We all know who we'll be playing in the Premier League this season but this article may give us a glimpse of what could happen against each of our opponents - record against them, players with history against us etc.
If you want to get something against Arsenal, you need to really put the pressure on them but if you're lazy against them, they'll pass it right round you like they're Barcelona and you'll be lucky not to get hammered. Arsene Wenger's side have beaten us in our last nine games against them - at St James' Park, we usually give them a good game but they've ripped us at The Emirates many times, most notably when we were beaten 7-3 there in December 2012 thanks to Theo Walcott's hat-trick. And by the way, Walcott has a fantastic goal record against us. Rafa Benitez hasn't got a great record against The Gunners either, his record against them in all competitions is six wins, five draw and nine losses. Our last win over the North Londoners came in November 2010 when Andy Carroll's header gave us a 1-0 win.
We've only played Bournemouth twice this century - the two meetings we had against them in our last Premier League campaign and after a very lucky 1-0 win on the south coast, we were beaten 3-1 by Eddie Howe's outfit at St James' Park four months later in what turned out to be Steve McClaren's final game in charge. Jermaine Defoe has a fantastic record against us and will be hoping to form a lethal partnership with Joshua King, who scored at St James' Park last time around and will probably be applauded off the team bus by Magpies fans when The Cherries come to Tyneside on 4 November after scoring the only goal in the game that sealed Sunderland's relegation in April. Meanwhile, Matt Ritchie will probably score against them at some point this season, having left The Cherries to join us last summer.
Brighton & Hove Albion
We had a poor record against Brighton until we did the double over them last season, having lost at the AMEX in the FA Cup in two successive seasons under Alan Pardew, who's lost every time he's come up against Gus Poyet, who presided over those two games and three derby wins after taking over at Sunderland. However, our former manager Chris Hughton is yet to beat us, having drawn two and lost two whilst he was at Norwich, his Brighton side lost both games against us last season despite having not lost to us since March 1990 before their 2-0 loss on Tyneside in August.
Burnley are another side that we've only played twice this century as we were relegated as they were getting promoted from the Championship in 2009 and 2016 but also earned promotion to the Premier League in 2014 and drew both games against us, Papiss Cisse scored to give us a 1-1 draw before a poor performance from young goalkeeper Jak Alnwick gave Sean Dyche's outfit a 3-3 draw at St James' Park on New Year's Day in our first game since Alan Pardew's departure. Rafa Benitez lead Liverpool to two 4-0 wins over the Lancashire outfit in 2009-10 (one of which confirmed their relegation)
Antonio Conte played for Juventus in their 2-0 loss at St James' Park in the Champions League in 2002 but this will be the first time he faces us as a manager and his Chelsea side won thirteen consecutive games and only lost five league games last season on their way to the Premier League title. Eden Hazard has scored four goals in seven games against us, including a hat-trick in February 2014 whilst The Blues ripped us to shreds last time with a 5-1 win at Stamford Bridge last time we played them. But they've only picked up one point from their last four visits to Tyneside so they'll be hoping they have nothing to play for when they come to St James' Park on the final day.
Crystal Palace have only beaten us once this century - a 5-1 humiliation at Selhurst Park in November 2015 and their last win on Tyneside came in March 1998. Like Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle will probably bag a goal against his former club. New manager Frank De Boer was linked with us to replace Alan Pardew and played in both games against us for Barcelona in 2002-03 Champions League but despite winning four Eredivisie titles at Ajax, he was sacked within three months of taking over at Inter Milan with the 2010 Champions League winners sitting in twelfth in Serie A having finished fourth the previous campaign. Rafa's record against The Eagles has seen him win two (including the memorable 1-0 win on Tyneside last time we played them) and lose one, which came during his first season at Liverpool.
Our recent record against Everton isn't good as The Toffees have beaten us in five of their last six games against us. Ronald Koeman won all three of his games against us whilst in charge of Southampton (not including opening day 2-2 draw at St James' Park in 2015-16 as he ruptured his Achilles in training earlier that week). Rafa is hated by Everton fans for calling them a small club during his time at rivals Liverpool but has beaten them ten times in sixteen attempts. And as we all know, their new signing Wayne Rooney has a fantastic goalscoring record against us.
Until their 2-1 win on Tyneside last August, Huddersfield's last win over us came in 1963 although they did come close in the Carling Cup in August 2009 when they took a 3-1 lead on Tyneside before losing 4-3. The Terriers haven't played top flight football since 1972 and drew both games against us 0-0 that season. Apart from our 3-1 win at the John Smith's Stadium in March, we've also played two pre season games there - a 1-0 win in July 2009 before a 2-2 draw in August 2014.
Rafa has only faced Leicester once during his managerial career and that was his first game in charge of us - a 1-0 loss at the King Power Stadium in March 2016. Our last away win over The Foxes came in December 1999, whilst they were still playing at Filbert Street and a 1-0 Newcastle win is a popular scoreline when the two meet at St James' Park - it happened in 1998-99, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2009-10 and 2014-15 and as well as losing 1-0 away to Leicester in Rafa's first game, it also happened in the FA Cup in January 2015. Their 3-0 win on Tyneside in November 2015 was their first triumph at St James' Park since April 2000.
Before taking over The Reds in June 2004, Rafa did the double over Liverpool with Valencia in the group stages of the 2002-03 Champions League and his only encounters with the Merseysiders since leaving in June 2010 were both 2-2 draws at Anfield - first with Chelsea in April 2013, then with us three years later. We haven't won at Anfield in our last twenty-one visits in all competitions but we have a good home record against them - since they hammered us 5-1 in December 2008 as Rafa led them to their best Premier League season so far whilst we had our worst Premier League season so far, they've lost four times, drawn once and won once in six visits to St James' Park. Dwight Gayle scored the final goal in Crystal Palace's 3-3 comeback against them in May 2014 so I have a good feeling he'll get the winner when they come to Tyneside on 1 October. Jurgen Klopp might be unbeaten against Arsenal, Man City, Tottenham and Chelsea but he's yet to beat us (I'm sure that'll change this season though).
Man City have a fantastic record against us and haven't lost in their last nineteen Premier League games against us - a run stretching back to the 2005-06 season. We were hammered 4-0 at The Etihad in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and then suffered five goal humiliations in our next two visits there whilst Sergio Aguero has a phenomenal record against us (including scoring five when they beat us 6-1 in October 2015). However, under Rafa, we held them to a 1-1 at St James' Park in April 2016 despite the linesman failing to spot Aguero being offside when he opened the scoring. When they come to Tyneside on Boxing Day, it'll be Pep Guardiola's first encounter with us as a manager although he played for Barcelona when they beat us 1-0 at the Nou Camp in November 1997.
Jose Mourinho's yet to win a league game at St James' Park but has always beaten us when we came to Stamford Bridge whilst he was at Chelsea. Although we've only beaten them twice in the last decade, we held them to two draws in 2015-16. Their new signing Romelu Lukaku has four goals in six appearances against us. Mourinho will be desperate not to lose to us as a rivalry with Rafa started during their first season in English football in 2004-05 whilst Rafa also had a rivalry with Sir Alex Ferguson whilst Liverpool were pushing The Red Devils for the title in 2008-09 (and even did the double over them, including a 4-1 win at Old Trafford).
We have a poor away record against Southampton and our only league win at St Mary's came during their disastrous 2004-05 season and have only beaten them once since their promotion in 2012. We were hammered 4-0 away to them in two consecutive seasons and our last meeting against them is currently our last Premier League loss as Daryl Janmaat punched a wall at half-time during a 3-1 loss. Their new manager, Mauricio Pellegrino, led Alaves to the Copa Del Rey final last season and was part of Rafa's Champions League winning squad at Liverpool.
Both us and Stoke have had one away win each against each other in the Premier League but we've lost 1-0 in our past three trips to the Bet365 Stadium and The Potters have held us to draws in their past two away games at St James' Park. Rafa has never lost to Stoke and his Chelsea side hammered them 4-0 away from home in January 2013 last time he faced them (he also beat them the same scoreline whilst in charge of Liverpool in August 2009).
Swansea have good record against us in the Premier League and their only losses against us came in April 2012 when Papiss Cisse scored a brace (including a sensational lob) and April 2016 (the last time we played them). They beat Rafa's Chelsea 2-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals when the won the Capital One Cup in 2013 but lost 2-0 when they met in the league later that season. Paul Clement did a fantastic job there last season but with star midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson seemingly on the way out, it will be a lot tougher for Swansea this season.
Tottenham will be our first opponents back in the Premier League and if it's as half as good as last time we played them shortly after our relegation was confirmed, we're in for a real treat. Unless the unlikely happens and we reach the Carabao Cup final, our first visit to new Wembley will hopefully see us beat them away from home yet again after we won three times in a row at White Hart Lane before relegation. Rafa is currently yet to lose at home to Spurs.
Watford beat us three times in all competitions in 2015-16 but we should hopefully do better against The Hornets under Rafa. Marco Silva did well with Hull despite failing to keep them up until their players completely bottled it at the end and Walter Mazzarri's departure at the end of last season means this is the third season running they've started the season with a new manager (and a foreign one at that).
West Bromwich Albion
Our meetings with West Brom in 2015-16 were very different, The Baggies outplayed us and beat us 1-0 before we did pretty much the same thing when they came to St James' Park and won by the same scoreline. Rafa's Liverpool hammered them 5-0 at The Hawthorns on Boxing Day 2004 whilst Tony Pulis's record against us is four wins, six losses and three draws.
West Ham United
West Ham's new signing Javier Hernandez scored three times against us whilst playing for Man Utd and him and Marko Arnautovic both signing but the defensive problems last season, you can expect some thrilling games involving The Hammers this season. Slaven Bilic's side didn't seem to fancy the London Stadium last season as they were hammered there by four games or more four times last season.