Caltex Socceroos custodian Mathew Ryan has learned who he’ll face in the Brighton and Hove Albion goal on the opening weekend of the Premier League 2019/20 season in August.
A trip to Vicarage Road to face 2019 FA Cup Finalists Watford on August 10 is the first league assignment for the 27-year-old as the Seagulls kick off life with new boss Graham Potter at the helm.
Former Swansea City manager Potter replaced Chris Hughton in the Albion dugout after the Englishman was sacked by the club in May despite securing Brighton their third season in English football’s top flight.
Ryan – who joined newly promoted Brighton in June 2017 – has been the club’s number one shot stopper throughout that time and has made 74 appearances in all competitions, keeping 16 clean sheets.
This is the second successive season that Brighton have travelled to Watford on the Premier League's opening day, having lost 2-0 last August thanks to Roberto Pereyra’s double.
Watford haven’t lost their opening league game of the season since 2006/07 (losing 1-2 away at Everton) and have won six and drawn six of their opening fixtures over the last 12 campaigns.
Meanwhile, Brighton have only clinched victory in one of their opening league fixtures to a top-flight season – a 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1980-81.
The new Premier League campaign begins on August 9 with UEFA Champions League victors Liverpool welcoming EFL Championship winners Norwich to Anfield.
Other standout fixtures see Manchester United host Chelsea at Old Trafford on August 11, 2018/19 Premier League champions Manchester City face West Ham United away on August 10, while promoted clubs Sheffield United and Aston Villa face Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, both away from home on August 10.
Click here to see the full list of Premier League fixtures for the 2019/20 season.
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