Man City launch EPL defence at West Ham

Manchester City open their latest English Premier title defence away at West Ham.
Manchester City open their latest English Premier title defence away at West Ham.

Manchester City will start the defence of their English Premier League crown at West Ham.

The 2019-20 fixtures revealed on Thursday handed Pep Guardiola's team an opening match at a venue which has proved to be productive for them since 2017.

City, who have won successive Premier League titles, have picked up three points in east London in the last three seasons - scoring four goals on each occasion.

The champions follow their August 10 lunchtime trip to the London Stadium with a home match against Tottenham. Games against Bournemouth, Brighton, Norwich and Watford follow.

Liverpool, pipped by a point to the title by City, get next season up and running on August 9 at home to newly-promoted Norwich. Clashes against Southampton, Arsenal, Burnley, Newcastle and Chelsea round out their first six fixtures.

Last season's top two meet at Anfield on November 9, subject to TV confirmation, with the return at the Etihad scheduled for April 4.

The run-in would also appear to favour City, who do not face any teams who finished in the top half last season in their final six matches, following that visit of Liverpool.

In contrast, Jurgen Klopp's side have a home game against Chelsea sandwiched between trips to Arsenal and Newcastle.

Manchester United, who finished sixth last time around, have an eye-catching opener, at home to Chelsea on August 11.

Arsenal start at Newcastle, also on August 11, with the other opening day fixtures taking place on the Saturday.

Aston Villa, who secured a top-flight return with victory over Derby in the Championship play-off final, face a tough opener at Spurs - who finished fourth last season.

The other newly-promoted team, Sheffield United, start at Bournemouth and there is a sense of deja vu as Watford host Brighton in a repeat of last season's opening match, while Turf Moor opponents Burnley and Southampton also faced each other at St Mary's first time around in 2018-19.

Elsewhere, Crystal Palace are at home to Everton and there is a Midlands derby with Wolves travelling to Leicester.

The first full midweek schedule takes place on December 3 and 4 and features Manchester United's home match against Tottenham and the Merseyside derby at Anfield.

The Boxing Day programme sees United host Newcastle, while City and Liverpool are at Wolves and Leicester respectively.

Australian Associated Press