Man City to open against Southampton

Man City to open against Southampton
By PA Sport

18/06/2012 at 16:01Updated 19/06/2012 at 01:27

The fixtures for the opening weekend of the 2012-13 season have been announced, with Premier League champions Manchester City opening their title defence at home to newly-promoted Southampton.

Roberto Mancini's men, who edged Manchester United to the title last month, face Nigel Adkins's side on August 18 at the Etihad Stadium.

United, pipped on the final day of 2011-12 by their city rivals, open with a match at Everton before taking on Fulham at Old Trafford the following weekend.

Arsenal, who finished third in 2011-12, kick-off with a home game against Sunderland, before taking to the road with trips to Stoke and Liverpool.

Two Europa League rivals meet on the opening day at St James' Park, with Newcastle taking on Tottenham - currently managerless after the departure of Harry Redknapp.

Roberto Di Matteo's career as permanent Chelsea coach starts with a game at Wigan. The Blues' first home game of 2012-13 is against Newcastle.

Brendan Rodgers's Liverpool open at West Brom - although the first three Anfield fixtures are more eye-catching, with Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United the visitors.

The team Rodgers left, Swansea, now managed by Michael Laudrup, begin at QPR.

West Ham's return to the Premier League starts with a home match against Aston Villa, now under the leadership of Paul Lambert.

Fellow newcomers Reading will also have home advantage in their first top flight game for four years - with Stoke the opening-day opponents at the Madejski Stadium.

The other first-day match sees Fulham and Norwich meet at Craven Cottage in Chris Hughton's first competitive game since replacing Lambert as Canaries boss.

Boxing Day sees Manchester United face Newcastle, while Sunderland and City meet at the Stadium of Light.

Newcastle against Arsenal is the most eye-catching of the May 19 fixtures, when newly-promoted West Ham and Reading play for what could be three priceless final day points at Upton Park.

Opening weekend fixtures: Saturday, August 18

Arsenal v Sunderland

Everton v Manchester United

Fulham v Norwich City

Manchester City v Southampton

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur

Queens Park Rangers v Swansea City

Reading v Stoke City

West Bromwich Albion v Liverpool

West Ham United v Aston Villa

Wigan Athletic v Chelsea