Early advantage Man City as Premier League fixture list released
Manchester City are the 11/8 favourites in the Premier League odds to successfully defend their Premier League title and an early look at the fixture list suggests that they already have an advantage over chief rivals Manchester United.
Sir Alex Ferguson is sure to be particularly unamused by the way the fixture list runs on the weekend games following important Champions League encounters.
Manchester City will play at home in five of their six Premier League games that directly follow fixtures in the group stages of the Champions League.
Furthermore, three of these are at home to other clubs taking part in European competition, with Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United all having to visit Eastlands after Euro games.
Meanwhile, Manchester United are away in five of their returns and somehow the majority of these are against fellow title challengers.
Liverpool, Newcastle, Chelsea and the aforementioned trip to Manchester City are all away clashes directly after Champions League fixtures and there is every chance that Sir Alex is already preparing his mind games.
However, if he does start suggesting conspiracies, he would do well to remember that they played at Old Trafford after all six of their Champions League group-stage encounters last season, including the famous 6-1 drubbing by Manchester City.
Manchester United have also been handed a seemingly harder run-in than their neighbours and there is every chance that they will need to be ahead in the title race in mid-April if wanting to be crowned champions.
The last four games of the Red Devils are Arsenal away, Chelsea at home, Swansea at home and then West Brom away on the final day.
This looks far tougher than the final four games of Manchester City, who are more than capable of taking maximum points from facing West Ham at home, Swansea and Reading away and then finally Norwich at home, which are four of the early six favourites to be relegated this season.