(WFI) Newly-promoted teams West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United have a tough start to the 2010/11 season with games against Premier League champions Chelsea and runners-up Manchester United respectively.
There’s no glamour opener for Blackpool, the Championship play-off winners, who start with a Lancashire derby at home against Wigan Athletic in their first match back in the top-flight since 1971.
The Premier League fixtures for the 2010/11 season were announced on Thursday.
The Seasiders, bookies favourites for relegation, will entertain Premiership teams at their 16,000-seat Bloomfield Road stadium, the smallest in the league.
Blackpool’s manager Ian Holloway and his team get to find out how tough a challenge it will be to maintain their top-flight status when they play Arsenal at the 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium the following week.
Defender Alex Baptiste said he’s excited about the new season and hopes Blackpool “can give a good account of ourselves and stay up”.
“We’re going to massive grounds with multi-million pound players up against you,” he told the club’s website.
“But we’ve earned that right and we’re looking forward to it. Every game in this league is tough so we’ll need to step up to the plate.”
Other intriguing opening matches include Tottenham Hotspur’s meeting with Manchester City at White Hart Lane, the team they pipped for fourth spot last season to secure Champions League football.
Liverpool host Arsenal who finished third last season. Aston Villa, sixth in 2009/10, start at home to West Ham United whose new manager Avram Grant will be keen to make an impression.
The first clash between teams who finished in the top four in 2009/10 comes when Chelsea meet Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Oct. 2.
Chelsea, who also won the FA Cup last season, play Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Dec. 18 and at Old Trafford on May 7.
Opening day fixtures
Aston Villa v West Ham
Blackburn v Everton
Blackpool v Wigan
Bolton v Fulham
Chelsea v West Brom
Liverpool v Arsenal
Man Utd v Newcastle
Sunderland v Birmingham
Tottenham v Man City
Wolverhampton v Stoke
here to see all the 2010/11 fixtures in chronological format
INSIDER editor Mark Bisson ([email protected])
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