Merry Opening Weekend, everybody! #BigKickOff is upon us once again, and this weekend happens only once a year! Forget about Euro 2016 – unless you’re Welsh, in which case remember it fondly.
Forget about that trip to Magaluf – you probably can’t remember it anyway. Forget about the boredom and the emptiness that life handed you once the season ended. It’s back!
And as if the excitement couldn’t increase further, we’ve teamed up with 7 Of The Best to bring you a footballing treat for the coming campaign. It’s free to play and the best team each week wins £1,500, as well as monthly prize of £4,000 for the best individual. Want to win bigger? Nab yourself a whopping £500k if you get all seven of your selections correct for seven consecutive weeks.
How do you play? All you need to do is pick seven teams each week, one being your banker, five being teams you expect to win and one you believe will draw.
Premier League opening weekend is one of the best you’ll have all year, so to get you in the mood, we’re bringing you 7 Of The Best Premier League opening day performances…
One of the greatest goalscorers the Premier League has ever seen, Sergio Aguero wasted no time announcing himself on the English stage.
Making his Manchester City debut from the bench against Swansea at the Etihad Stadium, Aguero scored two goals, including a blistering strike from distance, bookending his season: Aguero would go on to score right at the end of the season with a last minute title-winner against Queen’s Park Rangers.
Opening games of the season are often debut days for many players. That was the case for Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, but also for Premier League debutants Fulham, who were dealt the ultimate baptism of fire being drawn away to Manchester United.
Louis Saha scored two goals in a pulsating game, foreshadowing his own future as a prolific Old Trafford goalscorer. But, with some help from David Beckham, Van Nistelrooy scored twice on his debut to seal the win for United – he would go on to score another 93 Premier League goals for the Red Devils.
It’s not the prettiest game on the list, but Brian Deane’s goals against Manchester United in August 1992 opened the Premier League’s first-ever goalscorers’ sheet.
United would have the last laugh, however, winning the league for the first time since the days of Sir Matt Busby in the opening season of the Premier League era. It was their first title in 26 years.
The opening day of the Premier League era saw two goals from Brian Deane, but it was Mark Robins who stole the show that day in August 1992, kickstarting Norwich City’s remarkable run to a surprising third in the league that season.
Two goals down at the home of one of the favourites for the title, Arsenal, Norwich City scored four goals in a breathtaking 16 minutes to seal a 4-2 victory and Robins scored twice. Including a moan-inducing lob. Glorious.
His belly may have been twice the size that a good striker’s should be, but that didn’t stop Mick Quinn scoring a hat trick against poor old Arsenal on the opening day of the very next season, 1993/94.
Arsenal succumbed to a 3-0 defeat, but did have a successful season, finishing fourth (!) and winning the Cup Winners’ Cup.
Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone?
Pre-Abramovich Chelsea took to the opening day of the 1999/00 Premier League season like ducks to water, brushing off Sunderland at Stamford Bridge with ease, winning 4-0.
The day was Chelsea’s, but the game will always be remembered for one of the best goals in Premier League history as Gianfranco Zola worked some sort of sorcery to find Gus Poyet with a sumptuous ball before the Uruguayan hammered home with an equally beautiful volley. Those were halcyon days!
Jurgen Klinsmann came to England with a big reputation, not just for scoring goals, but for diving, too. In his first game for the club – the opening day of the 1994/95 season – Klinsmann scored Tottenham Hotspur’s fourth goal of a barnstorming 4-3 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough and celebrated his goal with a dive.
The game could be remembered in its own right as a Premier League classic. Instead it’s remembered for one major event: a German showing he had a sense of humour!