United's away openers in London

Wednesday 10 August 2022 09:00

Saturday's trip to Brentford represents an eighth opening away Premier League game in London for Manchester United since the division was formed in 1992.

The Reds have a strong record in these capital excursions, only losing once, to Chelsea in 2004. There was a run of three in succession between 1996 and 1998 but we have not began our away programme in London since 2010, when drawing with Fulham.

Let's take a closer look at the matches in question over the years...

Wimbledon 0 United 3 Video

Wimbledon 0 United 3

17 August 1996: This season opener at Selhurst Park is best remembered for a special David Beckham goal...

1996/97: Wimbledon (A) 3-0

A match that is remembered for one thing - David Beckham's stupendous goal, virtually from the halfway line that sailed over Neil Sullivan and provided much gloss on a comfortable 3-0 success at Selhurst Park. Eric Cantona had fired in United's opening strike of the campaign, in the 25th minute, before dependable Denis Irwin doubled the lead after the break, smashing home from a tight angle.

1997/98: Tottenham (A) 2-0

This game marked an instant return to White Hart Lane for Teddy Sheringham, following his move to Old Trafford in the summer. The jeers for their former favourite, who would later go back to Spurs, turned into celebrations when he hit a post with a penalty, after Justin Edinburgh fouled Jordi Cruyff. Sheringham still had the last laugh by providing the assist for Nicky Butt's opener and, within a matter of seconds, Ramon Vega deflected a Beckham cross into his own net to seal the Reds' victory.

1998/99: West Ham (A) 0-0

New striker Dwight Yorke made his debut but the Reds had to settle for a second draw at the start of the Treble-winning term, following the 2-2 scoreline with Leicester City on the opening day. Beckham was afforded a police escort when entering the ground with Hammers fans reacting more angrily than anybody it seemed to his sending off for England at the World Cup in the summer. Neil Ruddock somehow escaped conceding a penalty when pushing a Ryan Giggs cross behind with his hand, while Shaka Hislop pulled off fine saves to deny Andy Cole and Butt.

2002/03: Chelsea (A) 2-2

Homegrown hero Beckham continued to be prominent in these fixtures, scoring a beauty at Stamford Bridge, following Mikael Silvestre's raking pass, to cancel out William Gallas's early opener. Bolo Zenden, whose free-kick led to the third-minute Blues goal, then danced through to rifle past Roy Carroll before half-time. Beckham hit the bar and Paul Scholes was denied the most blatant of penalties after being up-ended by Carlo Cudicini but Giggs levelled the scores when sweeping in another assist from raiding left-back Silvestre.

Tottenham Hotspur 0 United 2 Video

Tottenham Hotspur 0 United 2

10 August 1997: The Champions open the defence of their Premier League crown at White Hart Lane...

2004/05: Chelsea (A) 0-1

Jose Mourinho had masterminded Porto's Champions League win over United before taking the reins at Chelsea and his opening game in charge ended in victory over a patched-up United side that contained Roy Keane at centre-back. Eidur Gudjohnsen's 15th-minute effort proved decisive, bundling the ball past Tim Howard. Giggs missed the target with a header in the closing 10 minutes that could have salvaged a point.

2006/07: Charlton Athletic (A) 3-0

A trip to The Valley yielded a comprehensive win over the Addicks, including an emotional moment for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, when he scored the third goal. Darren Fletcher's opener, punishing an error by Jon Fortune, was no more than United deserved and it was largely one-way traffic. The lively Louis Saha provided some breathing space before Michael Carrick was introduced for his debut. Saha set up Solskjaer for his first strike in three years, largely due to injury, to wrap things up nicely.

Chelsea 2 United 2 Video

Chelsea 2 United 2

23 August 2002: The Reds twice fought from behind for a useful point at Stamford Bridge.

2010/11: Fulham (A) 2-2

There was late drama at Craven Cottage in our last opening away game in London. Scholes drilled home an 11th-minute booster for the Reds but the hosts battled back and caused problems before equalising in the second half. Simon Davies beat ex-Cottagers keeper Edwin van der Sar from a Bobby Zamora cross to make it 1-1. The setback forced United into decisive action and Brede Hangeland put through his own net from a Giggs corner. When Damien Duff handled inside the box, it looked like the points would be made certain, only for David Stockdale to save Nani's penalty. Agonisingly, in the final minute, Fulham snatched a point when Hangeland rose to power a Duff corner past van der Sar.

View extended highlights of these games in our Premier League Collection section.


  • Fulham 2 United 2 Video

    Fulham 2 United 2

    22 August 2010: Off the back of a season-opening win over Newcastle, United were looking to make it two from two...

  • Charlton Athletic 0 United 3 Video

    Charlton Athletic 0 United 3

    23 August 2006: A debut for Michael Carrick and a first goal in nearly three years for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

  • Chelsea 1 United 0 Video

    Chelsea 1 United 0

    15 August 2004: United take on a Chelsea team managed by Jose Mourinho on the opening day of the season...

  • West Ham United 0 United 0 Video

    West Ham United 0 United 0

    22 August 1998: Dwight Yorke made his debut while David Beckham received a hostile reception from the home fans...