Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chelsea to kick off title defence at home to West Brom

Champions Chelsea will kick off their title defence at home to promoted West Bromwich Albion on August 14, the Premier League announced on Thursday.In other headline clashes of the opening day fixtures, Newcastle United will mark their return to the top flight with a mouth-watering trip to Old Trafford against runners-up Manchester United.Blackpool's opening Premier League fixture will be at home to Wigan Athletic before trips south to Arsenal and Fulham. They will also play at Manchester United on the final day of their first season in the top flight since 1971.

Arsenal, third last season, kick off their campaign with a tough starter against Liverpool at Anfield while Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester City, the side they pipped for the final Champions League qualifying position last term.Newcastle's match at Old Trafford is a re-run of the start of the 2008/09 season, at the end of which the Magpies were relegated and United went on to win the title.

The two clubs drew 1-1 on that occasion. Last season's top two will have to wait until Dec. 18 for their first encounter, with United travelling to Stamford Bridge. Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea will then visit Old Trafford on May 7, two weeks before the end of the season.Avram Grant's first league game as West Ham United manager, after leaving relegated Portsmouth, will be at Aston Villa.

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