The summer football drought is almost over with the return of the Premier League this weekend. Weeks of anticipation and giddiness can come to a mighty crescendo and we can all fall back into the habit of slating TV pundits and laughing at Phil Jones’ latest gurn-face.
We hate to burst the bubble of fans looking forward to the opening day of action, but here at the Paddy Power Blog we’ve crunched the numbers to see which sides have the best opening day records. Going all the way back to the 1992/93 season we’ve collated the results for every Premier League side to find out who tends to hit the ground running, and which side start slower than your nan’s Nissan Micra.
The news is good if you’re a Chelsea fan, and unsurprisingly Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool all have impressive records – while there are promising signs for newly promoted Watford and Slaven Bilic’s West Ham.
Jose Mourinho will be a happy man reading the stats as Chelsea traditionally start the season all guns blazing. In the 23 games analysed, the Pensioners have lost just three and posted a win rate of 65 per cent. The Special One himself has an unblemished record on the opening day as Chelsea gaffer. He’s been in charge for six games on the opening day of the Premier League season and won every one – it’s hardly been an easy set of fixtures either with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United and a 3-0 win against Manchester City included in those six. Chelsea are 1/3 to kick-start their campaign with another win on Saturday when they face Swansea at Stamford Bridge.
Louis van Gaal got his Manchester United reign off to a losing start on the opening day last season, when Swansea sprung an upset to win 2-1 at Old Trafford. But despite this, United’s win rate on the opening day is one of the best. They have a 61 per cent win rate since 1992/93, picking up 46 points from a possible 69. The Red Devils kick off the season at home to Tottenham at 12.45pm and are the 8/13 favourites to start off with a win. Spurs in comparison have just a 35 per cent win rate on the opening day but are looking for their third opening day win on the spin.
Arsenal and West Ham go head-to-head on Sunday afternoon with both sides featuring in the top six in our statistics. Unfortunately for the Hammers it might be one of the only tables where they finish in the top six this season, and they’re a massive 8/1 to pick up the win at the Emirates. The Gunners are a skinny 3/10 to pick up three points and continue their good opening day form.
There’s good news for Watford fans as they return to the top flight, despite being the bookies’ favourites for the drop. The Hornets have a 48 per cent win rate on the opening day and will be hoping they can take that form into the first game away to Everton at odds of 9/2. The Toffees’ win rate is a miserable 26 per cent since 1992/93 and Roberto Martinez will be under more pressure than Gwen Stefani’s lawyer if he gets Everton off to another bad start.
The Toffees don’t have the worst opening day record in the league however, that unwelcome honour goes to Southampton. The Saints have won just three of the last 23 games on the opening day, giving them a measly win rate of just 13 per cent. Since returning to the top flight Southampton have lost twice on the opening day and won once – a last-minute Rickie Lambert penalty stealing three points away to West Brom two years ago. Ronald Koeman’s side face an unpredictable Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday and are 6/4 to get the season off to the perfect start.
Backing the top four opening day sides – Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal – this weekend, returns a tempting little fourfold of 11/2 with Paddy Power. Either way it looks set to be a good weekend if you’re a Chelsea fan but remember, at the risk of having to pay a ‘cliche fine’ in the office, it’s a marathon not a sprint.
- Get stuck into the latest Premier League odds on the opening weekend of the season here: Desktop | Mobile
- Arsenal, Liverpool, or Manchester United? Find out where your money is going on the Premier League 2015/16
- Manchester United v Tottenham: Louis van Gaal is the cock of the North, and punters can kick-start the season with this 7/1 shot
- The five best bets you need to know ahead of the new Championship season