NEWCASTLE United boss Alan Pardew has hailed a “mouth-watering” fixture list which sees his side host Arsenal at St James’s Park in the opening game of the new season.
And the release today of the 2011/12 Premier League calendar also threw up a massive game at derby rivals Sunderland in the second match on August 20.
Boxing Day will see them hit the road to Bolton Wanderers, while they will travel to Liverpool on New Year’s Eve and host champions Manchester United on January 2.
The return derby is on March 3, and the final home game against moneybags Manchester City on May 5, with the final game at Everton eight days later.
But it is the start to the season which has excited pardew, with the opener against Arsenal a re-run of the thriller at St James’s Park in February when the Magpies fought back from 4-0 down at half-time to gain a 4-4 draw.
“What a fantastic start for us, Arsenal at St James’ Park and then the Stadium of Light!” said Pardew. “Our fans will love that, but myself and the players are equally excited.
“No doubt people will hark back to the 4-4 draw, and rightly so, and it’s undoubtedly one of the best games of the opening weekend.
“Going to Sunderland so early in the season is terrific too, and of course we can take heart from our performances against them last season. Liverpool and Manchester United in successive games over the Christmas/New Year period is pretty mouth-watering too, and two trips to Manchester over consecutive weekends is a tough assignment but that’s what the Premier League is all about and we can’t wait.”