United begin season with Everton trip

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Football News

Manchester United begin the 2012/13 Premier League season with a tricky away visit to Goodison Park to face Everton on August 18.

The Red Devils will start their title challenge away to David Moyes' side, before returning to Old Trafford to face Fulham in their first home game of the season. Last year's meeting between the sides saw Wayne Rooney grab the only goal of the game in a otherwise one-sided encounter. Home fans will most likely get their first look at new signing Shinji Kagawa against Martin Jol's Fulham, and United will be looking to get off to the best possible start after they were slow out of the blocks last year.

Their opening run of fixtures also includes a visit to Premier League new boys Southampton, and a home tie against Wigan Athletic on September 15.

Their first big test comes on September 22 when Sir Alex Ferguson takes his United side to Anfield to face Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool. Then begins a run of tough fixtures from late September through early November including Tottenham on September 29, Newcastle away, Stoke, Chelsea away on October 27 and Arsenal at home on November 3.

This awkward run of autumn fixtures could shape United's season going into a busy Christmas period, which also sees the resumption of hostilities between the two Manchester title challengers.

The first Manchester derby takes place at the Etihad Stadium this season on December 8, while the reverse fixture takes place at Old Trafford on April 6. United will hope to banish the memories of their 6-1 defeat at home to City last season, but they will have to wait until the April fixture to get the opportunity to do so. City did the double over their Manchester rivals last year, as they won their first Premier League title, but Sir Alex Ferguson will be desperate to redress the balance this campaign.

United play four fixtures in 14 days over a hectic Christmas period, but Ferguson's side have three home matches out of a possible four, a run which will see Sunderland, Newcastle and West Brom all visit Old Trafford. United's only away fixture over the holiday period is a tricky one though, away to Swansea on December 22. But last season, United were one of the few clubs to leave the Liberty Stadium with all three points, and Ferguson will be confident of ending the holiday period in good form.

The New Year begins with a visit to Wigan, who last year managed to nick a 1-0 win over the Red Devils at the DW Stadium. United then welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford, before visiting Tottenham a week later.

Last season's match at the Etihad Stadium was billed as a title decider but this year's fixture is slightly earlier in the season on April 6, and United have a more difficult run-in this campaign. United have the advantage of playing the second derby at home, but they face an incredibly tough end to the season.

Following the second City derby, United face an away trip to Tony Pulis' Stoke, an away visit to Arsene Wenger's Arsenal and a home tie against Chelsea on May 4 in a gruelling set of April/May fixtures.

United fans suffered the heartache of losing the Premier League title in the final minutes of a long, arduous campaign last year, and they will be hoping to avoid a repeat next season. While last season's final match ended at the Stadium of Light in disappointing fashion, Sir Alex Ferguson's side finish next year away to West Bromwich Albion on May 19, a match they hope will end with title celebrations.

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Premier League
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney

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