With the start of the new Premier League season now just days away, we take a look at some of the most memorable opening encounters.
Be warned Arsenal fans, it doesn’t make pretty reading for your side…
Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool, 2016-17
Memorable more for the lack of defending than anything else, as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp began his first full season in charge of the Reds with a pulsating victory. Arsenal went 1-0 up through Theo Walcott, but goals from Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane put the visitors out of sight.
Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa, 2013-14
In an afternoon that spawned the birth of Fan TV, Arsenal fans were left fuming after a shock opening day loss to an Aston Villa side managed by then hot property, Paul Lambert. How times change, eh? Antonio Luna scored one and Christian Benteke hit two as Gunners manager Arsene Wenger faced questions over his transfer activity.
Queens Park Rangers 0-5 Swansea City, 2012-13
The game in which Michu announced himself to the Premier League. Swansea City’s £2m capture from Rayo Vallecano netted twice as the Swans cruised to victory against big-spending Queens Park Rangers.
Wigan Athletic 0-4 Blackpool, 2010-11
Premier League newcomers Blackpool stunned Wigan Athletic with a comprehensive victory in their first top-flight campaign since 1971. A Marlon Harewood brace in-between strikes from Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Alex Baptiste put the Tangerines second in the fledgling table.
Everton 1-6 Arsenal, 2009-10
In a rare positive opening day for Arsenal, the Gunners ran riot at Goodison Park. A who’s who of Arsenal misfits from years gone by – Eduardo, William Gallas, Thomas Vermaelen and Denilson – all got on the scoresheet in the rout on Merseyside. Cesc Fabregas also chipped in with a pair of strikes.
Middlesbrough 3-3 Liverpool, 1996-97
One of the classic Premier League encounters. A Middlesbrough side featuring Emerson, Juninho and Fabrizio Ravanelli fought back from 1-0, 2-1 and 3-1 down to salvage an opening day draw. Bryan Robson’s swashbuckling Teesiders would later face the ignominy of relegation.
Aston Villa 3-1 Manchester United, 1995-96
“You’ll never win anything with kids.” Those words, immortalised by Alan Hansen on Match of the Day, are synonymous with this fixture. Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson had put trust in the kids after selling the likes of Mark Hughes and Paul Ince, but only David Beckham impressed in the garish grey kit at Villa Park. Ian Taylor, Mark Draper and Dwight Yorke – a player whom United would sign three years later – put the Red Devils to the sword.
Crystal Palace 1-6 Liverpool, 1994-95
New Liverpool manager Roy Evans couldn’t have got off to a better start at Selhurst Park. Freshly promoted Palace were put to the sword by Jan Molby, Robbie Fowler and two apiece from Steve McManaman and Ian Rush. Unsurprisingly the Eagles would go on to be relegated.
Arsenal 0-3 Coventry City, 1993-94
Humbled in the season opener the year before, Arsenal produced another horror show to begin the 1993-94 campaign. A Micky Quinn hat-trick proved decisive in seeing off the Gunners.
Arsenal 2-4 Norwich City, 1992-1993
It’s fair to say no-one expected this result on a sunny afternoon at Highbury in 1992. Norwich City had only avoided relegation by three points the year before, while Arsenal had Tony Adams, Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn in their defence. It didn’t matter though, as the visitors scored four second half goals to get manager Mike Walker off the mark with a win.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing