The football fixtures are out for next season and City start their defence of their Premier League title away at West Ham United. Last time the blues faced the Hammers on the opening day, Raheem Sterling grabbed a hat-trick and Gabriel Jesus became the first Premier League player to have a goal disallowed by VAR. Still, City ran out 5-0 winners in a season dogged by the controversial new system.
And City’s visit on 7th August is keeping with a trend that seems to be following City every season. And that trend is starting the season away from home. Of course, every team has to play 19 matches on the road, yet the opening day statistics seem to keep sending the blues on their travels.
This will be City’s sixth consecutive opening day away match and haven’t opened at home since they faced Sunderland in 2016. And that was their only opening day home fixture since they beat Newcastle 4-0 in August 2013. And, of those 8 matches starting away from home, the blues have also finished their season on the road on 4 occasions.
The full list is:
2014 – Start at Newcastle, finish at home to Southampton
2015 – Start at West Brom, finish at Swansea
2016 – Start at home to Sunderland, finish at Watford
2017 – Start at Brighton, finish at Southampton
2018 – Start at Arsenal, finish at Brighton
2019 – Start at West Ham, finish at home to Norwich
2020 – Start at Wolves, finish at home to Everton
2021 – Start at Spurs, finish at home to Aston Villa
Seems odd that a few times City have been defending champions, yet start their season on the road, compared to other champions.
How other champions have started
Chelsea won the league title in 2015, yet started their campaign at home to Swansea, while Leicester won the league the following season and started the following campaign with a 2-1 defeat at Hull. In 2017, Chelsea were again champions, and started their defence of the title with a home defeat to Burnley. In 2020, Liverpool were crowned champions and started with a home win over Leeds.
Speaking of Liverpool…
After getting an opening day rip to newly promoted Fulham, they became the first team in top-flight history to play their opening match against a newly promoted side for four consecutive seasons.
2022 – Fulham
2021 – Norwich
2020 - Leeds
2019 – Norwich
We’re not suggested there’s anything in this, it’s just an interest as to how the FA’s fixture computer works. Maybe it’s a Liverpool fan!