By DAN KARELL
In less than two months, the new English Premier League season will kick off.
The Premier League announced their fixture list on Wednesday, exciting fans with early colossal matchups between Manchester United and Chelsea and Arsenal and Tottenham all before the end of August. The first matches of the season will occur on August 17, with the final weekend coming on May 11.
Manchester United will have a difficult time early defending their title. In addition to facing Chelsea in the second week at Old Trafford, United travel a week later to face Liverpool at Anfield, which will be the first time that new manager David Moyes will return to the city he called home for 11 years. Moyes won’t make his Goodison Park return until April 19 of next year.
Other interesting matches of note include Jose Mourinho’s first match back in charge of Chelsea against Hull on the opening weekend, as well as his first matches against Tottenham (9/28), West Bromwich Albion (11/9), and Liverpool (12/28), where Mourinho will face his former assistant coaches.
Here are some more stories to get your Wednesday started:
TOGO, ETHIOPIA ADMIT FIELDING INELIGIBLE PLAYERS
In a quite stunning turn of events, the Togolese Football Federation and their Ethiopian counterparts have both admitted they used ineligible players in recent matches, after FIFA announced they had launched a probe into the matter.
Togo midfielder Alaixys Romao was reportedly suspended for his nation’s June 9 match against Cameroon, a 2-0 victory for Togo. If confirmed by FIFA and Togo are forced to forfeit the match, Cameroon would go top of the four-nation qualifying group and face Libya in September in a match for first place and a place in the next round. Togo have already been eliminated from World Cup qualification.
Ethiopia meanwhile have admitted that they too used a suspended player, Minyahil Teshome Beyene, in a 2-1 victory against Botswana on June 8. If the match is overturned, Ethiopia, Botswana, and South Africa would all still have a chance of making it to the final round of qualifying.
FIFA also announced on Tuesday that they have opened proceedings against Equatorial Guinea for having “allegedly fielded an ineligible player for a second time” in World Cup qualifying.
PSG TURN TO CAPELLO
Having missed out on luring Andre Villas-Boas away from White Hart Lane, the Paris Saint-Germain hierarchy have now turned their gaze eastward towards Fabio Capello.
The current manager of the Russian National Team is reportedly now at the top of the PSG managerial short-list to take over for Carlo Ancelotti, who looks likely to move to Real Madrid this summer whether the PSG ownership group in Qatar likes it or not. Capello famously guided AC Milan in the early 1990s to four Serie A titles and a Champions League crown, but since 2007 has been at the national stage, first managing England and now Russia.
Reports in France state that PSG is willing to pay Capello’s $4 million release clause in his contract to bring him to the club. However, it’s also been written in some reports that even if Capello joins PSG this summer, it will only be for one year, as the Qatari ownership has their hearts set on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger taking over in 2014.
BARCELONA EYE CHELSEA’S MATA
Despite being named Chelsea’s Player of the Year, midfielder Juan Manuel Mata could be on his way out of London.
The Spain international is reportedly not regarded highly by new manager Jose Mourinho, and is the talk of all the tabloids in England and Spain about where his future lies. The top destination looks to be Barcelona, who believe Mata would fit perfectly into their system.
Chelsea have put a price of nearly $47 million on the 25-year-old former Valencia star, meaning that Barcelona will likely have to sell if they want to bring in Mata. One of the players being named in a potential sale is Thiago Alcantara, who is wanted by many teams, including Manchester United.
The FA Cup Final has been moved to the end of the season, set to take place on May 17, 2014. (REPORT)
West Ham have confirmed the signing of Andy Carroll from Liverpool. (REPORT)
Former World Cup winner Gennaro Gattuso has been named manager of relegated side Palermo. (REPORT)
Tottenham are closing in on signing Brazilian National Team midfielder Paulinho with a $23.4 million bid. (REPORT)
FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke wants president Sepp Blatter to run for a fifth term in office. (REPORT)
Brazilian club Corinthians have brushed off reports that they are going to sign Kaka this summer. (REPORT)
What do you make of these reports? What fixtures in the Premier League schedule are you most looking forward do? Do you see Togo and Ethiopia being docked points? Do you see Capello moving to PSG?
Share your thoughts below.