World Football

Premier League Fixtures 2014-15: Date, Time and More for Club Schedule Release

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho arrives for a training session at Cobham in England, Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Chelsea will play a Champions League semifinal second leg soccer match against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2014

Although world football is currently gripped in 2014 World Cup mania, the 2014-15 Premier League season is never far from the spectator's thoughts.

Manchester City will enter the campaign as defending champions, and Manuel Pellegrini's side will find out on Wednesday exactly which course its term will take.

Burnley, Leicester City and Queens Park Rangers, meanwhile, all come back to the top flight, each boasting their respective share of fairly recent Premier League experience and hoping the fixture list will be kind to them above all others.

A Premier League campaign is kind to none of those competing. However, recent history, managerial changes and summer transfer dealings mean some clubs have more pressure on their shoulders to perform this season than others.

 

Date: Wednesday 18 June

Time: 9 a.m. BST/4 a.m. ET

 

Teams Under Most Pressure To Succeed

Manchester United

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MAY 31:  Netherlands Manager, Louis van Gaal walks off the ground at full time during the International Friendly match between Netherlands and Ghana at De Kuip on May 31, 2014 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropou
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

No club will be under the microscope more this season than Manchester United, coming off the back of a seventh-place finish last term and hoping that Louis van Gaal can embrace the "Chosen One" tag that David Moyes could not.

The Dutch manager's involvement at the World Cup means that the Red Devils won't be getting much major business done until after the tournament is over, as is the case for most clubs.

Despite this, Eurosport say that the English giants are closing in on a deal to take out-of-favour centre-back Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal's hands:

However, with European football eluding them this term, there isn't any option but for the side to return to the upper echelon while their peers participating in the Champions League and Europa League have added distractions.

Back in February, ESPN explained that failure to reach the top four would see United lose out on up to £70 million between losses in the commercial realm and stadium attendances for continental football.

One season out isn't likely to dent the club's project too significantly, but to disappoint like that again could be disastrous in the long run.

 

Queens Park Rangers

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 24:  Danny Simpson (centre left), Bobby Zamora (centre right) and the QPR team celebrate with the trophy after their victory in the Sky Bet Championship Playoff Final match between Derby County and Queens Park Rangers at Wembley Stad
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Having spent just a season in England's second tier, QPR will get another crack of the Premier League whip next term, with Bobby Zamora's last-gasp Championship playoff-final goal easing them back into the elite.

One could certainly attribute a large part of their previous downfall to the spending pattern the club took and indeed still promotes, although perhaps not to the same extent.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 24: QPR fans wave flags during the Sky Bet Championship Playoff Final match between Derby County and Queens Park Rangers at Wembley Stadium on May 24, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Big transfer fees followed up with long-term and lucrative contracts made for a poor formula when there was no sense of cohesion in the squad, something Harry Redknapp may feel he now has more of a handle on.

The club's official Twitter account paraphrases Redknapp in stating as much, highlighting this summer's spending as a particular point of improvement:

That being said, the Hoops have no excuses this time around; a lot of their squad is still left over from when the side initiated its splurging under Tony Fernandes' funding, and the experience in their line-up gives them a distinct advantage over fellow new boys Leicester and Burnley.

Avoiding relegation will undoubtedly be priority No. 1 if the club is to do away with any false expectations, but even that may not be attainable if old habits rear their heads.

 

Chelsea

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Having failed to clinch a trophy last season, Jose Mourinho is taking no time in reshaping his squad into one that he feels can go that extra mile next term.

Charlie Skillen of the Daily Mail confirmed Cesc Fabregas as the latest addition to the Portuguese's midfield earlier this week, while the £50 million sale of David Luiz to Paris Saint-Germain helps ease that outgoing somewhat:

That comes on top of the news that Diego Costa is soon to be added as what the club will hope to be the vital piece in its attacking puzzle, with the Spanish international telling Duncan Castles of Goal.com that he's close to sealing a Stamford Bridge switch:

Why would I have chosen to play for Chelsea? It is a thing that is about to happen. Things are going in a direction and, if they keep going as they are going, it is the team I will play for in the next season.

I've wanted to play in the Premier League for a while. Chelsea are one of the greatest clubs of the world so there are many factors that make you take a decision like this.

The transfer window isn't officially open until 1 July, but it seems the Blues won't let such obstacles block their path, but the problem with so much business is that it, of course, increases expectation, too.

Mourinho won't want to forget what silverware tastes like on a consistent basis, and the "Special One" is perhaps under even more pressure than Manchester City or Liverpool to take Premier League honours in 2014-15.

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