The Barclays Premier League fixture list for the 2011/12 season was released today, with Manchester United facing a tough start.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side will play West Brom, Spurs, Arsenal, Bolton and Chelsea in their first five games of the campaign.

Meanwhile, title rivals Chelsea start at Stoke, while Arsenal travel to Newcastle and Liverpool welcome Sunderland to Anfield.

Former Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish has been confirmed as Aston Villa boss, despite protests from fans.

Chelsea are also expected to confirm their new manager next week, with Guus Hiddink set to be appointed at Stamford Bridge.

Elsewhere, Manchester United are set to rival Chelsea for Tottenham's Luka Modric. A £22 million bid from Roman Abramovich was rejected this week.

United are said to be ready to offer Dimitar Berbatov as part of the deal, although Modric has insisted he is happy to stay at Spurs.


Arsenal have been handed a transfer boost with the news that Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri are likely to stay at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsene Wenger is also close to strengthening his side with the signings of Gervinho and Chris Samba. The Gunners have also been linked with Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o.

Manchester City and Chelsea have joined the race for Udinese winger Alexis Sanchez. Barcelona are also keen on the £32 million striker.

Liverpool are set to sign French winger Sylvain Marveaux as Kenny Dalglish continues to add to his squad at Anfield.

And, finally, Kevin Nolan has joined newly-relegated West Ham, linking up with former boss Sam Allardyce.

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