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 Posted by Dan Fitch
Jun 18, 2014

Tottenham start season at West Ham

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.

It is fast becoming a tradition that, on the eve of the Premier League fixture announcement, there will be allegations of a "leak" that will reveal the opening day matches.

A couple of days ago, Twitter was awash with talk that Tottenham would start the season at home against Leicester. Anyone who believed this rumour should have a look at Spurs' history of opening day fixtures.

They very rarely get the chance to start the season at White Hart Lane. For some reason, it's always Arsenal that kick off on their own doorstep, and it happens far too often. Coincidence?

That said, at least Tottenham begins their schedule with a cracker. The short trip to West Ham is always one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures in the calendar and, on this occasion, it will be served with a side-portion of revenge.

Somehow, the Hammers beat Tottenham three times last season, so you can expect to see their fans sporting a great deal of overpriced merchandise in celebration of that fact come August. The best way to put last season's anomaly to bed is to get back to their winning ways. Don't let us down, boys.

West Ham is followed by home games against QPR and Liverpool. The return of Harry Redknapp to White Hart Lane, followed by the visit of a potential title winner, ensure that the opening fixtures will be eagerly anticipated.

It's not the easiest start that the club could have, but it is nicely balanced nonetheless and the opening months of the season continue in this vein.

September sees the first North London derby at Arsenal, while October features a trip to Manchester City and November has a home match against Everton. Those games are counterbalanced with games Spurs will be expected to win.

Yet, if the fixture computer has been relatively kind in the opening months, the run-in looks tricky. April features three away games, with one at home, while in May Tottenham will host a Manchester City side that will, no doubt, be challenging for the title, followed by tough trips to Stoke and Everton.

I've never quite understood why the Premier League season must feature the odd consecutive run of home or away games, rather than simply alternating each week. I'm sure there is a tedious reasoning behind the decision, but all I know for certain is that it normally messes with my Christmas.

The festive period is, of course, a time where people are expected to spend time with those nearest and dearest to them. Traditionally that means breaking bread with your family, rather than leaving them at home to go watch a bunch of multi-millionaires kick a ball around. For the fan who likes to attend games, though, the holiday fixtures are always among the first to receive scrutiny.

White Hart Lane hosts Manchester United and Chelsea between Christmas and New Year's Day

The Boxing Day fixture list is meant to give visiting supporters a short trip, but Spurs have been gifted an away day at Leicester. Two days later Tottenham host Manchester United, followed by another home match against Chelsea on New Year's Day.

I have been known to swerve one of these games so my wife doesn't divorce me, so I'm not particularly happy that Spurs have been scheduled to play two of their glamour fixtures at such a busy time of year. From the perspective of the team's likely success in these matches, it doesn't look too good.

Of course the biggest day in any Tottenham fan's calendar -- even bigger than Christmas -- is the home match with Arsenal. That is provisionally scheduled to take place on April 7 at 3 p.m.

In reality, though, it will be shown on television, which means the match is unlikely to be played on that day and certainly won't kick off at that time. Meanwhile, the Europa League will ensure that many of Tottenham's games will take place on Sundays.

It's a development that I have bemoaned for many seasons now, but I suppose that it's appropriate that I largely attend my chosen place of "worship" on that day!

Regardless of when the games will be played, the release of these fixtures have whetted my appetite for a return to my spiritual home.

The World Cup? Fast forward please. August can't come quick enough.

Dan Fitch

Dan Fitch is a freelance journalist and the founder of TottenhamBlog. A regular at White Hart Lane, he writes about Spurs for ESPN and football in general for Bleacher Report. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DJFitch.