The fixtures for the 2012-13 Premier League season were released Monday, and though we would love to publish the entire list for you right here, we are unable to do so for legal reasons. What we can do, however, is give a brief overview and hit the highlights. Newcastle have several hurdles to jump next season, including the Europa League, the African Cup of Nations (again), and the usual domestic cups. How compatible is their schedule with these events? Is there another #StretchOfDoom to watch out for? When are the derby matches? Follow the jump to find out.
The season opener is naturally a highly anticipated event. The transfer window is winding down (winding up is probably more accurate, actually), spirits are high, and every Toon supporter will be watching and hoping that this coming season will be as magical as the last. The first test comes on August 18 at home against Tottenham Hotspur. It's the third straight year that Newcastle start the season facing off with a Sky 6 club.
Newcastle will of course be competing in Europa, and they will enter in the Play-off Round, which takes place August 23 and 30. The surrounding fixtures will be the aforementioned opener with Spurs, followed by Chelsea away on the 25th and Aston Villa home on Sept. 1.
December is when the Magpies scuffled a bit last season, and the Africa Cup of Nations was certainly part (though not all) of the equation. Thanks to a scheduling quirk, the AFCON will take place again this season, and as long as the club retain Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, and Cheik Tiote, they will be down a few players when the tournament comes around. The scheduled dates for the tourney are January 19 through February 10, and of course the national teams will call players up 2 weeks ahead of time. If Senegal and/or Cote d'Ivoire advance all the way to the Final, NUFC could be missing players for 5 matches, including return fixtures against Chelsea and Spurs.
So is there a #StretchOfDoom? Most definitely. The cramped holiday schedule features Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Everton in a span of just over 2 weeks, with Queens Park Rangers mixed in as well.
Oh, and Newcastle play some team named Sunderland on April 13 (home) and October 20 (away). Now you know ahead of time which dates to get Shola Ameobi into your fantasy team.
A full fixtures list may be found on the Newcastle Official Site. What other matches are you looking forward to?