Manchester: Manchester City will begin its latest English Premier League title defense against Burnley, a promoted team managed by City great Vincent Kompany.
The opening round of the season also contains a match between two of the league’s so-called “Big Six” as Chelsea — with a new manager on board in Mauricio Pochettino — hosts Liverpool.
City’s trip to Turf Moor will start the season Aug. 11 — and on a Friday night — and it’s laden with narrative because of the presence of Kompany, who spent 11 years (2008-19) at the club and has a statue outside the team’s Etihad Stadium.
Kompany, who was City captain for eight years and won four Premier League titles, led Burnley back into the top division in his first season as a manager in English soccer.
He has already faced City as a Burnley manager and it didn’t turn out to be such a happy occasion, with his team getting thrashed 6-0 in the FA Cup quarterfinals in March.
City’s early season schedule looks relatively benign — the champion also plays promoted Sheffield United and host Fulham and Nottingham Forest in its first six games — before a tough-looking October when City plays Arsenal (Oct. 7) and Manchester United (Oct. 28) away either side of hosting Brighton.
Arsenal, which ran City surprisingly close in the title race last season, begins the campaign with matches against Nottingham Forest, Crystal Palace and then Fulham.
Arsenal is in the Champions League for the first time in six years, with its first two group games in Europe coming immediately ahead of Premier League matches against Tottenham and Manchester City.
The first league game for new Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou is a London derby at Brentford, while Manchester United is at home to Wolverhampton Aug. 14.
Luton will play its first top-flight match since 1992 away to Brighton. The following week, Kenilworth Road will become the smallest ground to host a Premier League game when Burnley visits.
The other promoted side is Sheffield United, which starts the season at home to Crystal Palace.