sport

Newcastle first for champions

Defending champions Manchester City will open up the new season with a trip to St James’ Park to face Newcastle on 16 August.

City then face an early test of their credentials when last season's runners-up Liverpool come to the Etihad Stadium on 23 August.

Brendan Rodgers' side ran the champions close in 2013/14 and will be keen to show they are in the title hunt once again.

September brings with it two more stand-out fixtures, with back-to-back league games against Arsenal and Chelsea.

Manuel Pellegrini will take his side to the Emirates on 13 September before City entertain Chelsea a week later.

The first Manchester derby is scheduled for 1 November, with City hosting rivals United - the return fixture will take place at Old Trafford on 11 April.

The busy Christmas period sees City face West Brom away on Boxing Day before facing Sunderland at the Etihad on New Year's Day 2015.

Reverse fixtures with Arsenal and Chelsea follow on 17 and 31 January, respectively, with the trip to Anfield coming up on 28 February.

Pellegrini's side face Tottenham away on 2 May, with a home game against Southampton rounding off their campaign on 24 May.

Opening three games:August 16 - Newcastle (a)August 23 - Liverpool (h)August 30 - Stoke (h)