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Premier League fixtures: Tough April for title-chasing Man City

Pep Guardiola has high hopes for the coming season.

The Premier League fixtures are out for the 2017-18 season and Manchester City kick off the season with the first ever Premier League match at Brighton's Amex Stadium.

City are also on the south coast for the final game of the season in May at Southampton, which they hope will be a title party. But there is a long way to go before then in what could be one of the most competitive title races in recent years with six genuine contenders. Here are five key fixtures to watch for City.

Liverpool

(H) Sept. 9, 2017

(A) Jan. 13, 2018

Jurgen Klopp's side had the best record against the top six last season, and September's clash at the Etihad Stadium will be an early barometer of how much City have progressed in Guardiola's second season. Anfield is also City's ultimate bogey ground with just one win there in their last 30 visits. They will happy to have both fixtures out of the way by mid-January.

Chelsea

(A) Sept. 30, 2017

(H) Mar. 3, 2018

Chelsea must start the season as favourites to defend their title, but Antonio Conte's side will have the extra burden of Champions League football. Guardiola felt his side were better when they met at the Etihad Stadium last season. He can't afford two more defeats if City are to challenge for the title.

Arsenal

(H) November 4, 2017

(A) Feb. 24, 2018

Arsenal haven't been serious title contenders for a number of seasons, but no Champions League football next season means they must be again be taken seriously. City were the better side in both clashes last season but only won one of the games -- by a single goal -- while they also lost an FA Cup semifinal.

Manchester United

(A) Dec. 9, 2017

(H) Apr. 7, 2018

Last season it was supposed to be all about Guardiola vs. Jose Mourinho. It didn't turn out that, but both will expect to make significant improvements in the summer. The second derby at the Etihad in April but could potentially be a crucial game in the title race and the timing of it could be significant -- coming in the middle of both legs of a potential Champions League quarterfinal for either club.

Tottenham

(H) Dec. 16, 2017

(A) Apr. 14, 2018

Spurs have finished above City for the past two seasons -- winning three of their last four Premier League clashes and drawing the other -- and Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping to go even better this season. Both fixtures are set to come at key stages of the season -- following on from derbies the previous weekend for City and with potential midweek fixtures just days before both games.

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.

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