Why the Premier League fixtures will allow Rafa Benitez to get the best out of Newcastle's players

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

After a 46-game slog through the Championship, nothing was particularly going to faze Newcastle United's players.

Yes, the games are tougher. Much tougher.

But there are fewer of them.

READ MORE: 7 things we learned from Newcastle's Premier League fixtures

The club's 2017-18 fixtures were today published by the Premier League.

And Newcastle can have few complaints with the hand they have been dealt.

United kick off their campaign with a home game against Tottenham Hotspur, last season's runners-up.

It's a tough fixture, but, crucially, it's at home.

And the five games that follow it give Newcastle the opportunity to get a foothold in the division before a home game against Liverpool on September 9.

The August 12 opener is followed by a visit to newly-promoted Huddersfield Town seven days later.

Dwight Gayle and Yoan Gouffran

Dwight Gayle and Yoan Gouffran

Then comes a home game against West Ham United and a trip to Swansea City.

United end September with a fixture against Stoke City at St James's Park and a visit to Brighton and Hove Albion, promoted along with Newcastle and Huddersfield.

It gets tougher. December looks brutal.

Rafa Benitez's side have seven games – three of them in London.

The club, at least, is at home on Boxing Day, though the opposition will be Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

United – who end their campaign with a home game against champions Chelsea –don't have consecutive games against any of last season's top six.

And, in contrast to the Championship, midweek fixtures are at a premium, allowing Benitez's players time to rest, recover and prepare for their next game.

The Premier League will be, technically, far more demanding than English football's second tier.

But, physically, the division will take less of a toll on the players.

Benitez, one of Europe's most experience and respected coaches, will have more time to work on the training ground, and that could prove invaluable.

Bring it on.

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