Football: United head to West Brom for EPL opener

LONDON, June 17, 2011 (AFP) - Champions Manchester United will kick off the defence of their Premier League crown at West Brom before facing Tottenham and Arsenal at Old Trafford, fixtures for the 2010/2011 season showed Friday.

United will travel to The Hawthorns on August 13 before consecutive home games against Spurs and old rivals Arsenal.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team will complete their domestic campaign with a trip to Sunderland on May 13 next year.

Arsenal meanwhile will open their season against Newcastle at St James Park, where the Gunners squandered a 4-0 lead earlier this year as the Magpies battled back to draw 4-4.

Arsene Wenger's men then have a daunting home fixture against Liverpool before travelling to Old Trafford for their tie with United.

Chelsea meanwhile open their campaign at Stoke before facing West Brom at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool new signing Jordan Henderson will meet his old club Sunderland on the opening day at Anfield before the Reds travel to London to face Arsenal.

"It's a massive test early on. It's nice to have a home game first," Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard told

"Hopefully we will have a few new signings in and we can start the season with three points which would give us the confidence to then go and get a good result at Arsenal. That is a difficult place to go and we haven't won there for a while."

Newly promoted Swansea have a baptism of fire against Manchester City at Eastlands.

Swansea's first home game will be against Wigan, meaning an emotional return for Latics boss Roberto Martinez who left the club two years ago.

Swansea's season concludes against Liverpool at home on May 13.

Of the other Premier League newcomers, QPR make their return to the topflight after a 15-year absence at home to Bolton while Norwich travel to Wigan.

QPR boss Neil Warnock said he was relishing the opportunity of leading a team in the Premier League once more.

"It's just fabulous to be involved," he told Sky Sports News. "When you see the fixtures it's so exciting. It doesn't matter who you play, the Premier League is where we all want to be. It's just fabulous to be involved.

"I think the thing is to try to play without fear. We know we're going to have one or two defeats but it's how you bounce back in the Premier League - and our home record's always been good.

"I'm really glad I'm in the Premier League and I've got to make sure whoever plays us it's difficult for them."

Warnock meanwhile is hoping to bolster his playing staff as he seeks to build a squad capable of staying the course.

"The lads that took us up deserve a chance - but I've got to get the right players to make the team better," he said.

"It's difficult at the moment but I'm going to persevere.

"I've spoken to (Blackpool manager) Ian Holloway and he thought where he made a mistake was not getting a squad big enough by the end of August and we don't want to make that mistake if we can help it."

In other opening day games, Tottenham and Everton meet at White Hart Lane, Fulham and Aston Villa meet at Craven Cottage and Blackburn entertain Wolves at Ewood Park.

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