Premier League: Brutal start for new Man United boss

Man United face their two main title rivals in the first five weeks

The countdown to the 2013/14 Premier League campaign can officially begin following the unveiling of the fixtures...

"Liverpool's 3.8514/5 top-four price is liable to shrink if they deliver in August and September this time around."

David Moyes won't get much of a honeymoon period in his first season as Manchester United manager, with a home match against Chelsea and trips to Liverpool and Manchester City all crammed into his first five Premier League games.

His opening fixture meanwhile will be against the team who provided the opposition for Sir Alex Ferguson's last game at Old Trafford, with the 2012/13 champions kicking off their title defence away to Swansea.

Given that neither the Red Devils nor Moyes have a reputation as the smoothest of starters, there may be a case for laying them as 3.39/4 favourites in the Premier League winner market with a view to cashing out as they lengthen a month or so in.

Manuel Pellegrini begins his Manchester City tenure at home to Newcastle - whose managing director Derek Llambias resigned just before Wednesday morning's fixture announcement - while Jose Mourinho's Chelsea return gets underway at home to newcomers Hull.

As is the tradition, all the big teams have been kept apart for August 17's big kick-off, with Arsenal entertaining Aston Villa, Tottenham making the short journey to promoted Crystal Palace and Liverpool meeting Stoke at Anfield in an encounter that regularly finishes 0-0.

Cardiff are the only of the sides fresh from the Championship not handed an immediate introduction to a top-four contender. They visit West Ham, who they defeated at the Boleyn Ground in the Irons' first match in the second tier two years ago.

Roberto Martinez gets going as Everton boss away to Norwich, while Paolo Di Canio's first full season as Sunderland head coach starts at home to Fulham. Elsewhere, West Brom host Southampton.

If you want a back-to-lay bet on a club with the potential to impress from the off then Liverpool could fit the bill. The Reds showed disastrous early form in two of the past three campaigns yet face just one side that finished above them last term (Man United at home) before November.

Perhaps it would be too ambitious to target their 38.037/1 Premier League winner odds, but their 3.8514/5 top-four price is liable to shrink if they deliver in August and September this time around.

Of course, an appetising run of fixtures at the end of the season is arguably even more important than a none-too-taxing start and Moyes will be pretty pleased with Man United's spring schedule. None of their final ten outings are against any of 2012/13's top five, their toughest assignment being his April 19 return to Goodison Park.

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