Newcastle United handed tough start to 2018-19 Premier League season

The fixture list for the upcoming season was released at 9am on Wednesday, and the Magpies have been handed a difficult beginning

Newcastle United handed tough start to 2018-19 Premier League season
(Image: GettyImages/ Ian MacNicol)

Newcastle United will play six of last season’s top eight in their opening eight 2018-19 Premier League fixtures.

Rafael Benitez guided the Magpies to a top 10 finish on their return to England’s top-flight, and has expressed his desire to take the club one step further and mount a possible European Challenge.

However, that is looking very unlikely with Benitez yet to sign a new contract despite discussions reportedly beginning last season, and the fact the club have made just one signing so far despite Benitez wanting the majority of his business done before pre-season starts in July.

The upcoming fixture list has only added pressure for Newcastle to finalise deals quickly with a tough opening run of matches.

An unfair start?

We saw with Everton last season just how much a difficult start can inflict a negative impact on the club. The Toffees were dragged into early relegation trouble which resulted in Ronald Koeman losing his job and Sam Allardyce being appointed to save the day.

For Benitez, he will be preparing his team for an act of de-ja-vu when they again host Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park on the opening day of the season.

That then echoes a tricky beginning with Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Leicester City and Manchester United all to follow – with newly promoted Cardiff City and Crystal Palace in the mix in the opening eight fixtures.

January blues

Following a traditional busy December period (seven games in total) – Liverpool away on Boxing Day – Newcastle host the Red Devils on New Years’ Day. Eleven days later, they then travel to Stamford Bridge.

Cardiff then travel to the North East before the Magpies end the month with a trip to the home of the reigning champions.

Ending the season

Benitez’ men secured their Premier League status with five games to go last term, and depending on how other results shape their season, they will be hoping to do the same again.

Games against Crystal Palace, Leicester, Southampton and Brighton and Hove Albion complete April. United’s final home of the season is on Saturday, May 4 against Liverpool before ending the season at Fulham.

Full fixture list

August

11 – Tottenham Hotspur (H)

18 – Cardiff City (A)

25 – Chelsea (H)

September

1 – Manchester City (A)

15 – Arsenal (H)

22 – Crystal Palace (A)

29 – Leicester City (H)

October

6 – Manchester United (A)

20 – Brighton and Hove Albion (H)

27 – Southampton (A)

November

3 – Watford (H)

10 – Bournemouth (H)

24 – Burnley (A)

December

1 – West Ham United (H)

5 – Everton (A)

8 – Wolverhampton Wanderers (H)

15 – Huddersfield Town (A)

22 – Fulham (H)

26 – Liverpool (A)

29 – Watford (A)

January

1 – Manchester United (H)

12 – Chelsea (A)

19 – Cardiff City (H)

30 – Manchester City (H)

February

2 – Tottenham Hotspur (A)

9 – Wolverhampton Wanderers (A)

23 – Huddersfield Town (H)

27 – Burnley (H)

March

2 – West Ham United (A)

9 – Everton (H)

16 – Bournemouth (A)

30 – Arsenal (A)

April

6 – Crystal Palace (H)

13 – Leicester City (A)

20 – Southampton (H)

27 – Brighton and Hove Albion (A)

May

4 - Liverpool (H)

12 - Fulham (A)