The fixture list for the 2012/13 English Premier League season has been released.
The list hasn’t been quite as kind to Manchester United as the Red Devils would have hoped, facing five stern Premier League away games after Champions League group matches in the opening months of the 2012-13 season.
With three of them being against the ‘Top-6’ clubs, fans and critics have thoroughly forgot about the other possible grounds that could rob Alex Ferguson’s men of points.
Forget the glamour ties with City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, these are the away fixtures which could define United's season.
All dates are subject to television schedule changes.
Everton (18 August 2012)
Manchester United’s opening encounter would be one of their toughest away games of the season.
They would come up against David Moyes disciplined and ever improving Everton side, more than capable of pulling out shock results against top clubs.
Out of their last five trips to Goodison Park, United have returned victorious only twice and that too, be by a sole goal.
The fixture is surely going to be an interesting one and hopefully for United fans, an inspirational victory on the opening day of the 2012/13 season. Everton have a reputation as slow starters and fans will hope they are again caught cold.
Newcastle United (6 October 2012)
Newcastle United had a phenomenal last season as they finished fifth in the league to book a place in the Europa League.
Alan Pardew has made quite an impact at the club and with their ambitions only growing with each passing day and the club are keen to bring in more stars to the Sports Direct Arena. The Red Devils could surely be in for a hard time when the two clubs face each other, after losing comprehensively 3-0 last season.
Moreover, this game would be played after one of United’s Champions League games.
Aston Villa (10 November 2012)
Another team Manchester United would face after a Champions League match-day is Aston Villa.
Even though Villa were faltering club last season, their impending crop of youngsters and a new manager, albeit Paul Lambert, would, without doubt, again make them one of sternest mid-table teams in the league.
A victory over the Villains would be a must for Alex Ferguson but not without a industrious display by the 70-year-old’s players.
Wigan (1 January 2013)
Well the prime reason for Wigan’s inclusion in this list is United’s last visit to the DW Stadium.
The result was a heartbreaking loss to the Lactics, a game that played a pivotal role in eventually deciding the tile, as well as the relegation race.
However, on New Year’s Day, the Red Devils would have a great chance to extract revenge and kick- off 2013 with an emphatic or maybe, a robust away win. They must get their festive rotation right and not make the same mistake as resting too many players in their 3-2 home loss to Blackburn on New Year' Eve last season.
Sunderland (30 March 2013)
The trip to Sunderland would come a week before the Red Devils’ themselves entertain the reigning champions at the Theatre of Dreams.
Hence, not only would winning at the Stadium of Light give them three hard earned points at a strong grounds, but also, the momentum and confidence to face the Citizens.
Under Martin O’Neil, Sunderland have been a new and energetic team and their once-fortress stadium would surely trouble the visiting Red Devils.
image: © Gene Hunt