Why Newcastle’s Tough Start is a Blessing in Disguise

The anticipation that comes with the unveiling of the Premier League fixture list is one of excitement but also tainted with a little apprehension.

Who do we open with? Are we at home on Boxing Day? What does the end of season run in look like?

All of these questions come to mind and no doubt there was a groan when it was revealed that the Magpies would face Tottenham, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal in four of their five opening games.

Sounds daunting, but it is not all doom and gloom and is actually a blessing in disguise and here’s why.

First up Tottenham

In a repeat of last season, the first game up for the Magpies is the visit of Spurs to St James Park.

The Lilywhites ran out 2-0 winners that day, but things will likely be different this time around.

Last season there was no World Cup unlike this year, and Tottenham’s squad is packed to the rafters of internationals spending their summer in Russia rather than refreshing themselves ready for another gruelling campaign.

Spurs also have their new stadium hanging over their heads which is not due to be ready until September meaning the smart money in football betting is on Spurs to get off to a nervous start with Newcastle in prime position to be the beneficiaries.

November and December run in looks good

Once those tricky five fixtures are out of the way, the run up to Christmas it looks pretty plain sailing.

December is a make or break month for most sides with up to seven matches in the month due to be played.

Of the Magpies ten Premier League fixtures between 3rd November and the 29th December, only three are against sides that finished inside the top ten last season and only one against a top four side from the last campaign (Liverpool).

This run-in over the busy Christmas period gives Newcastle a real chance to pick up valuable points and depending on how the season is going, either drag themselves away from danger or gain a foothold inside the top ten.

End of Season run-in looks generous

Where the opening couple of months and January look tough, the end of season run in looks simple enough and that could prove pivotal if the Magpies are right in the thick of a relegation battle.

Newcastle finish the season with a trip down south to face Fulham but if April is anything to go by, it should already be job done by then no matter where Benitez’s side are competing.

Games against Crystal Palace, Leicester, Southampton and Brighton make for some pleasant reading through the spring month of April.

What it means for Newcastle is that after playing on Tottenham on February 2nd, the Magpies will only face two teams who finished inside the top six for the remainder of the season and one of those is Arsenal so does not really count.

The start may look tough, but that will pay dividends when Newcastle could need it most.

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