Premier League fixtures: Runners-up Tottenham eye title push at Wembley
The Premier League fixtures are out for the 2017-18 season -- here are five to watch for Tottenham.
Tottenham start the campaign with a trip to Newcastle United, their bogey team, aiming to exorcise the demons from their 5-1 defeat at St. James' Park on the final day of the 2015-16 season.
Their first match at Wembley, their temporary home for at least a year while their new stadium is finished, could not be much harder, with champions Chelsea the visitors, but Spurs finish with three straight home fixtures.
PREMIER LEAGUE CLUB-BY-CLUB FIXTURES 2017-18
AFC Bournemouth | Arsenal | Brighton & Hove Albion | Burnley | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Huddersfield | Leicester City
Liverpool | Manchester City | Manchester United | Newcastle United | Southampton | Stoke City | Swansea City | Tottenham Hotspur | Watford | West Bromwich Albion | West Ham United
(H) Aug. 19, 2017
(A) March 31, 2018
Tottenham's hopes of going one better and winning the Premier League title depend on quickly making Wembley feel like home, and they must have prayed for a relatively kind start at the national stadium. Instead, they will face champions Chelsea in their first home game -- a repeat of April's FA Cup semifinal, which Spurs somehow lost 4-2.
The infamous 2016 "Battle of the Bridge," which confirmed Leicester City as Premier League champions, was followed by last season's title chase and two pulsating meetings, and this is the most vitriolic and arguably the most relevant rivalry in English football right now. The return leg at Stamford Bridge, where Spurs still have not won since 1990, falls on the final day of March and could have huge implications for the title race.
(A) Nov. 18, 2017
(H) Feb. 10, 2018
While Chelsea may matter more to Mauricio Pochettino and his players, Arsenal will always be the biggest game of the season for Tottenham fans. Pochettino is still yet to lose a North London derby and Spurs' 2-0 win over Arsenal in April, in their last-ever meeting at White Hart Lane, confirmed Tottenham's first finish above their neighbours since 1994-95. Spurs will be determined to prove it was not a one-off and begin establishing the type of local dominance that Arsenal enjoyed for so many years.
The home fixture at Wembley in mid-February falls at the stage of the season where Arsenal habitually begin their annual collapse and could be followed by games in the Champions League round of 16 for Spurs or the Europa League round of 32 for both clubs.
(A) Dec. 16, 2017
(H) April 14, 2018
Since City's Qatari-windfall, the clubs have developed a competitive rivalry, based partly on a feeling in North London that Spurs would have enjoyed considerably more recent success had City not struck gold. The edge between Pep Guardiola, who is synonymous with Barcelona, and Pochettino, an Espanyol man, has added to the intrigue, creating a fascinating battle between two clubs with similar ambitions but vastly contrasting budgets and approaches.
If Kyle Walker joins City from Spurs this summer, as expected, it will add another subplot to a pair of games that are already brimming with narrative. The match at Wembley in mid-April could be a huge title decider.
West Ham United
(A) Sept. 23, 2017
(H) Dec. 30, 2018
Tottenham's visit has always been West Ham's "Cup Final" -- according to Spurs fans, at least -- and the Hammers' jubilant derailment of Spurs' title bids in the last two seasons has added more spice to this rivalry. The mutual dislike runs from the boardroom to the terraces, and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will be as desperate as any fan to beat the Hammers. The game at the Olympic Stadium will be followed by a Champions League group match for Spurs, but there is next to no chance that Pochettino will rest players for the trip across London.
(H) Oct. 21, 2017
(A) Feb. 3, 2018
Liverpool have become a bogey team for Tottenham and Jurgen Klopp appears to have got the measure of Pochettino as well as any manager in the league. The Reds' visit to Wembley in Spurs' fifth match there could prove a little too early in the season for the hosts, while the away fixture at Anfield is sandwiched in between home games against Manchester United and Arsenal, all crammed into the space of 10 days, in what could prove a make-or-break period of Tottenham's season.
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.