The start of the Premier League season brings with it a whole wave of excitement, no more so than for the supporters and players of the three promoted teams who have made it to the big time.
This season’s trio of Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich will all be hoping for the ideal starts when they make their Premier League bows this weekend. There’s nothing quite like the opening day of a new season and nothing can quite match that elation of that first victory at the pinnacle of English football.
Here, Ladbrokes News takes a look at five opening games to remember for Premier League new boys.
Leicester v Bolton – 2001
The Trotters returned to the Premier League after a three year exile in 2001 with many tipping them for the drop. Sam Allardyce’s men travelled to Filbert Street and proceeded to dismantle Leicester in one of the most one-sided opening day clashes in year.
Kevin Nolan and Per Frandsen both grabbed braces in a 5-0 victory that sparked a three-game winning run that set the foundations for an 11-year stay at the top that brought with it the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and Ivan Campo. Halcyon days indeed.
Portsmouth v Aston Villa – 2003
Harry Redknapp was at the wheel as Pompey made their way into the Premier League and it was two of his golden oldies that made this an opener to remember for the Fratton Park faithful. Both Teddy Sheringham and Partick Berger joined in the summer and the duo found the net as they beat a much-fancied Villa side 2-1.
The campaign ended with a comfortable 13th place finish for the south coast club and saw The Yak announce himself with 19 league goals.
Reading v Middlesbrough – 2006
The Royals Premier League bow turned out to be something of a classic. The Berkshire club were widely tipped to be a flop at England’s top table but their maiden campaign saw them finish eighth as they banged in 52 goals in a memorable season.
It all got started with a 3-2 thriller at the Madjeski. The hosts were 2-0 down after 21 minutes but an incredible fightback spearheaded by Dave Kitson and Leroy Lita, no really, saw them take the three points.
Wigan v Blackpool – 2010
When Blackpool made their Premier League bow in 2010 they were written off as chancers who had little hope of remaining in the top flight. Granted they didn’t but Ian Holloway’s side sure did entertain.
The Tangerines showed us all exciting times ahead when they travelled to Wigan and absolutely dismantled the Latics 4-0 as they announced their arrival in the big time. Marlon Harewood grabbed a brace that day but his quest for the golden boot and The Seasiders’ dreams of survival ultimately went up in smoke.
Man City v Southampton – 2012
Southampton’s long awaited return to the Premier League saw them handed the most difficult of tasks as they travelled to the home of the champions to take on Man City. Saints may have lost on the day, in what went on to be a 3-2 epic, but they won a lot of fans that day.
Nigel Adkins’ men led with just 18 minutes to go before succumbing to the power of the Citizens. A defeat it may have been but it was the benchmark by which the St Mary’s residents have continued to aspire in their current guise as one of the league’s most exciting teams.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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