RAFAEL BENITEZ does not expect history to repeat itself when Newcastle United host Tottenham in their opening game of the 2017-18 season.

The fixtures for the new Premier League campaign were released this morning, and handed the Magpies an opening-day game with last season’s runners-up.

Newcastle’s last top-flight game also saw them host Spurs, and ended with Benitez’s side running riot on the final day of the 2015-16 season as they claimed a 5-1 win.

There was little to play for on that afternoon, with Newcastle already having been relegated and Spurs’ title challenge having fizzled out as Leicester were crowned champions, and Benitez accepts things will be markedly different on the weekend of August 12.

“It’s a great start at home to Tottenham and a really exciting first game at St. James' Park for our fans to enjoy,” said the Newcastle boss.

“We will all have extra motivation for that game, but it will be a very tough start too because Spurs showed how good they are last season.

“Of course they were our last Premier League opponents here too, which was a memorable match for everyone, but this time around it will be completely different.”

After hosting Spurs, Newcastle embark on a run of five games that will see them take on Huddersfield, West Ham, Swansea, Stoke and Brighton.

On paper, that looks like an inviting way to start to the season, and the Magpies will be targeting a high early points haul before some more of the Premier League’s ‘big boys’ loom into view.

“After Spurs, I think we have a good run of games, and I'm pleased to see it's quite a balanced list in terms of the teams we're up against,” said Benitez, in an interview with Newcastle’s official website.

“The fans will enjoy being at home to Manchester City on Boxing Day. It is always nice for fans to enjoy games against top teams over the Christmas period.

"We also have a great game to round off the season with Chelsea visiting us on the last day of the season.”

Benitez is also looking forward to Newcastle’s two games against his former club, Liverpool, with the home game against Jurgen Klopp’s side scheduled for September 30 and the trip to Anfield pencilled in for March 3.

“Obviously, I look forward to the two games with Liverpool,” he said. “Those days will be extra special for me, but really every game is exciting and every game has its own challenges.

“It will be nice, too, to come up against Chris Hughton and his Brighton side again this season.

"This will be Brighton’s first time in the Premier League and the way both our clubs performed in the Championship will make it a special game, I think."