Featured Matches
Previous
Colorado
Chivas USA
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Atlas
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Cruz Azul
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Argentinos Juniors
9:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Talleres de Córdoba
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Standard Liege
Royal Charleroi SC
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Queen's Park
Berwick Rangers
1
1
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Grimsby Town
Mansfield Town
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Morecambe
Preston North End
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Bolton Wanderers
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AFC Bournemouth
Southampton
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Philadelphia Union
Crystal Palace
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
West Ham United
Sydney FC
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Wellington Phoenix FC
Newcastle United
4:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Queen's Park
Berwick Rangers
1
1
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Standard Liege
Royal Charleroi SC
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Vestsjaelland
Odense BK
3
1
FT
Game Details
UCD
Derry City
Postp
Game Details
Bohemians
Cork
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Shamrock
Drogheda Utd
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Colorado
Chivas USA
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Atlas
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Cruz Azul
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Argentinos Juniors
9:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Talleres de Córdoba
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlante
Altamira
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Mineros de Zacatecas
Necaxa
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Oeste
Luverdense
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
América RN
América Mineiro
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Boa MG
Bragantino
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Antofagasta
Audax Italiano
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Real Garcilaso
Melgar
1
1
FT
Game Details
Nacional
Deportivo Capiatá
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Western New York Flash
Boston Breakers
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Next

No recent activity

Jun 18, 2014

Manchester City's title defence will be challenged by roller-coaster fixture list

ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson takes a look at the recently released 2014-15 Premier League fixtures, with a glimpse into Manchester United and Manchester City's upcoming campaigns.

Having got the "difficult second title" out of the way, Manchester City fans woke up on Wednesday morning wondering who would be the first team to face the Blues in their second defence of the Premier League championship. In the end, the news was a bit "same old story"... It was Newcastle, just like last season's opening -- except this time it's the reverse fixture.

There's always a running battle when it's announced what the fixture computer has thrown up (before the TV companies and cup replays hack it to bits and plaster it back together in a different order, that is). It seems as though there are two sets of fans: Those who don't think it matters who plays when because all teams face each other twice anyway, and those who think it's vital to a team's chances.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle of those two points. A prime example from last season is that the Blues lost at Cardiff in the second game, largely because the Bluebirds were still flying high from promotion, and their chairman hadn't gone radio rental. Chelsea and Liverpool both visited the Cardiff City Stadium when the Welsh side were virtually dead and buried, having a much easier time.

Yet the point remains -- City should have won that game anyway, having been in front in the second half.

It's fair to say that the Blues don't have the easiest of starts when it comes to defending their title. The three other teams that qualified for the Champions League are all opponents in the first five matches, with a notoriously difficult trip to Stoke (where City haven't ever won in the Premier League in six attempts) sandwiched in the middle. Still, it'd be good to get them out of the way and build up some steam in the runs of the "easier" games ... I use that term cautiously.

Manuel Pellegrini's Man City will be tested in the early months of the Premier League season.

The Manchester derbies come along in November and April, with the first being just enough time away for Manuel Pellegrini to assess the impact Louis van Gaal is having at the Reds, and the second being near enough to the end of the season to be crucial to both sides.

One of the biggest concerns for City's fans might be the Champions League, with the group games falling in between some tough matches. A trip to the Emirates and Chelsea's visit to the Etihad flank the first, while the aforementioned opening Manchester derby follows the third. Away games with Southampton and Leicester, both of which could be difficult depending on their respective fortunes, follow the final two group games respectively.

The now traditional 1-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light will come in December (honestly, I don't know why City don't just agree to give Sunderland the game and let both sides have a rest week), while January looks like another tough month -- with trips to Chelsea and Everton flanking the home game with Arsenal. Pray for an easy FA Cup draw with no replays, City fans!

However, the fixture computer has been quite kind when it comes to the run-in. At perhaps one of the most important times of the year, City face just one of last season's top six in their final six games -- with the last match against one of 2013-14's top four coming in a February trip to Anfield.

In fact, only three of the last 11 opponents were top-half finishers last season. So there's certainly opportunity for Pellegrini's men to build up some momentum for a final push toward the title.

Finally, there's the standout Christmas period -- which could be a positive time for the Blues, too. Three of the four fixtures that come in quick succession are at home, meaning there's little traveling for the squad, and the three to start the run (Crystal Palace at home, West Brom away and Burnley at home) are very winnable.

That's before the inevitable home draw with Sunderland on New Year's Day.

All in all, the opening few weeks of the season might not make pleasant watching for City fans if all doesn't go to plan, but there's certainly plenty of positives to be taken from the fixtures heading into the spring.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.