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Off to a flyer? Toughest, easiest starts to Premier League schedule

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Cardiff City will be ruing its fixtures to start life in the Premier League, while champions Manchester City should be salivating.

You might’ve thought that any way, but the schedule makers certainly did favors to the champs and took a plank to back of one of the new boys.

[ MORE: Full 2018-19 PL schedule ]

Using last season’s table position and assigning the promoted sides to spaces 18-20, Man City gets the easiest first six matches in the Premier League.

Following a tricky Opening Day at Unai Emery’s Arsenal, Man City will face Huddersfield and Newcastle with all three newly-promoted sides filling out the sextet.

Burnley will have a good chance to get off to another hot start, with Southampton, Watford, and Fulham on the docket before a visit from Manchester United. Wolves, Cardiff, Huddersfield Town, and Bournemouth follow.

As for aforementioned Cardiff, the Bluebirds could be waiting a long time for a win if they cannot pick up three points versus Bournemouth, Newcastle, and Huddersfield Town; The next five opponents? Arsenal home, Chelsea away, Man City home, Burnley home, Spurs away.

Also getting a rough ride is Newcastle, who opens with Spurs before facing Cardiff. Then it’s Chelsea home, Man City away, Arsenal home.

It all comes out in the sauce by the end of the run, but clubs can find themselves in deep holes with poor starts. Newcastle and Cardiff face big challenges, while Man City and Burnley should be smiling early.

Warnock sets promotion record, revels in Cardiff City achievement

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Neil Warnock has achieved promotion more times than any manager in English history, and the Cardiff City boss can’t think of a more impressive feat than this season’s second-place finish in the Championship.

[ RECAP: Championship’s final day ]

Cardiff sealed its place in the Premier League with a 0-0 draw against Reading, coupled with Fulham’s loss to Birmingham City on Sunday’s final day of the season.

Warnock is amazed by what his side did this season, especially emotional given the commitment from himself, his staff, his players, and his family.

“It’s the biggest achievement in my 38-year career by an absolute mile,” Warnock said. “I’ve got a great bunch of lads. It’s such a fabulous achievement, because nobody gave us a chance.

“It’s amazing. I’ve had some great promotions and great squads, but because of the circumstances when I came here – second from bottom – and we’ve built it all the way up.

“I’ve never known a week longer than this. I’ve not slept for longer than about three hours. At my age, you’re not going to get many more chances. I owe [my wife] Sharon a lot. It’s an amazing feeling for a manager to know that you brought that together.”

Cardiff City is Premier League; Playoffs, relegation set

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Cardiff City is going back up to the top flight.

City sends its headline-making owner Vincent Tan back into the Premier League, where the Bluebirds would become the second Welsh team should Swansea City avoid relegation.

[ MORE: Sir Alex in intensive care ]

Cardiff City opened the door with a scoreless first half, but Fulham politely declined to put any pressure on the Bluebirds by conceding twice in the first 45 minutes against relegation-threatened Birmingham City en route to a 3-1 loss. Cardiff drew Reading 0-0.

Cardiff was relegated from the Premier League after one season, 2013-14.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have already been promoted as Championship winners, while the playoffs begin next week.

The battle for the final spot in the Premier League will feature No. 3 Fulham, who was beaten by Birmingham City, against No. 6 Derby County, and a match-up between No. 4 Aston Villa and No. 5 Middlesbrough.

As for the relegated clubs, as results for Birmingham and Bolton Wanderers avoid a final day drop.

Bolton’s survival was quite unbelievable. Adam Le Fondre put the Wanderers ahead of Nottingham Forest in the second half, but Ben Osborn and Jack Colback scored nine minutes apart to put Bolton back in the Bottom Three. Yet David Wheater and Aaron Wilbraham scored in the 87th and 88th minutes to send the Macron Stadium into elation.

Burton Albion and Barnsley join Sunderland in heading down to League One.