EPL

Man City to begin Premier League title defence at Vincent Kompany’s Burnley

By Sports Desk June 15, 2023

Manchester City will begin their bid for a record fourth consecutive Premier League title away to Vincent Kompany’s Burnley.

The Treble winners will visit Turf Moor to face their former captain’s newly-promoted side on the evening of Friday, August 11 to raise the curtain on the 2023-24 campaign.

It will be the second time Kompany – who won the title on four occasions as City skipper – will have faced his old side as a manager, with City running out 6-0 winners at the Etihad in March’s FA Cup quarter-final.

Premier League debutants Luton will play their first top-flight fixture since 1992 away to Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton on Saturday, August 12, having to wait until the following weekend for their first home game when Kenilworth Road will become the smallest ground to host a fixture in the competition for the visit of Burnley.

The other promoted side Sheffield United kick off their season with a home game against Crystal Palace.

The outstanding fixture of the opening weekend will be at Stamford Bridge where Mauricio Pochettino begins life as Chelsea manager against Liverpool on Sunday, August 13, with both sides looking to bounce back after disappointing campaigns.

Arsenal, following an anticlimactic conclusion to last season’s title challenge, open at home to Nottingham Forest in Saturday’s lunchtime game, with fellow Champions League qualifiers Newcastle hosting Aston Villa that evening and Manchester United beginning against Wolves at Old Trafford on Monday, August 14.

Ange Postecoglou’s first game in charge of Tottenham will be away to Brentford at 2pm on Sunday, Bournemouth open at home to Europa Conference League winners West Ham, and Everton, looking to avoid a third straight relegation scrap, begin at home to Fulham.

The first north London derby of the campaign sees Spurs visit Arsenal on September 23 (with the return on April 27) while Man City travel to the Emirates on October 7 for a meeting of last season’s top two.

October 28 at Old Trafford will bring the first Manchester derby since City matched United’s Treble-winning feat of 1999 (United go to the Etihad on March 2), with the champions hosting Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on November 25.

The first Merseyside derby of the campaign sees Everton go to Anfield on October 21, while Pochettino will take his new side to face his old one when Chelsea visit Tottenham on November 4.

Mikel Arteta is unlikely to be impressed with Arsenal’s schedule, with the club’s first two Champions League fixtures in six years coming immediately ahead of games against Tottenham and City.

Pochettino will receive an early test of his Chelsea rebuild when the Blues face Tottenham, Man City and Newcastle in consecutive games in November.

Luton have been handed a seemingly kind start to life in the Premier League, their only meeting with any of the ‘big six’ in their first seven games coming away at Chelsea on August 26.

The final weekend sees all three promoted sides play at home, with Burnley welcoming Forest, Sheffield United hosting Spurs and Luton playing Fulham.

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    The Citizens breezed past Luton Town 5-1 at the Etihad Stadium in their last outing in the competition, but were not in Premier League action at the weekend.

    While they booked a place in the FA Cup final with a 1-0 win against Chelsea on Saturday, Arsenal went back to the summit by recording wins over Wolves and the Blues before Liverpool also leapfrogged Guardiola’s team with a 3-1 victory at Fulham on Sunday.

    City, who will be without the injured Erling Haaland, face Brighton on Thursday, in what is one of their two games in hand on the Gunners.

    Asked how he feels going into the final few games of the season with so much on the line, Guardiola said: “Every game is adrenalin. Every game is important. But yes it’s decisive. Every mistake or every step back makes it more difficult. It is what it is.

    “We have been here in the last years fortunately many times so that’s why we know what we are playing for.”

    Guardiola was also questioned about the criticism levelled at match officials after Nottingham Forest’s strongly worded statement following their 2-0 defeat at Everton on Sunday.

    "Absolutely disagree. In every league in the world, this kind of thing will happen more and more, but of course, I never had doubts about that,” said Guardiola.

    "They make a mistake, they feel bad. It's normal. When they do the job, they want to do it well. The game is so difficult, it is fast and quick, decisions have to be made in one instant. It's not easy.”

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    Bayern are on the lookout for a new coach, with Thomas Tuchel set to depart at the end of the season.

    The Bundesliga giants wanted to appoint Xabi Alonso, but the 42-year-old snubbed their advances, and those of Liverpool, to stay at Bayer Leverkusen.

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    "There has been contact from the side of Bayern Munich and I have informed the Austrian Football Association," Rangnick said in an interview with 90 Minuten.

    "We have a very trusting relationship. My focus is on the Austrian national team. We are focusing completely on the European championships.

    "I feel very well here. At the moment there is no reason to intensively deal with this."

    Rangnick has plenty of Bundesliga experience, having previously coached Stuttgart, Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.

    While Bayern's hopes of securing a 12th Bundesliga title have long since been over, they remain in with a shout of salvaging their season, with a Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid on the horizon.

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    Austria, meanwhile, have been drawn into a Euro 2024 group that also includes Poland, the Netherlands and tournament favourites France.

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    "Erling is not ready for tomorrow," said Guardiola, who added that City will be able to call on Phil Foden and John Stones.

    "It's not a big issue but he's not available."

    Haaland has scored, on average, every 109 minutes in the league this season.

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    He has also chipped in with five assists, giving him an overall goal contributions tally of 25. Haaland has created 28 goalscoring chances for team-mates across the campaign.

    After Arsenal's 5-0 thrashing of Chelsea on Tuesday, reigning Premier League champions Manchester City sit four points off the summit in third place, albeit with two games in hand.

    Second-place Liverpool will aim to move level on points with the Gunners by beating Merseyside rivals Everton on Wednesday.

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