The Football Association is unhappy that England's hopes of World Cup qualification have been hindered by the Premier League's fixture schedule for next season. Two of the biggest Premier League games will be played immediately before the national team's vital double-header against Moldova and Ukraine in early September.
The FA's sense of grievance is deepened by the fact that it had two meetings with the Premier League before release of the fixtures, and asked that no box-offices matches be staged before the World Cup qualifying ties for the good of the England team, particularly those that had the potential to be switched by Sky TV to Sunday.
But the fixtures on 31 August and 1 September – the round before England's home game against Moldova and the trip to Ukraine – feature Liverpool v Manchester United and Arsenal against Tottenham Hotspur, and Sky will probably seek to move both matches to the Sunday, leaving the England manager, Roy Hodgson, to hope that none of his squad suffer injuries.
England, whose qualifying prospects are in the balance, finish their Group H campaign with home ties against Montenegro and Poland on 11 and 15 October respectively. The Premier League can point to there being no showpiece fixtures on the weekend of 5-6 October, but that has not appeased the FA.
David Moyes's Old Trafford debut with Manchester United will come on 24 August against José Mourinho's Chelsea in a match that stands to fire excitement and intrigue at the outset of the season.
The meeting between two of the managers who have started new jobs was the headline act to emerge from the Premier League's fixture computer and Moyes, in particular, has been left to consider a tough opening.
The former Everton manager will begin the challenge of succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson and retaining the title at Swansea City on the weekend of 17-18 August and, following the home game against Chelsea, he returns to Merseyside to face Liverpool at Anfield. His team then play Crystal Palace at home and Manchester City away. Rio Ferdinand, the United defender, described it as a "lively start" on his Twitter account.
There is sure to be a focus on any pre-match mind games from the United or Chelsea camps but Mourinho, back for a second spell at Stamford Bridge, will concern himself with his club's first three away fixtures, which are at United, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur. Chelsea kick off at home to Hull City and those who are seeking omens have spotted a positive one. When they beat Hull at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the 2009 season, they went on to win the title.
Aston Villa have been dealt the hardest opening sequence. The manager Paul Lambert endured agonies at the end of last season when his team scrapped against relegation and he might consider that it does not get any easier. Villa begin at Arsenal before taking on Liverpool at home and Chelsea away. Then they play Manchester City at home in their sixth match.
City and their new manager, Manuel Pellegrini, start at home to Newcastle United and then face newly promoted Cardiff City (away) and Hull (home), while the focus in north London will be on the derby between Arsenal and Tottenham in the third round of games.Arsenal contest the Champions League play-off second leg in the midweek leading up to the derby and Arsène Wenger, the manager, will doubtless have noted that if his team can progress in Europe's elite competition, they will face away league fixtures after five of the six group games. Chelsea play away in the league only once after Champions League group ties; City twice and United four times.
Tottenham's early season is dominated by derbies, with four of their first seven matches against opposition from the capital – beginning on the opening weekend at newly promoted Crystal Palace – while Liverpool start at Anfield against Stoke City, who are now under the charge of Mark Hughes. Roberto Martínez's new club Everton kick off at Norwich City.