Tottenham's first Wembley foe is Chelsea; more Premier League schedule key dates
MANCHESTER, England (AP) – Premier League champion Chelsea will be the first visitor to Tottenham's temporary home of Wembley Stadium as part of a tough-looking start to its title defense.
The Premier League schedule for the 2017-18 season was published Wednesday, with Chelsea playing Burnley at home in the opening round in mid-August.
It then gets more difficult for Antonio Conte and his team, which takes on Tottenham in the second round before games against Leicester away and Manchester City, Arsenal and Everton at home as part of their first seven games.
Tottenham, which was runner-up to Chelsea last season, is playing its home games in the Premier League at Wembley this season while a new stadium is being constructed on the site of the club's old White Hart Lane.
Tottenham lost to Chelsea in an FA Cup semifinal match at Wembley last season, and also lost two of its three games at the national stadium in the group stage of the Champions League.
Its poor record at Wembley has raised questions about whether playing there will hamper the team's title chances, at a time when Tottenham has perhaps its best lineup in a generation.
The Manchester derbies between United and City are on the weekend of Dec. 9-10, at Old Trafford, and the weekend of April 7-8, at Etihad Stadium.
There will be a typically intense schedule of games over the Christmas period, with teams potentially facing four matches in nine days from Dec. 23-Jan. 1.
In the opening round, Brighton's first ever Premier League game is at home against Man City, while Huddersfield's first top-tier game since 1972 is at Crystal Palace. Newcastle, the other promoted club, starts out at home against Tottenham.
West Ham faces playing its first three games away from its home at the London Stadium - the centerpiece of the 2012 Olympics - because the venue will be hosting the world athletics championship from Aug. 4-13.
West Ham's first home game is scheduled for Aug. 19 against Southampton but the stadium will not be ready to host soccer matches at that time. The club said the game will be rescheduled, potentially with Southampton hosting the match.
The Premier League season begins on Aug. 12.