Sky Sports and the F.A. Premier League have announced the opening live televised matches of the 2000-01 F.A. Carling Premiership campaign.
The first live match of the season will see champions Manchester United start their defence at home to Newcastle United, in Ford Super Sunday on 20 August [kick-off 4pm]. The first live Ford Monday Night Football will see runners-up Arsenal at home to fourth-placed Liverpool on Monday 21 August, [kick-off 8pm].
In consultation with the clubs, 32 live matches have been scheduled from the opening week of the season up to the Christmas period. In the opening selections every club is seen live at least once in the first three months of the season. Among the key fixtures are:
Manchester United vs Newcastle United - The Champions start their defence by entertaining Newcastle United at Old Trafford [Sunday 20 August].
Aston Villa vs Chelsea - Last season's two FA Cup Finalists meet in the FA Carling Premiership [Sunday 27 August].
Manchester United vs Chelsea - The Champions face the FA Cup holders in a repeat of the Charity Shield, ahead of their midweek European ties [Saturday 23 September].
Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal - The London rivals clash at George Graham's new home, White Hart Lane [Monday 18 December]
Manchester United vs Leeds United - Leeds play their first of four live televised matches in a month, against old rivals Manchester United [Saturday 21 October].
Announcing the live fixtures, Vic Wakeling, Managing Director of Sky Sports said: "This is the most exciting set of fixtures on Sky Sports since we started our coverage in August 1992. We shall see five of last season's top six clubs in our first three live games, and every head-to-head clash between the top five in the first half of the season will also be seen live on Sky Sports."
He continued: "Every one of these matches will be shown live in widescreen on Sky Sports 1 and in the award-winning live interactive format on Sky Sports Extra. The interactive coverage on Sky digital started less than a year ago and has proved very popular. On average, 20 per cent of our football audience is now watching games on Sky Sports Extra, and we are planning a new look and further enhancements of our interactive coverage for the new season."
Sunday 20 Manchester United vs Newcastle United 4pm
Monday 21 Arsenal vs Liverpool 8pm
Sunday 27 Aston Villa vs Chelsea 4pm
Wednesday 6 Chelsea vs Arsenal 8pm
Sunday 10 Derby County vs Charlton Athletic 4pm
Monday 11 Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham United 8pm
Sunday 17 Manchester City vs Middlesbrough 4pm
Saturday 23 Manchester United vs Chelsea 11.30am
Sunday 24 Leicester City vs Everton 4pm
Sunday 1 Arsenal vs Manchester United 4pm
Sunday 15 Derby County vs Liverpool 4pm
Monday 16 Middlesbrough vs Newcastle United 8pm
Saturday 21 Manchester United vs Leeds United 11.30am
Sunday 22 Aston Villa vs Sunderland 4pm
Monday 23 Southampton vs Manchester City 8pm
Sunday 29 Bradford City vs Leeds United 4pm
Saturday 4 Leeds United vs Liverpool 11.30am
Sunday 5 Everton vs Aston Villa 4pm
Monday 6 Derby County vs West Ham United 8pm
Sunday 12 Chelsea vs Leeds United 4pm
Saturday 18 Manchester City vs Manchester United 11.30am
Sunday 19 Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool 4pm
Monday 20 Coventry City vs Ipswich Town 8pm
Sunday 26 Leeds United vs Arsenal 4pm
Sunday 3 Chelsea vs Manchester City 4pm
Monday 4 Sunderland vs Everton 8pm
Sunday 10 Coventry City vs Leicester City 4pm
Sunday 17 Manchester United vs Liverpool 12pm
Monday 18 Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal 8pm
Saturday 23 Liverpool vs Arsenal 11.30am
Tuesday 26 Aston Villa vs Manchester United 1pm
Wednesday 27 Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur 8pm
Sun 13 Chelsea vs Man. United [FA Charity Shield]
Sat 7 England vs Germany [World Cup Qualifying]
Wed 11 Rep of Ireland vs Estonia [World Cup qualifier]
Sat 24 England vs Finland [World Cup qualifier]
Sat 24 Scotland vs Belgium [World Cup qualifier]
Wed 27 Scotland vs San Marino [World Cup qualifier]
Tues 25 Rep of Ireland vs Andorra [World Cup qualifier]
Sat 2 Rep of Ireland vs Portugal [World Cup qualifier]
* : All dates and times to be confirmed.