The fixtures for the 2015-16 Premier League season were released on Wednesday, 17th June, 2015 allowing supporters of the 20 top-flight clubs to imagine what might be when the new campaign kicks off.
The opening weekend’s highlights include Liverpool returning to the scene of their 6-1 mauling on the final day of last season, Manchester United host Spurs and champions Chelsea meet Garry Monk’s Swansea.
From there, all will take 38 games to decide their own individual fate – after all, those are the rules – and subsequently the destination of the Premier League title, the European spots and those dreaded relegation places.
But do we really need to wait for the action to unfold to find out what happens? Or can we not just figure it out ahead of time?
We run through 5 of the key matches which could shape the season ahead
Manchester City vs Chelsea (August 15)
The title favourites pitched into battle on the second weekend of the season gives both the chance to strike an early advantage. For Manuel Pellegrini, defeat would again raise questions over his stewardship of last season’s underachievers.
Manchester United vs Liverpool (September 12)
If Pellegrini is entering the season under scrutiny, then surely the microscopes are centered on Anfield and Brendan Rodgers. A trip to Old Trafford in week five is probably not what he needs.
Everton vs Liverpool (October 3)
If Rodgers does survive until October, then surely he cannot afford defeat in the first Merseyside derby of the season. Equally, Everton’s Roberto Martinez has something to prove after last year’s disappointment and such fixtures can make or break a manager.
Manchester United vs Manchester City (October 24)
Louis van Gaal was perhaps forgiven too much on occasions last season. This time around it will be a different story and victories over United’s city rivals are a must.
Arsenal vs Tottenham (November 7)
The north London derby has become a bit on an irrelevance in recent seasons, with both clubs never truly threatening top position for the entirety of a campaign. In Arsenal’s case, this year looks to be shaping up differently.
Manchester United vs Chelsea (December 28)
It is a time of year when all manner of results are thrown up and outcomes can shape transfer-window thinking. United can only hope they are still in touch with Chelsea as the curtain comes down on 2015.