The five most iconic opening day Premier League fixtures

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The opening day of a Premier League season brings with it shocks, thrills and most importantly for fans everywhere the relief that their Saturdays once again have a purpose.

We have worked our way through the archives in readiness for the start of the 2012/13 campaign and looked for the greatest opening-day clashes.

There have been many missed from the list, after all five games from 210 first-day fixtures is a tall order.

Sheffield United 2 – 1 Manchester United, August 15th 1992

Brian Deane wrote himself into the history books and Pub Quiz chronicles as he became the first man to score a Premier League goal, bundling home against the Red Devils after four minutes. The Blades went on to win this tie against the eventual champions as Alex Ferguson’s men gave little notice of the dynasty they were about to create.

Aston Villa 3 – 1 Manchester United, August 19th 1995

Another one involving United, and another resulting in a defeat. Again this story has a happy ending for the red side of Manchester much to the dismay of BBC pundit Alan Hansen. This opening day loss to Aston Villa saw the former Liverpool defender claim ‘you can’t win anything with kids’, as a side containing Gary Neville, David Beckham, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt were brushed aside in the Midlands. The youngsters picked themselves up and went on to prove Hansen wrong, going on to win a league and cup double.

Middlesbrough 3 – 3 Liverpool, August 17th 1996

Fabrizio Ravanelli left Juventus in the summer of 1996 to take up a new challenge as the spearhead of the Middlesbrough attack. It seemed an odd decision for a man regarded as one of Europe’s most talented footballers but he showed his class by hitting a hat-trick in one of the most absorbing first-day clashes in history. The White Feather could not do enough to keep Boro in the division, but he taught the nation how to celebrate, unleashing his famous display of shirt over the head jubilance no fewer than 17 times in the season.

Wimbledon 0 – 3 Manchester United, August 17th 1996

This game is quite simply remembered for Beckham. After nailing down a place in the Manchester United first team, Becks the brand went stratospheric with almost one swing of his right boot. The future England skipper picked up the ball on the halfway line and lofted it over the top of Neil Sullivan and into the empty goal. Within a blink of an eye he was dating a Spice Girl, modelling for Brylcream and wearing sarongs.

Chelsea 1 – 0 Manchester United, August 15th

Jose Mourinho arrived in England proclaiming himself the Special One and set his sights on ending the Arsenal-Man United duopoly. His first test saw him take on Fergie’s men and he passed that with flying colours as the 1-0 win over the Red Devils saw his side set a precedent for a season that would see them lose just once on their way to a first Premier League title. Chelsea went on to win successive championships as Jose took England by storm.

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Aaron Cox

Aaron has written for a number of top-level publications, including FourFourTwo and the Manchester Evening News. As well as being a fanatical Rochdale AFC fan and blogger, he shares a passion for rugby league and golf.