Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.
It certainly doesn’t feel like it, but we’re just two weeks away from the season opener, with the Community Shield taking place on Saturday, August 29.
The 2020/21 season is coming at us fast, with a slew of new dates announced for a campaign that is weeks shorter than usual.
With the season almost upon us and given how much there is to keep track of, here’s our guide to the key dates for English football fans in the coming months.
Premier League 20/21 Key Dates
Fixtures released – by August 21
Opening Weekend – September 12
Transfer deadline (foreign transfers) – 5 October
Transfer deadline (domestic transfers) – 16 October
The Premier League have announced that the fixture list for the new season will be announced no later than Friday. They have already released their dates for the coming campaign, which seems even more packed than usual.
The top-flight resumes on September 12, following the international break. Meanwhile, the campaign will end on May 23, which is only 19 days before the start of Euro 2020.
The two Manchester clubs are likely to have their openers delayed in order to hand them a longer break following August’s European action.
The busy calendar has another bumper Christmas offering, with six rounds of matches played in just three weeks at the back end of the year, with Carabao Cup clashes packed into the same timeframe.
The Premier League’s winter break has basically fallen victim to the fixture congestion. The split round returns because of broadcast commitments, but they’re played midweek either side of a weekend fixture list.
UEFA Champions League / Europa League 20/21
European action will play a big part on the calendars of the seven clubs who made the cut. Six have qualified automatically, putting them into the most compact group stage we’ve seen in years.
UEFA’s aim of resyncing European football by the last 16 stage means this season’s six group matches will be played over just eight weeks between October and December.
For Tottenham, they face trials in the Europa League qualifiers. They have three rounds to get through, starting on September 17. As it stands, they face eight games in 19 days from the opening weekend of the season into October.
EFL 20/21 Key Dates
Fixtures released – August 21 @ 9am
Opening day – September 12
Final day – 8/9 May
Playoff finals – 29-31 May
The EFL have stuck to the Premier League’s schedule for their return, but they’ve bumped up the number of midweek fixtures in order to finish the season before the start of June.
The only issue is that the Championship playoff final – usually played on a Monday in odd-numbered years – could land just 11 days before the start of the Euros.
FA Cup 20/21 Key Dates
The biggest change to the FA Cup has been the removal of replays for the 2020/21 season. That’s something many top sides have been pushing for, leading to fears that they won’t return.
The lack of replays eases the schedule, but that fact that only two rounds – the third and fifth – aren’t played on a weekend with Premier League fixtures is a concern.
For the first time since 2013 there will be league games in the same weekend as the cup final, meaning any top-flight side who goes all the way will need to find room for four rearranged Premier League games.
Carabao Cup 20/21 Key Dates
Like the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup has gone under a big change. This season sees the first four rounds played within the first month of the campaign.
The semi-finals have also changed, they’ll be a one-legged showdown at the ground of the home team. That’s another cup change leading sides have pushed for.
The final will be played in the usual late-February slot, but we have a marathon to get through before then.
Given that we’ve just thrown a lot of numbers at you, see our summary of the 20/21 key dates below.
FST’s 2020/21 Season Snapshot
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