Premier League fixtures: 10 games to define title race including Man City, Man United Liverpool and Chelsea

The Premier League fixtures for the 2021/22 season are out and Manchester City are the hot favourites to defend their title.

Pep Guardiola’s side open up at Tottenham, who will have a new manager in place, while Liverpool will look to rebound after a tough season and challenge once more.

Jurgen Klopp’s side begin their season at Norwich, while Thomas Tuchel has shown signs of a potential title push by inspiring Chelsea to Champions League glory, proving they have the match for City with their third win in two months over Guardiola’s champions.

Crystal Palace are first up for the Blues, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under pressure to at least get closer to his city rivals, with Manchester United facing Leeds in one of the best matches from the opening weekend.

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Here are 10 matches that could decide the outcome of the Premier League title race:

Liverpool vs Man City – 2 October

After finishing strongly following a nightmare season, Jurgen Klopp’s side have their first shot at the champions at Anfield here.

The wildcard is that it will be just a few days after the second group stage round of Champions League fixtures, so fortune will be a factor here with one or both sides at risk of enduring a big trip in the hours before.

Presuming Liverpool can start well, a win here would completely validate any fresh title ambitions and launch an impressive rebound season.

Manchester United v Manchester City – 6 November

The first Manchester derby of the season and while it will not be decisive for Pep Guardiola’s side given their strong push after a sluggish start last season, it could spell the start or the end of a title push for United given their tricky run either side of this contest at Old Trafford.

There could be added pressure on Solskjaer if the results in this gauntlet leading up to the derby go badly for the Red Devils: Leicester (A), Champions League group stage match, Liverpool (H), Tottenham (A), Champions League group stage match.

Leicester City v Liverpool – 28 December

This is just 48 hours after a Boxing Day match against Leeds for the Reds, with Brendan Rodgers’ side next before a trip to Stamford Bridge (more of that in a moment).

The Foxes will have top four ambitions while juggling a Europa League campaign, meaning Jurgen Klopp will have to find the right combination while juggle his squad during this busy period.

Chelsea v Liverpool – 1 January

A crucial game to both teams and their hopes for 2022 and an amazing way to start the New Year in the Premier League.

Both teams will believe they can push Manchester City close this year and with fatigue setting in from the festive schedule and both teams possessing players destined to leave for the Africa Cup of Nations, this one spark both positive and negative form over the coming weeks.

Manchester City v Chelsea – 15 January

Thomas Tuchel’s side will not have Edouard Mendy here due to the Africa Cup of Nations, and Kepa Arrizabalaga looks destined for the Stamford Bridge exit this summer.

So a new signing, with Willy Caballero released, could play a decisive role in how the Blues’ season goes here, with a daunting trip to the Etihad off the back of facing Liverpool and a week out from a London derby with Spurs.

Liverpool vs Leicester City – 9 February

Another clash with the Foxes for the Reds and this time it’s tricky for different circumstances.

With the Africa Cup of Nations into its latter stages, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, as well as Naby Keita, could miss this one if Egypt, Senegal or Guinea reach the final on 6 February.

Manchester City v Manchester United – 5 March

The second derby of the season, which could occur days before one of these side’s second leg for a round of 16 Champions League tie.

If United can hang this long in the season with the champions, this game could provide the impetus to at least challenge right through to April and beyond.

Manchester City v Liverpool – 9 April

The second instalment of the past two champions, with enough games (six) remaining to prove decisive to closing form.

Also remember: this will be sandwiched between both Champions League quarter-finals, so it’s feasible (probable?) that both teams will face a mini-gauntlet over just one week here.

Manchester United v Chelsea – 15 May

This is the biggest game of the final few rounds, which means it could be redundant if City, Liverpool or another side are well clear by this point, but both these teams have title ambitions and will know this could be the final hurdle towards a historic season.

Manchester City v Aston Villa – 22 May

A leap here that the title race stretches to the final round of games, but if it does then City could be in for a tough one to close it out and defend their title.

Dean Smith’s side look primed to build again and already have some key pieces, while making the impressive signing of Emi Buendia from Norwich.

Villa can take inspiration from Leicester’s push for a top four finish and could emerge as dark horses for that particular race, if not at least a Europa spot, meaning there will be extra motivation here to deny City three points on the final day.

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