If Manchester United are going to defend their Premier League title it will come under the guidance of David Moyes, who replaced legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Now, the club also knows the schedule it will need to navigate.
The Red Devils' complete fixture list for the 2013-14 season has been released, as seen here on the club's official site.
Let's take a glance at the 38-match road United will have to travel, followed by a breakdown of the biggest challenges the club will face.
|Aug. 17||Swansea City||Road|
|Sept. 14||Crystal Palace||Home|
|Sept. 21||Manchester City||Road|
|Sept. 28||West Bromwich Albion||Home|
|Oct. 26||Stoke City||Home|
|Nov. 23||Cardiff City||Road|
|Nov. 30||Tottenham Hotspur||Road|
|Dec. 7||Newcastle United||Home|
|Dec. 14||Aston Villa||Road|
|Dec. 21||West Ham United||Home|
|Dec. 26||Hull City||Road|
|Dec. 28||Norwich City||Road|
|Jan. 1||Tottenham Hotspur||Home|
|Jan. 11||Swansea City||Home|
|Jan. 28||Cardiff City||Home|
|Feb. 1||Stoke City||Road|
|Feb. 22||Crystal Palace||Road|
|Mar. 1||Manchester City||Home|
|Mar. 8||West Bromwich Albion||Road|
|Mar. 22||West Ham United||Road|
|Mar. 29||Aston Villa||Home|
|Apr. 5||Newcastle United||Road|
|Apr. 12||Hull City||Home|
|Apr. 26||Norwich City||Home|
As always, the first thing United supporters look for when the fixtures are released are the matchups with Manchester City—for good reason, of course. Not only are they big local rivalry games, but they are key in the title chase, as well.
City pose the biggest challenge after winning the title two seasons ago. They already have an elite squad and will likely bolster it with some summer recruits to join the likes of Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany and David Silva, who seek a return to the top.
Along with City, the biggest matches on the schedule are those against the clubs perennially battling for Champions League spots. Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham were the only other sides to finish with more than 70 points last season.
The goal for Robin van Persie and Co. in those eight turning-point fixtures is winning at home and drawing on the road. It's certainly a daunting task, but pulling it off would put United on a clear path to yet another championship.
A lot will depend on how Moyes handles the squad. Ferguson gained the respect of players during his nearly three decades with the club. That process is just getting started for the former Everton boss, who faces the toughest task of his managerial career.
Striking the right balance between what players became accustomed to under Ferguson and making changes to fit his personal preferences—in terms of building a squad and in-match tactics—is what Moyes must do on the fly during his first campaign.
The smoother the transition, the better United's hopes of repeating as Premier League champs. The talent is there. From Van Persie leading the attack to David de Gea protecting the goal and everybody in between, the Red Devils are ready for another successful season.
How they perform in the 38 matches listed above will determine exactly how successful that is.
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