Three of last season’s top four were in action on the opening day of the 2016-17 Premier League campaign and their fortunes couldn’t have been more varied.
For Leicester, it was the worst possible start as they became the first champions since Arsenal in 1989 to lose the maiden match of their defence and, whereas the Gunners went down to Manchester United, the Foxes fell 2-1 to 8/11 relegation favourites Hull.
Tottenham fell somewhere in between with a 1-1 draw away to Everton which has to be considered a par performance given that it was the third time in four visits to Goodison Park that the sides had shared spoils, while the Toffees led within five minutes and were impressive without.
Title favourites Manchester City did the best of the trio, at least in terms of result, by seeing off Sunderland 2-1, although what looked like being a routine win when they led within four minutes wasn’t secured until Paddy McNair’s 87th-minute own goal after Jermain Defoe’s second-half leveller.
Consequently, the trio’s title odds are reflective of those results, with the Citizens still at the top of the market at 21/10, Spurs behind all the leading contenders at 10/1 and Leicester remaining unfancied to retain at 33/1.
However, it was the Lilywhites’ week-one scoreline which has most commonly been converted into glory, with four prior Premier League champions kicking off with a 1-1 draw. The most recent example was Man Utd in 2008-09 when they were held at home by Newcastle.
Yet Blackburn (1994-95), Arsenal (1997-98) and the Red Devils again (1999-00) have all commenced with 1-1 draws on their travels and gone on to finish first, with the latter actually doing so against Everton exactly as Mauricio Pochettino’s men did.
That is the most frequent opening-day output of title winners. By contrast, just two sides got going in a successful season with a 2-1 triumph like Man City – Arsenal in 2003-04 and Chelsea in 2009-10 – and only one recovered from a 2-1 reverse like Leicester, which was Man Utd way back in 1992-93.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.