Chelsea’s season starts at Wigan

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Football News

Chelsea face a trip to Wigan Athletic in their opening fixture of the 2012/13 Premier League season.

It will be Roberto di Matteo’s first competitive game in charge of the Blues as permanent manager after his appointment was confirmed last week.

Chelsea’s second fixture will be at Stamford Bridge and the visitors Newcastle United, who were 2-0 victors there last season and ended any chance of a top four finish for Roman Abramovich’s club in the process.

September 1 was scheduled to be a home tie with newly promoted Reading, but the Blues’ participation in the UEFA Super Cup mean it will have to be rearranged.

An appearance in the FIFA World Club Cup will mean the mid-December fixture against another newly promoted side, Southampton, is also moved to an alternative date.

Di Matteo had a successful end to last season, winning both the FA Cup and Champions League, but this year he will be charged with taking the club back into the top four.

Trips to Arsenal and QPR are the standout fixtures from September, while the period over October and November sees them take on Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane before welcoming Manchester United, Liverpool and champions Manchester City in the space of six fixtures.

The busy Christmas and New Year period could have been worse, but visits to Norwich City on Boxing Day and Everton three days later, before the return meeting with QPR on New Year’s Day, will provide a physical test in a tiring part of the year.

The final day of the season is a home tie with Everton, but the last six games for Chelsea take in trips to both Liverpool and Manchester United after the home clash against Spurs.

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Roberto Di Matteo

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