Graeme Sharp believes Everton have the chance to make an early statement in the 2017/18 Premier League season after the fixture computer threw out some exciting matches in the opening two months of the campaign.
The Toffees open up with a home clash at Goodison Park against Stoke City on 12 August.
This is quickly followed by four consecutive games against clubs that have qualified for the Champions League in 2017/18, three of which are away from home.
Everton’s second and third matches of the season are at the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge, before returning to Goodison to face Tottenham Hotspur and then next another away trip, this time to Manchester United.
“They are big, big games,” said Blues legend Sharp. “You want to start with a home clash - we’ve got that against Stoke and it will be great for our fans.
“After that, there’s a difficult run of fixtures but I actually think it’s a good time to play those games. Teams will still be bedding down and, although they will have gone through pre-season, they won’t be at their maximum yet.
“For our players, waking up this morning and looking at those fixtures, right away they will be rubbing their hands and thinking: ‘bring it on!’
“Everybody wants to get a good start - of course they do - but it’s also important to remember that the season doesn’t revolve around the opening five or six matches. It’s a long campaign.
“The fixtures are the fixtures - there’s not a lot you can do about it but the early games are the type you want as players.
“We’ll prepare in pre-season and I’m sure Ronald Koeman will have the boys fired up for the exciting start to the season.”
There are three away matches Sharp is particularly looking forward to this coming season.
Everton make their first-ever journey to Brighton & Hove Albion’s Amex Stadium in mid-October, while the penultimate away match is at Huddersfield where the Toffees last travelled to for a League Cup tie in 1998.
With Tottenham Hotspur currently in the process of relocating to a new stadium, Blues boss Koeman will take his team to their temporary home at Wembley Stadium in January.
“It will be interesting to see how Tottenham adapt - they played in those surroundings in the Champions League and suffered," added Sharp. "Certainly for our supporters, they all want a trip to Wembley in the domestic cup semi-finals and finals but they will definitely be looking forward to going there in January.
“Huddersfield isn’t too far for us to travel, although Brighton is. Going to those grounds will be something new for the fans.
“But the Premier League is a cut-throat business and when we go to those grounds and away from home, we have to focus on us and try to have a successful season.” Everton
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Post by Everton News. on Jun 14, 2017 16:30:53 GMT
Blues Start Against Stoke At Home
Everton will kick-off the 2017/18 Premier League season with a home fixture against Stoke City.
The Potters will visit Goodison Park on the opening day of the campaign on Saturday 12 August.
Everton’s start then sees four consecutive high-profile fixtures against Manchester City (away, 19 August), Chelsea (away, 26 August), Tottenham Hotspur (home, 9 September) and Manchester United (away, 16 September).
The first Merseyside derby of season takes place at Anfield on 9 December, with the return game at Goodison being played on 7 April.
Everton’s Christmas schedule takes in a trip to the Hawthorns to play West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day, an away match at Bournemouth on 30 December and an exciting home clash with Manchester United on New Year’s Day.
Ronald Koeman’s side will conclude the season on 13 May with a journey to the Olympic Stadium to face West Ham United.
There will be a new official Club Membership scheme announced soon, which will include priority access to matchday tickets for members.
Everton’s full fixture list for 2017/18 is below.
Please note - fixtures are subject to change due to TV selection and Everton’s potential involvement in the Europa League.
12 August 2017 - Stoke City (h) 19 August 2017 - Manchester City (a) 26 August 2017 - Chelsea (a) 9 September 2017 - Tottenham Hotspur (h) 16 September 2017 - Manchester United (a) 23 September 2017 - Bournemouth (h) 30 September 2017 - Burnley (h) 14 October 2017 - Brighton & Hove Albion (a) 21 October 2017 - Arsenal (h) 28 October 2017 - Leicester City (a) 4 November 2017 - Watford (h) 18 November 2017 - Crystal Palace (a) 25 November 2017 - Southampton (a) 29 November 2017 - West Ham United (h) 2 December 2017 - Huddersfield Town (h) 9 December 2017 - Liverpool (a) 13 December 2017 - Newcastle United (a) 16 December 2017 - Swansea City (h) 23 December 2017 - Chelsea (h) 26 December 2017 - West Bromwich Albion (a) 30 December 2017 - Bournemouth (a) 1 January 2018 - Manchester United (h) 13 January 2018 - Tottenham Hotspur (a) 20 January 2018 - West Bromwich Albion (h) 31 January 2018 - Leicester City (h) 3 February 2018 - Arsenal (a) 10 February 2018 - Crystal Palace (h) 24 February 2018 - Watford (a) 3 March 2018 - Burnley (a) 10 March 2018 - Brighton & Hove Albion (h) 17 March 2018 - Stoke City (a) 31 March 2018 - Manchester City (h) 7 April 2018 - Liverpool (h) 14 April 2018 - Swansea City (a) 21 April 2018 - Newcastle United (h) 28 April 2018 - Huddersfield Town (a) 5 May 2018 - Southampton (h) 13 May 2018 - West Ham United (a)