Manchester City and Liverpool will come straight out of Champions League midweek action into the fire of a Premier League showdown in October.

After battling to the final day of the 2021-22 campaign in a title tussle that City edged, few would be surprised to see Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp's teams again battling it out for supremacy.

Chelsea, no longer owned by Roman Abramovich, will look to stake a claim, while Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal will hope to improve on last season's efforts.

A host of early season games catch the eye, perhaps none more than the Old Trafford clash between Manchester United and Liverpool on August 20.

Liverpool twice outclassed United last season, but it could be a different story now Erik ten Hag has moved into the Red Devils top job. The former Ajax head coach would make a major early statement if his team can deliver on that day

Here, Stats Perform looks at key games in the new season, after the fixtures were released on Thursday.


Chelsea v Tottenham - August 13

After a tricky opener at Everton, Chelsea face Tottenham in their first Stamford Bridge game of the campaign. It will mean Antonio Conte again returning to the club where he was a Premier League and FA Cup winner, looking to give Spurs an early season lift.

Chelsea will be a team to keep close tabs on in the post-Abramovich era, and last season's third-placed finishers will have an early examination of their credentials against the side who snatched fourth in May. These two are likely to be battling to finish as London's top team again, but could either finish any higher than third in the table this time around?

Newcastle United v Manchester City - August 20

Are Newcastle United going to pose any threat to the top six? This fixture might give us an indication.

Eddie Howe's side will have home advantage against the champions, and the Saudi-backed Magpies, thrashed 5-0 and 4-0 by City last season, must show greater defiance this time around.

Manchester United v Liverpool - August 20

Games against Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford will mark Erik ten Hag's introduction to the Premier League. Going on last season's evidence, there is no guarantee United will breeze through those assignments, but they will hope to have banked six points by the time they encounter Liverpool, their fiercest rivals.

Jurgen Klopp's side walloped United 5-0 and 4-0 in the 2021-22 campaign, underlining the gulf in class between the two squads, and Ten Hag surely cannot afford such a similar morale-draining outcome this time.

Everton v Liverpool - September 3

Derby day. Will Frank Lampard's Everton kick on after the relief of avoiding relegation last term, or can Klopp's Reds follow last season's league double with another win at Goodison Park?

Anything other than a Liverpool victory would be a major surprise, of course, as Lampard battles to make his mark on Merseyside.

Manchester City v Tottenham - September 10

Sandwiched between the first two rounds of Champions League group games, this cheeky little number is one to watch. Tottenham did the league double over City last season, inflicting two of their three defeats in the competition.

Pep Guardiola will know what damage the likes of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski can inflict, but can he stop those lethal Spurs counter-attacks this time?

Derby double: Arsenal v Tottenham, Manchester City v Manchester United - October 1

This promises to be quite some weekend, with north London and Manchester bragging rights up for grabs. Tottenham's 3-0 win over Arsenal in May paved the way for Spurs to pip their neighbours to a place in the Champions League, which left the Gunners hurting. In the north west, United barely threatened a top-four finish last term, and it is hard to see how Ten Hag mounts any sort of challenge to City's supremacy in the new campaign.

There was a 35-point gap between the sides at the end of the season, and it is essential that United at least get much closer. Games such as these can be catalysts for change, or they can be an opportunity for a side such as City to show their teeth and inflict more damage. Both return games are scheduled for January 14.

Liverpool v Manchester City - October 15

After the fourth round of Champions League group games in midweek, Liverpool and City switch their combined focus to this Anfield heavyweight battle. They are scheduled to play again on April 1, but this tussle on Merseyside provides the first Premier League meeting of the season between the title favourites.

Both league games finished 2-2 last season between these sides, while Liverpool sank City's hopes in the FA Cup semi-finals, only to miss out on the Premier League title after final-day high drama.

Could new recruits Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez make their mark on the hottest fixture on the calendar?

Nottingham Forest v Liverpool - October 22

A welcome return to the top-flight calendar for a classic fixture. Forest were a major force in the English game for many years, and a 23-year absence from the Premier League has made the heart grow fonder.

This City Ground game will stir up memories of Brian Clough's sides going head-to-head with those of Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish, and the classic games that ensued. Forest are unlikely to threaten the top six in the new campaign, but their presence among the elite again under Steve Cooper's assured leadership could see them serve up one or two big shocks.

Chelsea v Manchester City - January 2

The World Cup puts the Premier League campaign on hold for six weeks in mid-season, with a December 26 resumption soon followed by this meaty match-up.

By this point of the season, it should be reasonably clear which direction these teams are heading towards, and there can be no Qatar 2022 hangover for the players.

City took 1-0 wins home and away last season when these sides met in the league. Their second clash of the 2022-23 campaign comes on the penultimate weekend, pencilled in for May 20, and that could turn out to be even more significant than this contest.

Arsenal v Manchester United - January 21

Nobody expects Arsenal or United to win the Premier League this season. The Gunners have not lifted the trophy since their 2003-04 'Invincibles' season, while United were last champions in 2012-13.

Expect a barren decade in the competition to be completed for the Red Devils, but also expect an improvement under Ten Hag's leadership. This fixture carries a slowly diminishing cachet, but the prospect of Mikel Arteta and Ten Hag jostling for position in and around the Champions League places means it could be a massive moment in the season for these flagging yet still proud giants. They also meet in early September, but the stakes will be higher come this contest.