Of course this weekend Manchester United are scheduled to face West Brom (unless the game gets called of as a result of the riots around the UK) in our opening Premier League fixture of the new season. With that in mind, it’s worth looking back at how United have got on, on opening-day Premier League history.
Here’s how United got on in the first 10 Premier League opening-day fixtures with the remaining 9 opening-day games to feature in a second article later today.
1992/93 – Sheffield United 2 United 1
Strangely for all our dominance in the Premier League, we lost our very first game in the league’s inaugural season and even conceded the first goal scored in the division as well. Two goals from Brian Deane proved the difference between the sides with United getting a consolation through Mark Hughes 30 minutes from time as the hosts held on for what turn out to be a famous win.
1993/94 – Norwich 0 United 2
As the reigning Champions goals from Ryan Giggs and Bryan Robson set United on their way to a comfortable win at Carrow Road. Robbo’s goal was his last one for the club and fittingly it was a goal that was his trademark, as he timed his run from midfield well to run onto Hughes’ short pass to bury the ball home to seal the three points.
1994/95 – United 2 QPR 0
In what would be a season that would end in double-heartbreak, United comfortably beat QPR – who return to the top-flight this season – at Old Trafford. After Clive Wilson was sent off for the visitors, Hughes put United ahead after half-time with a powerful strike from the edge of the area before Brian McClair doubled the lead heading home after Paul Ince’s shot came off the woodwork. The game finished 10 men aside as Paul Parker was sent off for hauling down Les Ferdinand late on.
1995/96 – Aston Villa 3 United 1
A strong Aston Villa side defeated a new-looking younger United side at Villa Park. After the game famously of course Alan Hansen on Match Of The Day commenting on our loss said his famous ‘You’ll never win anything with kids’ line. Of course Hansen was proven wrong at the end of the year as United won the double. David Beckham memorably scored his first league goal for United in this one.
1996/97 – Wimbledon 0 United 3
On paper this looked like a routine victory over the Crazy Gang and for 90 minutes that’s exactly what it was as goals from Eric Cantona and Denis Irwin put United 2-0 up. In the dying moments of the game though Beckham made this game memorable by scoring (yes you’ve guessed it) THAT goal from the half-way line which catapulted him into the limelight as the most famous young player of his generation.
1997/98 – Spurs 0 United 2
This was the game famous for Teddy Sheringham’s return to White Hart Lane following his move to United in the summer after Cantona retired. It was quite a day for Teddy as he was booed throughout the game and he missed a penalty. Late goals from Nicky Butt and Ramon Vega (own goal) saw United win the game though much to the relief of Teddy.
1998/99 – United 2 Leicester City 2
This game set the tone for what was of course that unforgettable Treble-Winning season. United looked out of shapes for the majority of the game as Martin O Neil’s side deservedly went into a 2-0 lead following strikes by Emile Heskey and Tony Cottee. A fortuitous Sheringham goal 10 minutes from time gave United hope before Beckham brilliantly curled in a free-kick in stoppage time to break the hearts of the Foxes.
1999/2000 – Everton 1 United 1
A late Jaap Stam own goal denied United victory against a stubborn Everton at Goodison Park. Dwight Yorke’s first-half strike had seemingly put us on the way to a comfortable victory against the Toffees who we had beaten 4-1 in the same fixture the year before. Good goalkeeping by Paul Gerrard kept the hosts in the game and they probably deserved their goal late on when Nicky Barmby’s header deflected in of United’s big Dutchman three minutes from time.
2000/01 – United 2 Newcastle 0
Magpie fans were left cursing Andrew Cole again as his goal after half-time sealed a comfortable win at Old Trafford for United in a game which was also memorable for Fabien Barthez’s league debut. A powerful header by Ronny Johnsen early on from a Beckham corner set United on our way before Cole linked up with Giggs to score another goal against his former side.
2001/02 – United 3 Fulham 2
Fulham to their credit made United work hard for this one as the newly promoted Division 1 Champions almost came away from Old Trafford with an astonishing win on their return to the top-flight. Our future forward Louis Saha shone for Fulham and put the Cottagers ahead twice in the first half either side of a trademark Beckham free-kick. Ruud van Nistelrooy on his league debut scored twice after half-time to seal a narrow home win.
By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87