The Premier League will release their fixtures for the 2020/21 campaign at 9am on Thursday – but Manchester United and Manchester City will not be included in the opening round.
Top-flight clubs are gearing up for the quickest turnaround between two campaigns in history, with the 2019/20 season only drawing to a close on July 26 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Having spent almost three months out of action during lockdown, teams will only have 30 days off following the conclusion of their 2019/20 campaign before the new season gets underway.
The opening round of fixtures are due to begin on September 12, yet United and City will be given extra time to rest after their European exploits last week.
Both Manchester clubs suffered defeat in their respective competitions; the Red Devils were beaten 2-1 by Sevilla in the semi-finals of the Europa League on Sunday, while Pep Guardiola and co lost 3-1 in their Champions League quarter-final against Lyon the previous day.
As a result, United and City are expected to kick off the new season a few days later run midweek on either September 15 or 16.
Premier League officials are reluctant to put the Manchester derby as their opening fixture, however, in the hope that fans will be able to attend later in the year.
England’s other representatives on the European stage crashed out of their competitions at an earlier date.
Chelsea slumped to a 4-1 defeat in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Bayern Munich on August 8.
And the final outing of a gruelling campaign for Wolves saw them beaten 1-0 by Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-finals on August 11.
The new Premier League season promises to be one of the most hectic of all time after being delayed by almost exactly a month.
Top-flight sides will play 10 matches from September 12 to the start of December, while also bringing their seasons to a close with a bumper May schedule that will see them run out five times in total.
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Leeds, West Brom and Fulham fans will be eagerly awaiting tomorrow’s fixture announcement after securing promotion from the Championship last season.
Liverpool supporters will also be keen to find out what’s in store for Jurgen Klopp’s side as they gear up for their first title defence in 30 years.
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