The 2016/17 Premier League fixtures are released at 9am on Wednesday morning as the countdown to the new season begins in earnest.
As ever, certain dates and matches will stand out more than most.
The opening match, the Boxing Day and New Year’s Day fixtures plus the final day clash are always among the first to catch the eye.
Individually, the Manchester derby plus games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are always stand-out dates for your diary and this season, the games against champions Leicester City will deservedly demand acknowledgement.
The matches against Tottenham, too will perhaps enjoy elevated scrutiny.
Of course, the dates are provisional in that they will be published without the inevitable changed TV scheduling will demand, so bear that in mind if you’re planning holidays, weddings, etc!
Last season the Blues raced out of the blocks with a 3-0 victory away to West Bromwich Albion – the first of five successive wins that made Manuel Pellegrini’s side red-hot favourites for the title.
Of course, three losses in the next four games in all competitions tempered expectations somewhat.
In 2014/15, City laboured to a 2-0 win over Newcastle United at St James’ Park before beating Liverpool 3-1 at the Etihad – then came a run of four games without a win that again set the tone for an up and down campaign.
The Blues’ 2013/14 title-winning campaign began with a flawless 4-0 thrashing of Newcastle United at the Etihad – Pellegrini’s first match in charge. Cardiff City then produced a shock 3-2 win at The Cardiff City Stadium, though it was one of few blips in an impressive season.
A hard-fought 3-2 win over Southampton was the 2012/13 curtain-raiser at the Etihad – the first game since the epic title clincher against QPR just three months earlier.
And who forget the blistering start to the 2011/12 season with Roberto Mancini’s side thrashing Swansea City 4-0, including two goals from debutant Sergio Aguero.
Quite a night.
It was six years since City last failed to start the new season with a victory. Joe Hart produced an incredible display to keep a rampant Tottenham at bay to ensure the Blues left White Hart Lane with a 0-0 draw.
In 2009, City travelled to Ewood Park where Mark Hughes’ side began the season impressively, beating Blackburn Rovers 2-0.
It’s been eight years since lost their opening Premier League match – a disappointing 4-2 defeat at Villa Park where Elano bagged both City goals.
The Blues’ overall Premier League record for opening day fixtures has improved dramatically in recent years – the first 10 Premier League curtain-raisers saw City register just one victory!
Now the record reads:
Played: 19 Won: 8 Drawn: 6 Lost: 5 Goals for: 29 Goals against: 23 Points: 30 from a possible 57.
Sven-Goran Eriksson, Mark Hughes, Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini all began their first full season with a victory – can Pep Guardiola continue that run?
Tune in tomorrow morning for reaction to the 2016/17 fixture reveal.