Preview| Premier League opening day
It’s 21 years since England’s richest clubs jumped into bed with Rupert Murdoch, in those innocent, pre-phone tapping, scandal-hit days.
Sheffield United’s Brian Deane scored the first goal of the ‘Premiership’ as it was then know as a Sean Bean-supported Blades added insult to Manchester United’s injury by putting an opening-day dent in their 26-year wait for the title after Leeds had pipped them the year before.
We didn’t know then that the Red Devils’ Sir Alex Ferguson and his portable hairdryer would go on to claim 13 Premier League titles or that Bean would take his method acting in Game of Thrones a little too far?
What we should have known though is that with all the new-found TV booty swishing about those who could spend the most would win the most – or in Arsenal’s case – have to rely on handy day-one homers.
Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge after stop offs at Inter Milan and Real Madrid and as our graph shows the Special One’s side top the opening-day table.
- Chelsea’s 44 points on the opening day is the best Premier League return.
Paddy Power’s opening day league table
What should raise an eye-brow or two is that top-tier virgins Cardiff have won 48 per cent of their opening games in the lesser divisions over those 21 years. And the curiously named Malkay MacKay will be hoping his side can keep that up when they visit Sam Allardyce’s West Ham.
The ‘will he go, won’t he go’ Gareth Bale
borefest saga will have a major impact on Spurs’ season – and AVB’s job prospects in North London.
But Tottenham are closer relegation than Champions League on the basis of their opening day results. An opening-day defeat to Newcastle last year was a blow – although it didn’t reflect how their seasons progressed after that as they were narrowly denied fourth-spot by Arsenal.
- Spurs have only won two of their last 12 opening Premier League games having lost six and drawn four.
Everton put their slow starters tag to one side last season when beating eventual champions Manchester United 1-0 at Goodison. But be cautious.
- The Toffees have lost seven of their opening league games in the past decade and have won the other three.
A Luis Suarez-less Liverpool face Stoke at Anfield in what many will chalk down as a home banker. But before you part with your hard-earned cash and come over all Mark Larenson-like about the Kop being the 12th man. take a look at the stats.
- Liverpool have not won an opening day fixture in four seasons – drawing two and home and losing twice away.
And while Southampton surprised a few by staying in the top tier last season history suggest not to expect any first-day heroics from Mauricio Pochettino side.
- The Saints have won just one of their 14 games on the opening day.
Day one won’t make-or-break a season but don’t say you weren’t warned when your banker goes bust.