Every Premier League club’s best and worst opening day in the modern era

Date published: Saturday 6th August 2022 8:06 - Ian Watson

Everton and Liverpool score goals on previous Premier League opening days.

The Premier League season is back! So we’ve picked out the best and worst opening day of the last 15 years for every top-flight team…


Best: 6-1 v Everton (a) 09/10: Cesc Fabregas ran the show, scoring twice in addition to goals from Denilson, Thomas Vermaelen, William Gallas and Eduardo. Everton got off lightly.

Worst: 1-3 v Villa (h) 13/14: Arsene Wenger blamed the referee after Arsenal conceded two penalties and had Laurent Koscielny sent off, all after going ahead. They were booed off. Obviously.


Best: 3-1 v Arsenal (a) 13/14: As much as this was made out to be about Arsenal’s woes, it was a damn fine comeback from Villa, who replied to Olivier Giroud’s opener through Christian Benteke’s double and a late strike from Tony Moon.

Worst: 0-1 v Sheffield Wednesday (a) 16/17: Villa’s first game in the second tier for 28 years ended in defeat at Hillsborough after Pierluigi Gollini gifted the Owls an 85th-minute winner.


Best: 4-0 v Huddersfield (a) 14/15: There’s little notable about their previous Premier League openers, so we’re taking the Cherries back to Huddersfield, where Callum Wilson scored twice and missed a penalty for his hat-trick as Eddie Howe’s side began their Championship promotion season in style.

Worst: 0-1 v Aston Villa (h) 15/16: The Cherries’ first ever game in the Premier League ended in anti-climax after Rudy Gestede gave Tim Sherwood’s side a narrow victory.


Best: 2-0 v Arsenal (h) 21/22: The Bees introduced themselves to the Premier League on the Friday night of the opening weekend with a fully-deserved victory over the Gunners, given to them by goals from Sergi Canos and Christian Norgaard.

Worst: 0-1 v Bury (a) 08/09: Illustrating how far the Bees have come, in 2008, they went to since-liquidated Bury and lost 1-0 on the opening day of the League Two season. The 2010/11 season didn’t start much better: a trek to Carlisle to lose 2-0, but at least that was in League One.


Best: 3-0 v Watford (a) 19/20: In Graham Potter’s first league match in charge, Brighton swept the Hornets aside with Neal Maupay bagging on his debut a few days after becoming the club’s record signing.

Worst: 1-2 v Leeds (a) 13/14: The Seagulls made a 500-mile round trip to surrender a one-goal lead and lose to a last-minute Luke Murphy goal at Elland Road.


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Best: 6-0 v West Brom (h) 10/11: Chelsea began the season in 2010 with a Baggie battering thanks in no small part to hat-trick hero Didier Drogba.

Worst: 2-2 v Swansea (h) 15/16: Losing 3-2 to Burnley with nine men in 2017 was bad but opening day in 2015 was when it all started to unravel for Jose Mourinho, when Diego Costa had to rescue a point following Thibaut Courtois’ red card on the day of the Eva Carneiro controversy.


Best: 3-1 v Norwich (a) 15/16: Palace got lucky when Cameron Jerome had a goal ruled out that would have taken it to 2-2 with 15 minutes left, but Yohan Cabaye made the points safe with a late third on his Eagles debut.

Worst: 0-3 v Huddersfield (h) 17/18: The Frank de Boer era, if we can call it that, got off to a wretched start with a humiliating home defeat to newly-promoted Town. It got no better for the new Palace boss before he was axed four games later.


Best: 1-0 v Man Utd (h) 12/13: Everton’s opening-day record isn’t great but the Toffees stepped it up on Monday Night Football as Marouane Fellaini stole the show on Robin van Persie’s Manchester United debut.

Worst: 1-6 v Arsenal (h) 09/10: ‘The scoreline was, if anything, kind to David Moyes’s side,’ read the Telegraph match report. Joleon Lescott wanted to go to Manchester City and he played like he’d rather have been anywhere else but Goodison.


Best: 5-0 v Norwich (h) 12/13: Fulham topped the Premier League table after battering Norwich at Craven Cottage, where Mladen Petric scored twice on his debut.

Worst: 0-2 v Crystal Palace (h) 18/19: Fulham have lost all five of their opening day fixtures after being promoted to the top flight. Ths year: Liverpool. At least there isn’t the expectation there was after a spending spree in 2018, which was somewhat dampened by a home defeat to Palace.


Best: 3-1 v Stoke (h) 18/19: Leeds fans’ first taste of Bielsa-ball and how sweet football could be after being served a steady diet of dog sh*t for the previous decade and a half. Stoke were the pre-season promotion favourites but they were blown away by Leeds, who won with goals from Mateusz Klich, Pablo Hernandez and Liam Cooper.

Worst: 1-5 v Man Utd (a) 21/22: Leeds have had some miserable opening day trips in the last 15 years, like Scunthorpe, Tranmere and Exeter. But at least the Whites left those places with the points. All they got on the big stage at Old Trafford was an absolute humping.


Best: 4-2 v Sunderland (h) 15/16: The first chapter of the Foxes’ fairytale saw the hosts go 3-0 up inside the opening 25 minutes as Claudio Ranieri enjoyed his first game back in the Premier League for 11 years.

Worst: 1-2 v Hull (a) 16/17: Just as Leicester started as they meant to go on the year before, the same could be said of their first game as defending champions at the KC Stadium. The Foxes played like they’d been on the p*ss all summer, which they probably had been. Fair dos.


Best: 4-3 v Arsenal (a) 16/17: Despite Alberto Moreno’s best efforts to ruin it all, the Reds left the Emirates with three points after a stunning second half and a brilliant brace from Philippe Coutinho.

Worst: 0-3 v West Brom (a) 12/13: “I think there are three players who will let us down this year – the cause, the fight, everything. And I have written them down already… make sure you are not the one in the envelope.” 24 hours later…


Best: 4-0 v Swansea (h) 11/12: Beating West Ham 5-0 in 2019 was impressive but rather more run of the mill for a City side used to winning the league. In 2011, Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a second-half brace as City began their first title-winning season in style on Monday Night Football.

Worst: 2-4 v Aston Villa (a) 08/09: A fortnight before the Sheikhs strolled in, Mark Hughes’ side, which featured Kelvin Etuhu, Javier Garrido and Ched Evans, were torn apart by Gabby Agbonlahor’s hat-trick.


Best: 5-1 v Leeds (h) 21/22: Old Trafford’s first full house post-Covid saw United unveil Raphael Varane before his new team ripped Leeds to pieces with Bruno Fernandes bagging a hat-trick. It went quickly downhill from there.

Worst: 1-2 v Swansea (h) 14/15: Louis van Gaal’s first game in charge ended in anti-climax after Gylfi Sigurdsson inflicted upon United their first opening-day defeat at home since 1972.


Best: 3-1 v Bolton (a) 07/08: Sam Allardyce took his new Newcastle side to his old stomping ground and watched the Magpies go 3-0 up inside 27 minutes. Their form continued as the Toon won five and drew two of their opening nine games, but Big Sam was gone by early January.

Worst: 0-4 v Man City (a) 13/14: Newcastle were already 2-0 down when Steven Taylor got himself sent off for swinging at Aguero on the stroke of half-time. Tim Krul had to make a series of brilliant saves to keep the score down.


Best: 4-3 v Burton (h) 16/17: Forest have won four of their five Premier League openers – but the most recent of those was in 1998. Away from the top flight, the opening weekend hasn’t brought much joy over the last 15 years. Winning a seven-goal thriller against their local rivals to start Philippe Montanier’s reign perhaps being the most memorable.

Worst: 0-0 v Bournemouth (a) 07/08: A decade and a half ago, Colin Calderwood’s Forest went all the way to the south coast for a goalless stalemate that was the start of four without a win in League One. At least it got better from there and Forest ended the season with promotion.


Best: 1-0 v West Brom (a) 13/14: Rickie Lambert followed up a goal on his England debut in the days before the trip to The Hawthorns by slotting in a last-minute penalty won by Luke Shaw.

Worst: 1-4 v Crystal Palace (h) 07/08: Losing 3-0 at Burnley in the Premier League in 2019 sucked but being battered at home in the Championship and allowing James Scowcroft a hat-trick was worse.


Best: 1-0 v West Ham (a) 14/15: Eric Dier scored a last-minute winner on his debut to give Spurs a London derby win at Upton Park and hand Mauricio Pochettino his first win as manager in a match that ended 10v10.

Worst: 0-1 v Sunderland (a) 07/08: Spurs don’t have a great record on the opening day but losing to newly-promoted Sunderland thanks to Michael Chopra’s goal with almost the last kick particularly stank the place out.


Best: 2-0 v Arsenal (a) 15/16: Petr Cech was supposed to be the answer to Arsenal’s goalkeeping problems but the former Chelsea stopper earned a place in Hammers’ hearts with a decidedly ropey display on his debut, gifting goals to Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate as Slaven Bilic got off to a winning start as boss.

Worst: 0-1 v Tottenham (h) 14/15: Another London derby defeat at home in the last minute probably hurt more than being humped 5-0 by champions Man City in 2019.


Best: 2-2 v Everton (a) 18/19: Wolves have won one of their Premier League openers – a 2-0 triumph at Sheffield United in 2020. But that was behind closed doors, and Wolves fans are sure to reminisce more fondly on their first game back in the Premier League for six seasons when Nuno’s side impressed while claiming a late point at Goodison.

Worst: 0-0 v Preston (A) 13/14: Wolves took 5,000 to Deepdale for the first match of Kenny Jackett’s reign only for the visiting fans to witness a goalless League One stalemate.

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