track.
Liverpool, Man United face big rivals early
Liverpool and Manchester United supporters constantly argue over who is the biggest and most successful club — both are historically way ahead of the rest in England — and they can now agree to disagree over which of the two clubs has the toughest start to the season.
To have any hope of beating Manchester City to the title, Liverpool and United must hit the ground running, but the fixture computer has not been kind to either of them.
While Erik ten Hag’s United open up with a clash against Wolves at Old Trafford, their first two away games take them to Tottenham (Aug. 19) and Arsenal (Sept. 2) — a very tricky start for Harry Kane if United succeed in taking him from Spurs this summer.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who finished fifth last season, open with a difficult trip to Chelsea before also travelling to Newcastle (Aug. 26) and a home game against Unai Emery’s resurgent Aston Villa on Sept. 2.
An Anfield clash on Aug. 19 with Bournemouth, who they beat 9-0 in the corresponding fixture last season, offers Liverpool some respite from their daunting start.
Arsenal have chance for flying start
Arsenal mounted a title challenge last season after building on a whirlwind start in which they won their first five games, and Mikel Arteta’s side have the chance to open up in similar fashion this time around.
A home game against Nottingham Forest, followed by a trip to Crystal Palace and then Fulham at the Emirates on Aug. 26, offers the Gunners the opportunity to bank nine points before a tougher run of games against Manchester United (home, Sept. 2), Everton (away, Sept. 16) and Spurs (home, Sept. 23). But with United and Spurs visiting the Emirates during that period, it means that Arsenal can aim to be the side which keeps pace with City in the early weeks of the season.
Arsenal’s recurring flaw, however, is their ability to win during the final weeks of the campaign having blown Champions League qualification and the title over the last two seasons. This time around, they face two daunting away games at Spurs (April 27) and Man United (May 11), so Arsenal will need to find a way to win in the run-in if they are to win the title this season.
Matches you don’t want to miss
Chelsea vs. Liverpool (Aug. 13)
It’s rare for such a box-office fixture to be staged on the opening weekend of the season, but this one has all the ingredients to be the first stand-out game of the campaign.
Liverpool need to bounce back after last season’s failure to finish in the top four, but Chelsea were even worse and ended up in the bottom half of the table. So this will be two teams with so much to prove and expensive signings — Chelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk and Enzo Fernandez, Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez — needing to show that they can perform in the Premier League after a disappointing first season.
And then there is Pochettino, back in the Premier League, desperately trying to win his first game as Chelsea boss against Klopp, the manager who denied him Champions League glory while at Spurs.
Manchester City vs. Newcastle United (Aug. 19)
We all know what to expect from Manchester City, but this will be a game which shows us whether Newcastle are the real deal under Eddie Howe and if they can challenge for the title in 2023-24.
The Magpies are likely to have significantly strengthened their squad by the time the season kicks off, ahead of a first Champions League campaign for 20 years, and they will see this game as the acid test of their progress so far.
A title challenge at St James’ Park seems maybe a year or two down the line, but Newcastle confounded expectations by sealing a top-four finish last season, so don’t write them off — especially if they get a positive result at the Etihad.
Arsenal vs. Manchester United (Sept. 2)
Last season’s runners-up face the side that finished third, so theoretically this is a game between the two teams most likely to beat City to the title this season. But both sides need to improve their squads to maintain the progress they made last term and managers Arteta and Ten Hag have a big summer ahead in terms of recruitment.
Arsenal-United games rarely disappoint in terms of action and significance and this one will be no different. It will give us a crucial pointer as to the prospects of the two teams over the season ahead.
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Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Sept. 23)
This will be Postecoglu’s first North London derby as Spurs manager and the Premier League’s first Australian boss has a tough task ahead of him when it comes to bridging the gap between his club and the Gunners.
Postecoglu faced a similar challenge in Glasgow when he took charge of Celtic two summers ago after Steven Gerrard guided Rangers to a first title in a decade, and he quickly turned the tide in the Old Firm rivalry. So the challenge of taking on Arteta and making Spurs the No. 1 team in North London won’t faze him.
By the time this game comes around, expect the new Spurs boss to have instilled a better mentality into his under-achieving squad. Arsenal should be ready to face a different Tottenham under Postecoglu.
Manchester United vs. Manchester City (Oct. 28)
It is now 10 years since Manchester United last won the Premier League title and they haven’t finished above City in the table in any of the seasons since.
Ten Hag has raised hopes that United will challenge again soon, but they still look some way short of Pep Guardiola’s City. But each new season brings new hope and, if United strengthen well this summer, they can push City close.
This game will be an indicator as to whether United can do it next season, though. With the season over two months old by the time this game comes around, this game could make-or-break United’s title ambitions.
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Manchester City vs. Liverpool (Nov. 25)
Despite Liverpool’s slide last season, this fixture is still the one that defines this era of the Premier League.
No team has challenged City as consistently as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in recent years and they arguably go into the new season as second favourites for the title due to their pedigree and proven players such as Alisson, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah.
Liverpool are unquestionably going through a period of transition, but their impressive run of form during the final weeks of last season proved they can still blow teams away.
So if Liverpool can return to their best form — propelled by new arrival Alexis Mac Allister and any further summer signings — this game could be between the two sides most likely to win the title.
Key Premier League fixtures, unmissable games for top clubs