With the new Premier League season fixtures announced, we examine the importance of the opening day results.
While no medals are handed out in August, it’s considered important to get off to a fast start – but perhaps a team’s fortunes on the opening day of the season are rather more significant than it might seem.
For example, only one club has lost their first game of a Premier League season and gone on to win the title. That suggests as many as 10 clubs could effectively see their championship chances end on the opening weekend!
Manchester United were the only team to suffer an opening day defeat but emerge as champions – and they’ve done it three times (1992/93, 1995/96 and 2012/13). So, don’t rule out Jose Mourinho’s men if their first match doesn’t go according to plan.
In fact, the opening game is more of an indicator of past success than future glory. With their 2-1 defeat to Hull City last season, Leicester City became the first Premier League champions to lose their opening game of the season.
So how does your team fare in the first round of matches? Here are some of the key stats for each of the 20 Premier League teams in 2017/18…
– Have now lost three of their last four opening fixtures: 4-3 at home to Liverpool last August, 2-0 at home to West Ham in August 2015, and a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in 2013.
– Prior to that Aston Villa loss, Arsenal had gone unbeaten in their previous 12 opening fixtures, winning eight.
– Lost their first Premier League game 1-0 at home to Aston Villa in August 2015.
– Started 2008/09 season with 1-1 League Two home draw versus Gillingham which moved them onto -16 points and in 23rd place.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
– Started last season’s promotion campaign with a 0-0 draw away to Derby County.
– Have only won one of their last five opening day fixtures in the Championship – 2-1 at home to Doncaster Rovers in August 2012 thanks to a late double from Will Buckley.
– Have never won an opening day fixture in the Premier League. Lost 2-0 at Stoke in August 2009, suffered a 3-1 defeat at home to Chelsea in August 2014 and were beaten 1-0 at home to Swansea last year.
– Aside from those three losses in the Premier League, Burnley are unbeaten in their previous five opening day fixtures in the Championship (W2 D3).
– Have the best opening weekend record in Premier League history – P25 W16 D6 L3. They have the most points (54 from possible 75) and best points-per-game (2.16) of any Premier League club in opening day matches.
– A 2-1 win at home to West Ham last season extended their unbeaten run on opening weekends. They have not lost their initial Premier League fixture for the last 18 seasons (W15 D3) since a 2-1 defeat at Coventry (August 1998).
– After last year’s 1-0 defeat at home to West Brom, Palace have only won two out of eight opening day fixtures in the Premier League.
– Lost 6-1 at home versus Liverpool on opening day of 1994/95.
– Won one of last nine opening day fixtures (D4 L4) – only win was 1-0 home v Manchester United (August 2012).
– Lost 6-1 at home versus Arsenal in opening fixture in 2009.
– Started last season in the Championship by beating Brentford 2-1 at home, with Kasey Palmer scoring the winner.
– The win over Brentford was their first opening day win since they won 3-0 at Notts County in League One in August 2010.
– Have won just one of their previous 10 opening day Premier League fixtures (D5, L4) after last season’s 2-1 loss away to Hull City.
– In their only win (4-2 against Sunderland in August 2015), Leicester were 3-0 up inside 25 minutes.
– Won last four opening fixtures: 1-0 at home v Stoke (August 2013), 2-1 at home v Southampton (August 2014), 1-0 at Stoke (August 2015) and 4-3 at Arsenal (August 2016).
– Won six of their last 14 games on the opening day (D5 L3).
– Unbeaten in last eight opening weekend fixtures (W7 D1) – last defeat was 4-2 at Aston Villa (August 2008).
– Begun each of their two Premier League title-winning seasons with 4-0 home wins on Monday Night Football (v Newcastle in 2013 and v Swansea in 2011). But a 3-0 MNF win at West Brom only led to a fourth-place finish in 2015/16.
– Won last season’s opening fixture 3-1 at Bournemouth with goals from Juan Mata, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney.
– Opening day record reads: P25, W16, D4, L5, only Chelsea have a better record.
– Kicked off last season in the Championship with a 1-0 defeat away to Fulham.
– Their last opening game in the Premier League was a 2-2 draw with Southampton at St James’ Park (August 2015).
– Started last season with a 1-1 draw at home to Watford.
– Premier League record on opening day: P18 W2 D8 L8 – won 1-0 at West Brom in August 2013 and 1-0 at Coventry in August 1999. Both winners came in or after the 85th minute.
– Won one of nine opening Premier League fixtures (D3, L5) – 2-0 v Burnley (H) in August 2009.
– Started last season with a 1-1 draw away to Middlesbrough.
– Beat Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor last season thanks to a late strike from Leroy Fer.
– Avenged a 2013 4-1 opening weekend home defeat to Manchester United with a 2-1 triumph at Old Trafford in 2014.
– Drew 1-1 at Everton on opening day of 2016/17 – and did not suffer defeat in any of their first 12 games of that campaign.
– Have only won three of last 11 opening day fixtures (D2 L6).
– Unbeaten in nine opening league games (W5 D5) since 2-1 Premier League defeat at Everton in 2006/07.
– Started last season with a 1-1 draw at Southampton in which substitute Ben Watson was sent off for two yellow cards.
– Last season’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace was only their second opening day Premier League win from 11 games – only other win was 3-0 at home to Liverpool (August 2016).
– Newly-promoted West Brom’s 6-0 defeat at Chelsea (August 2010) remains the heaviest opening weekend defeat for any club in Premier League history.
– Kicked off last season with a 2-1 defeat away to eventual champions Chelsea.
– West Ham had already played six Europa League fixtures by the time they beat Arsenal in their PL opener for the 2015/16 season. Their season had started on July 2.