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Greatest opening weekend matches in Premier League history

The first weekend of the new season is always something to look forward to and, ahead of the Premier League returning on Friday, we look back on some very memorable matches from previous opening weekends in the top flight.

Included in our top five rundown is Aston Villa's home success over Manchester United in 1995 which prompted pundit Alan Hansen's famous "You can't win anything with kids" comment, while there's also a first-weekend thriller between Arsenal and Liverpool to remember.

Across the opening weekend this year, champions Manchester City are 3/10 to start with victory at newly-promoted Burnley, last term's runners-up, Arsenal, are 1/4 to see off Nottingham Forest, while Manchester United are 4/11 to win at home against Wolves.

What2023/24 Premier League
WhereEngland
WhenFriday 11th August 2023 - Sunday 19th May 2024
How to watchSky Sports, TNT Sports, Amazon Prime
Odds (Outright)Man City 8/11, Arsenal 5/1, Liverpool 8/1, Man Utd 11/1, Chelsea 12/1, Newcastle 14/1

August 1992 - Arsenal 2-4 Norwich City

The Gunners were considered among the favourites to win the title when they kicked off the first-ever Premier League season at home to Norwich in August 1992.

The first-half at Highbury went to plan as they were 2-0 in front at the break through goals from Steve Bould and Kevin Campbell but the Canaries stormed back in the second 45 minutes to secure a shock 4-2 win.

Mark Robins hit a brace and efforts from Ruel Fox and David Phillips sealed a brilliant comeback success for Mike Walker's side, who would prove this result was no fluke as they went on to finish third in the inaugural Premier League campaign, while Arsenal ended up in a thoroughly underwhelming 10th.

August 1995 - Aston Villa 3-1 Manchester United

United had been pipped to the title the previous season by Blackburn Rovers and were expected to respond in 1995/96 but their opening-day defeat at Aston Villa left many wondering what lay in store for Alex Ferguson's young side.

Brothers Gary and Phil Neville, who were 20 and 18 respectively, a 20-year-old Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, who was also 20, all started the game and Villa raced into a 3-0 half-time lead against the inexperienced visitors.

A certain David Beckham, himself only 20, scored a second-half consolation but the manner of the defeat forced Hansen to question Ferguson putting so much trust in his young players.

However, the United boss and his side would have the last laugh as they went on to demonstrate that age was no barrier to success. They proved their quality by winning a league and FA Cup double that season with all the aforementioned youngsters going on to have long and distinguished careers.

August 2001 - Leicester 0-5 Bolton Wanderers

Bolton had just been promoted to the top flight and were tipped by many to go straight back down in the 2001/02 season but they made a mockery of those predictions on the opening day when they hammered Leicester 5-0 at Filbert Street.

In a sensational first-half display, the Trotters were 4-0 up at the break thanks to two goals from Kevin Nolan and one apiece from Michael Ricketts and Per Frandsen, the latter being a fine strike from a free-kick.

Dane Frandsen had a sparkling afternoon as he had had a big hand in both of Nolan's goals and he then added his second and Bolton's fifth late on in the second half, curling home his second free-kick of the game.

August 2016 - Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool

An exciting opening-weekend encounter at the Emirates between Arsenal and Liverpool ended in a 4-3 away win in the first game of what was Jurgen Klopp's first full season in charge of the Merseysiders.

Theo Walcott and Philippe Coutinho were on target at either end in the first half to make it 1-1 but Liverpool raced into a 4-1 lead after the break with three goals in 14 minutes from Adam Lallana, Coutinho again and a stunning individual strike from new-signing Sadio Mane.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who would join Liverpool just over a year later, gave Arsenal hope when he made it 4-2 and Calum Chambers' effort 15 minutes from time ensured a very nervy finish but the visitors held on.

August 2017 - Chelsea 2-3 Burnley

A year later, Burnley caused a huge shock on the opening day when they ran out 3-2 winners at Stamford Bridge against defending champions Chelsea.

The Clarets sensed it could be a day to remember for them when Gary Cahill was sent off inside 15 minutes for the hosts and Sean Dyche's men took full advantage of their extra man with Sam Vokes scoring twice while Stephen Ward was also on target before half-time.

Chelsea did rally with two goals in the second period through Alvaro Morata and David Luiz, but they also had Cesc Fabregas sent off to cap a dismal opening match for the Blues.

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