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Premier League opening weekend: Who has the toughest start?

SoccerNews in English Premier League 18 Jun 2024

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The Premier League fixtures were announced on Tuesday, with the new season now just under two months away.

Holders Manchester City, chasing a fifth consecutive Premier League title, have a tough opener against Chelsea, now managed by Enzo Maresca, at Stamford Bridge on August 18.

City have won their opening fixture in 12 of the last 13 seasons, though the only exception was a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham in 2021-22.

Meanwhile, Chelsea will begin a top-flight season against the reigning champions for the first time in 53 years, losing to Arsenal in their last such fixture in 1971 (3-0).

Manchester United and Fulham will kick off the season at Old Trafford on August 16, with the Red Devils becoming the first Premier League side in history to start eight consecutive seasons on home soil.

Brentford and West Ham are tipped to have the toughest starts, with their opponents’ average rating at 89.6 on Opta’s team rating scale – both sides face Pep Guardiola’s side in their opening five matches.

Arsenal and Ipswich Town sit joint-third behind them, with their first five fixtures averaging at 88.7.

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