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Man City kick off season at home to Southampton

LONDON (Reuters) – English Premier League champions Manchester City will kick off their title defence at home to promoted Southampton on August 18 before facing Liverpool at Anfield the following weekend.

Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, runners-up last season, kick off their campaign at Everton and then host Fulham, while Newcastle United start out at home to currently managerless Tottenham Hotspur.

Roberto Di Matteo, now confirmed as permanent Chelsea boss, takes the Blues on the road to Wigan Athletic before two home games against Newcastle and Reading and then a trip to west London rivals QPR.

Arsenal, who finished third last season, start with a home match against Sunderland.

Steve Clarke, the former Liverpool first team coach who left Anfield to replace England manager Roy Hodgson at West Bromwich Albion, welcomes his previous club to the Hawthorns for their opener.

The opening fixtures published on Monday also have Liverpool, under the new guidance of Brendan Rodgers, at home to Arsenal for their third match of the season on September 1.

Former Barcelona great Michael Laudrup’s Premier League managerial debut with Welsh side Swansea City takes his club to Queens Park Rangers managed by Mark Hughes, the former Wales international who also played for Barcelona in the 1980s.

Promoted West Ham United and Reading are at home to Aston Villa and Stoke City for their opening games back in the top flight.

Published Date: Sunday, June 17th, 2012 | 11:42 PM

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