The 2014-15 Premier League fixtures were released on Wednesday, and Newcastle United will face Manchester City to open the season for the second straight year, though this time they will be at home. That opening fixture will take place on Saturday, 16 August at 3 pm.
After a season in which both ends of the Tyne-Wear Derby were contested early on, Newcastle will not host Sunderland until 20 December. That fixture, usually rescheduled at the request of Northumbria police, could cause even more Boxing Day congestion than usual if it is moved back. The return trip to the Stadium of Light is scheduled for 4 April.
That first derby match could be key, as it is surrounded by ties with clubs expected to be in Champions League contention. From 6 December to 28 December, NUFC will face Chelsea, Arsenal, Sunderland, Manchester United, and Everton. December is when things started to unravel for Newcastle last season, and it's certainly not a stretch to expect that Alan Pardew will struggle with squad rotation during that difficult stretch.
By contrast, the month of May should be relatively easy, which will be welcome news if the team happen to have anything worth playing for. Road ties with newly promoted Leicester and QPR are interlaced with home dates with West Bromwich Albion and the finale with West Ham United.