City to open title defense against Southampton

Premier League champions Manchester City will begin defense of the title at home against promoted side Southampton when the new season begins on August 18.

City clinched the title in dramatic fashion last season with two goals in stoppage time to defeat QPR, edging rivals Manchester United on goal difference.

United will open its campaign with an away contest against Everton, while the European champions, Chelsea, visit Wigan.

Arsenal hosts Sunderland and Tottenham, which will be under the control of a new manager after the departure of Harry Redknapp, travels to Newcastle.

New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers begins the season on the road at West Bromwich, Reading hosts Stoke City in its return to the top flight, while another promoted side, West Ham, will be welcomed back to the Premier League by Aston Villa and new manager Paul Lambert.

Chris Hughton took over at Norwich City this summer and the Canaries travel to Fulham, with London neighbors QPR hosting a Swansea City side with Michael Laudrup at the helm.

The first time Manchester rivals City and United will square off comes on Dec. 8 at the Etihad Stadium.

City will host Arsenal on Sept. 22 while United visits Liverpool the same day.

One week later, London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea clash at the Emirates Stadium with the Blues hosting Manchester United Oct. 27.

Among the other notable derby matches in England, Everton hosts Liverpool Oct. 27 in the Merseyside derby, while north London sides Arsenal and Tottenham meet for the first time at the Emirates Stadium on Nov. 17.