The 2021-22 football season is officially over after Tuesday’s international matches, but attention already turns to the start of the 2022-23 campaign.
On Thursday, the Premier League announces their fixtures for the upcoming term – with all 20 clubs waiting to see how their season will shape up.
Their schedules will be officially revealed at 9am, giving managers seven-and-a-half weeks until the season is due to start on the weekend of August 6/7.
Champions Manchester City and Co will find out their Premier League fixtures on Thursday
City and rivals Liverpool (right) are set to battle it out for the Premier League title in 2022-23
A long-winded domestic season due to the World Cup (more on that shortly), the top flight is due to end on May 28, 2023.
Champions Manchester City began last season with a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham and will be hoping they are dealt an easier opening day tie come Thursday.
Pep Guardiola’s side will be looking out for rivals Liverpool’s fixture list, and vice-versa too, with the pair once again set to be the frontrunners for the title.
It’ll be a new dawn at Manchester United too with their new manager Erik ten Hag getting his first taste of English football following his appointment from Dutch giants Ajax last month.
Promoted trio Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest will be hoping for a kind start to their respective campaigns as they get acclimatised facing the quality of top-flight opponents week-in and week-out.
Manchester United’s new manager Erik ten Hag will get his first taste of English football soon
Nottingham Forest will be hoping for a kind start to being their return to the Premier League
Elsewhere the likes of Everton and Leeds United will be hoping they fare better than last term after both barely survived being relegated.
This season will be like no other with domestic seasons worldwide having to accommodate their schedules due to the World Cup.
Being held in Qatar, the traditional summer showpiece has been switched to the late autumn/early winter due to the searing temperatures of the Middle East.
As a result the Premier League’s calendar has been tweaked to maintain its integrity. Matchweek 16, to be played over the weekend of November 12/13, will be the last set of matches played ahead of the call-up period for the tournament, which starts on November 21.
Despite the disruption, there will be the usual festive football for fans with the Premier League resuming on Boxing Day following the World Cup final, which takes place on December 18.
Next season will see the Premier League pause for the 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar
While it is unclear currently how each team’s fixture lists will pan out, a selection of next season’s fixtures were allegedly ‘leaked’ on Monday.
Fans believe they already have a glimpse of the first eight weeks of the new season as well as matches over Christmas and New Year.
Two lists of so-called ‘leaked’ fixtures were circulating on social media over Sunday and Monday, which show eight rounds of games from August 6 to September 24 and then another eight from December 26 to February 11.
However, the accuracy of these lists remains highly dubious – especially given there are no midweek fixtures included on either list.
The first round of midweek games next season is scheduled to be carried out from Tuesday August 30 to Thursday September 1, casting doubt over the leak’s credibility.
Two lists of so-called ‘leaked’ fixtures have been circulating online over the past few days
The lists show eight rounds of games from August 6 to September 24 and then another eight from December 26 to February 11
If correct, City will start their title defense at home to Aston Villa in a repeat of their dramatic last-day encounter
Pep Guardiola’s men scored three late goals vs Villa to avoid a huge scare and retain the title
It also fails to take into account a planned international break on the weekend of September 24, a date which has a full list of fixtures despite the pause in schedule.
England, for instance, have Nations League fixtures in store on September 23 and 26, meaning Premier League teams will not be in action that weekend.
Though if the order is at least proved correct, Manchester City will begin their Premier League title defense at home to the very same team they retained it against last month.
Aston Villa are supposedly set to visit the Etihad again on Saturday August 6, three months after they gave Pep Guardiola’s men a huge scare on the final day of the previous campaign before succumbing to a dramatic late comeback.
Of the newly-promoted sides, Bournemouth are apparently going away to Everton on the opening weekend, Nottingham Forest are hosting Crystal Palace and Fulham are visiting London rivals West Ham.
‘LEAKED’ PREMIER LEAGUE OPENING WEEKEND FIXTURES
Brighton vs Arsenal
Everton vs Bournemouth
Leicester vs Leeds
Manchester City vs Aston Villa
Newcastle vs Liverpool
Nottingham Forest vs Crystal Palace
Southampton vs Chelsea
Tottenham vs Brentford
West Ham vs Fulham
Wolves vs Manchester United