Arsenal have been handed a tough start to the 2018/19 Premier League season against champions Manchester City, but what is the significance of the opening day? And how does your team normally fare in their annual curtain-raiser?
There are no medals handed out in August, of course, 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, which suggests as many as 10 clubs could effectively see their title 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, do not rule out Jose Mourinho’s men if their first match does not go according to plan.
In fact, the opening game is more of an indicator of past success than future glory. With their 3-2 loss to Burnley last season, Chelsea became only the second reigning Premier League champions to lose their opening game after Leicester in the previous season.
So what do the stats say about your team’s opening-day record? Here are some of the key figures for each of the 20 Premier League teams in 2018/19.
– Have lost three of their last five opening fixtures: 4-3 at home to Liverpool in 2016, 2-0 at home to West Ham in 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, a statistic which highlights the club’s transformation in recent years.
– Lost their first Premier League game 2-0 at home to Manchester City last August.
– Have only won one of their last six opening-day fixtures overall – a 2-1 win at home to Doncaster Rovers in August 2012 thanks to a late double from Will Buckley.
– Last season’s 3-2 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was their first Premier League opening-day win.
– Previously, their results were a 2-0 loss at Stoke in August 2009, a 3-1 defeat at home to Chelsea in August 2014, and a 1-0 reverse at home to Swansea in August 2016.
– Lost their only previous opening-day fixture in the Premier League – 2-0 away to West Ham in 2013.
– The defeat to West Ham is Cardiff’s only opening-day loss in the last 10 years across the Championship and Premier League. Their record in that time is W5 D4 L1.
– Last season’s 3-2 loss at Burnley ended a run of 18 opening days unbeaten and made them only the second reigning champions in Premier League history to lose their opening fixture.
– Have the second-best opening weekend record in Premier League history – P26 W16 D6 L4 – after Manchester United.
– After last year’s 3-0 defeat at home to Huddersfield, Palace have only won two out of nine opening-day fixtures in the Premier League.
– Lost 6-1 at home against Liverpool on opening day of 1994/95 – their first Premier League game.
– 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.
– Drew the opening game of last year’s promotion campaign 1-1 against Norwich as Nelson Oliveira’s 88th-minute goal cancelled out Russell Martin’s own goal.
– Overall Premier League opening-day record reads P13 W5 D4 L4.
– Won their first Premier League game 3-0 away to Crystal Palace last year.
– Have only won two of their last seven opening day fixtures overall.
– Have won just one of their previous 11 opening-day Premier League fixtures (D5, L5) after last season’s 4-3 loss away to Arsenal.
– In their only win (4-2 against Sunderland in August 2015), Leicester were 3-0 up inside 25 minutes.
– Last year’s 3-3 draw with Watford ended a run of four consecutive opening day wins: 1-0 at home v Stoke (2013), 2-1 at home v Southampton (2014), 1-0 at Stoke (2015) and 4-3 at Arsenal (2016).
– Have only won six of their last 15 games on the opening day (D6 L3).
– Unbeaten in last nine opening-weekend fixtures (W8 D1) – last defeat was 4-2 at Aston Villa in 2008.
– Have begun each of their three Premier League title-winning season with wins to nil: 2-0 away to Brighton last year, and 4-0 home wins over Newcastle and Swansea in 2013 and 2011 respectively.
– Last season’s 4-0 win over West Ham was their biggest opening-day victory since they thrashed Fulham 5-1 in 2006.
– Have the best opening-day record in the Premier League. It reads: P26, W17, D4, L5.
– Lost their opening game last season – 2-0 at home to Tottenham.
– Overall opening day record in the Premier League is P23 W7 D7 L9.
– Started last season with a 0-0 draw at home to Swansea.
– Have only won two opening-day Premier League games out of 19, drawing nine and losing eight. Only wins came against West Brom in 2013 (1-0) and Coventry in 1999 (1-0).
– Beat Newcastle 2-0 at St James’ Park in their opening game of last season.
– Have only won four of last 12 opening day fixtures (D2 L6).
– Unbeaten in 10 opening league games (W5 D6) since 2-1 Premier League defeat at Everton in 2006/07.
– Started last season with a 3-3 draw against Liverpool thanks to Miguel Britos’ late equaliser at Vicarage Road.
– Started last season with a 4-0 loss away to Manchester United.
– West Ham had already played six Europa League fixtures by the time they beat Arsenal in their Premier League opener for the 2015/16 season. That year, their season started on July 2.
– Last season’s Championship promotion campaign began with a 1-0 win at home to Middlesbrough thanks to Leo Bonatini’s first-half goal.
– Have won their last two Premier League opening fixtures – 2-1 away to Blackburn in 2011 and 2-1 at home to Stoke in 2010.
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