With next season’s Premier League fixture list revealed, managers and their coaching staff will have already started putting plans in place for their first few games.
We analyse the opening day records of each Premier League club over the last 20 seasons to see which bosses will be under the most pressure to start well.
- Defending champions Chelsea are strong starters, whoever the manager. Last year’s win over West Ham took their impressive run of consecutive opening day matches without defeat to 18, a sequence stretching back to a 2-1 loss at Coventry in 1998. Since then they have started 15 campaigns with a win and only three with a draw.
- Maintaining the next-longest unbeaten opening-day run in the Premier League falls to new Watford boss Marco Silva . The Hornets can make it 11 successive curtain-raisers without defeat when they host Liverpool , having last lost one when they travelled to Everton at the start of 2006/07. That turned into a nightmare campaign that saw them win just one of their first 22 matches.
- Arsene Wenger may have a new contract – but Arsenal have not been convincing starters recently. The Gunners have won just one of their last seven openers, although prior to that they had prevailed in eight out of nine. Crystal Palace, currently managerless, have been victorious just once in their last six attempts after only losing one of the previous 10.
- One manager hoping to hit the ground running for a change will be Mark Hughes . Stoke, who open at Everton, have failed to win any of their last seven opening-day fixtures and have only triumphed in two of their last 12.
- This time last year, West Brom had the worst opening day record, having lost 11 of their last 20 opening matches. However, Tony Pulis’ first-day triumph at former club Palace will give Baggies fans hope ahead of this year’s opener at home to Bournemouth.
- Of the promoted trio, Huddersfield are the slowest starters over the last 20 years, losing 11 openers in that time – although they did beat Brentford at home under David Wagner first time out in 2016/17. N ewcastle have won only one opener since 2007, while Brighton’s draw at Derby last term was their first opening day stalemate since 2005.
- West Ham are the least likely Premier League team to draw their opening match. Their goalless game at Leicester in 2004 is the only time they have not either won or lost first time out since 1994.
- Tottenham fans may not have been surprised to see the north London club start at Newcastle – Spurs have not started a season at home since 2010.