Premier League: Who has your team played most often on the opening day?

With the 2022/23 fixtures being published on Thursday, Planet Sport takes a look at the history of the opening day - who's played who the most?

'We always play them at the start of the season.'

'Didn't we go there on the first day last year?'

The Premier League fixtures are published at 9am on Thursday (June 16) and we're sure you're wondering who your team will be playing first.

Will it be a familiar early-season foe?

Planet Sport's Andy Schooler took at look at each team's most common first opponent over the 30-year history of the Premier League and here's what he found.

Most-played opening-day game

The game which has been played most often on the opening day in Premier League history has been between Tottenham and Newcastle.

They've met on four occasions on matchday one, with the last three meetings all coming in the last 10 years.

Spurs have actually had to travel to the north east for their opening match in five of the last 15 seasons.

Tottenham vs Manchester City is another common day-one encounter - that's occurred three times in City's 25 Premier League seasons or, to put it another way, 12% of them.

Three years running?

Newcastle have actually played another London club on the opening day in each of the last two seasons, namely West Ham.

Surely a third successive opener can't happen, can it?

The ever-presents

The original 'Big Five' - Manchester United, Liverpool, EvertonArsenal and Tottenham - were the clubs largely responsible for the formation of the Premier League and they, along with Chelsea, have all now completed 30 seasons in it.

Of those sides, only Chelsea have not met the same opponent more than twice on the opening day. That will change if they are paired with Manchester United or West Ham on Thursday.

Arsenal vs Everton, Manchester United vs Everton and Tottenham vs Everton have all been played (at one of the two venues) three times on day one.

Rather oddly, Liverpool's most common opening opponents have been Sheffield Wednesday (three times) despite the fact the Owls have not played in the top flight since 1999/2000.

Clash of the titans

Tottenham vs Manchester City was a pretty big game on matchday one last season but not as key as one which occurred in 2004/05.

Jose Mourinho's very first Premier League game was at home to Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United - the Blues won 1-0 thanks to Eidur Gudjohnsen's goal to set the tone for a dominant campaign.


Will we see Liverpool vs Manchester City first up? Clearly that's unlikely given the 19/1 chance of them being pitted together but neither is it a fixture the Premier League really want on matchday one.

Famous opening-day games

There have been a few.

David Beckham's goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon came on the opening day of the 1996/97 season. Manchester United won 3-0.

David Beckham

The previous season, United were dismantled 3-1 at Aston Villa - a game which prompted the famous Alan Hansen "you win nothing with kids' comment on Match of the Day. United went on to win the Double.

The very first day of the Premier League saw Norwich claim a stunning 4-2 success at Arsenal (from 2-0 down), Mark Robins bagging a brace.

Another one from the early days of the competition was the 3-3 draw between Middlesbrough and Liverpool in 1996, a game which saw Italian international Fabrizio Ravanelli scored a debut hat-trick.

More recently, Liverpool came out on top in a goal-laden battle with Arsenal, winning 4-3 at the Emirates in 2016.

Who is your club's most common opening-game Premier League opponent?

Man City - Tottenham (3 times out of 25)

Liverpool - Sheffield Wednesday (3 of 30)

Chelsea - Manchester United, West Ham, Burnley, Hull, Wigan, Coventry (2 of 30)

Tottenham - Newcastle (4 of 30)

Arsenal - Newcastle, Everton (3 of 30)

Manchester United - Newcastle, Everton (3 of 30)

West Ham - Newcastle (3 of 26)

Leicester - Wolves, Manchester United, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Sunderland (2 of 16)

Brighton - Watford (2 of 5)

Wolves - Blackburn (2 of 8)

Newcastle - Tottenham (4 of 27)

Crystal Palace - Everton, Norwich (2 of 13)

Brentford - Arsenal (1 of 1)

Aston Villa - Tottenham, Arsenal, West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester, Everton (2 of 27)

Southampton - Liverpool, Everton, Burnley (2 of 23)

Everton - Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal (3 of 30)

Leeds - Liverpool, Manchester City, West Ham, Derby (2 of 14)

Fulham - Arsenal, Manchester United, Bolton (2 of 15)

Bournemouth - Manchester United, Aston Villa, Sheffield United, Cardiff, West Brom (1 of 5)

Nottingham Forest - Arsenal, Coventry, Southampton, Ipswich, Liverpool (1 of 5)

READ MORE: How Newcastle could line up come August

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