The 2012/13 Premier League season is upon us – and many expectant fans look at their opening fixture with excitement and dread.
While they can’t wait to see their boys take to the field, they often worry about a heavy defeat at the hands of unheralded opponents.
Fans of big sides like Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United will want to get off to a winning start, but fear being humbled by so-called ‘lesser teams’.
Champions City are at home against newly-promoted Southampton and Chelsea head north to perennial strugglers Wigan hoping to avoid an early-season surprise.
Opening-day shocks do happen and with that in mind, here are five of the biggest surprise first-week results in the Premier League’s history.
Sheffield United 2 Manchester United 1 (1992/93)
Although the inaugural season of the Premier League ended with them topping the league, Alex Ferguson’s young United side didn’t get off to a good start.
Shock result aside, this game was famous because it featured the first ever Premier League goal, which was scored by the Yorkshire side’s Brian Deane, who also got their second.
Wigan 0 Blackpool 4 (2010/11)
Perhaps the least fancied side to win promotion to the top flight in recent years, Blackpool were expected to lose this match against a limited but dogged Wigan team.
Goals from Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Alex John-Baptiste and a brace from Marlon Harewood gave the Tangerines a memorable victory.
Despite their high scoring and fluid style of play, Blackpool ended up being relegated on the final day, but not without providing neutrals with plenty of excitement.
Arsenal 2 Norwich City 4 (1992/93)
The first in a long line of poor opening-day results, this Arsenal team suffered a surprise defeat to Norwich City, who would eventually finish third in the table.
This six-goal thriller saw goals from David Phillips, Ruel Fox and two from Mark Robins breach the normally rock-solid Arsenal defence.
Arsenal 0 Coventry 3 (1993/94)
The Gunners weren’t one of the major forces of English football at the time, but they were expected to see off Coventry, who seemed destined for a relegation struggle.
A hat-trick from Micky Quinn, though, ensured that the Sky Blues would leave North London with all three points.
Middlesbrough 0 Bradford City 1 (1999/00)
Pundits had written off newly-promoted Bradford City before the season started, with some saying they were the worst team to ever play in the top flight.
Fortunately for Bantams fans, an opening-day victory at the Riverside thanks to a goal from veteran Dean Saunders was the first of many memorable victories. This result ultimately helped them escape relegation, which they did on the final day of the season by beating Liverpool.