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Magpies looking to end seven-year opening day itch

Written by Dan King

Newcastle United will be hoping to get their 2019/20 Premier League campaign off to a flying start with a first opening day win in seven years.

The 2019/20 fixtures were released on Thursday morning and the Magpies side will entertain Arsenal on Sunday, August 11th (kick-off 2pm BST).

United haven't won on the opening day of a season since 2012/13, when another North London side, Tottenham Hotspur, were the visitors to St. James' Park.

That day, Demba Ba opened the scoring but Jermain Defoe equalised for Spurs - only for Hatem Ben Arfa to score from the spot with ten minutes left to give the Magpies all three points.

In the following two seasons, Manchester City recorded two victories over United in successive curtain-raisers, triumphing 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium in August 2013 before running out 2-0 winners at St. James' Park a year later.

Steve McClaren's first game in charge of Newcastle, on the opening day of the 2015/16 campaign, was a 2-2 home draw against Southampton. The Sky Bet Championship title-winning campaign of 2016/17 began with defeat at Fulham while for the past two seasons, United have lost to Tottenham on Tyneside.

But of course, the first game does not define a season - in 1926/27, United lost two of their first three matches but ended up as league champions.

Newcastle do have a good record in their first home game of the season during their time in the Premier League, winning ten and drawing seven of their 24 outings.

And recent seasons have seen the Magpies finish with a flourish. They've tasted victory in each of their last five campaign-closing fixtures, scoring 17 goals and conceding just one in the process, winning 2-0 against West Ham in 2014/15, 5-1 against Tottenham in 2015/16, 3-0 against Barnsley in 2016/17, 3-0 against Chelsea in 2016/17 and, of course, 4-0 at Fulham just a few weeks ago.

See Newcastle United's 2019/20 fixture list here.

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