Five memorable opening-day wins
The start of the 2023/24 Premier League season is almost upon us – a time all Manchester United fans have been eagerly anticipating from the moment we played our last competitive game in June.
Opening-weekend fixtures are always notable events, bringing a sense of optimism and the start of a new journey, as the league table is reset and we see our summer signings making their debuts in the club’s latest kits.
And with United boasting a good record in these fixtures – we’ve won 20 out of 31 in the Premier League era – the games have often proved to be collectors’ items in themselves, offering up historic moments and spectacular goals.
The Reds have contested many memorable season openers in our history – matches in the August sunshine that have hinted at exciting campaigns to come. You can relive five of the best from our recent history below.
Erik ten Hag’s men will be aiming to add to that list when Wolverhampton Wanderers provide our first opposition this term, visiting Old Trafford in the evening of Monday 14 August.
It’s a fresh beginning, and one that fans can now remember forever with free matchday memorabilia. Mark the start of the season by claiming your first digital collectible of 2023/24, as part of our Collect United series – available now on collectibles.manutd.com.
Every match you collect takes your one step closer to VIP rewards, like free match tickets, signed kits and invites to watch United train. And here’s hoping we can put on a show to rival these five opening-match classics on Monday…
UNITED 4-0 BOLTON WANDERERS, 16 AUGUST 2003
The day when the wider world was introduced to Cristiano Ronaldo, whose exhilarating second-half debut at Old Trafford was the catalyst for our three-goal haul after the break. Ryan Giggs scored twice – including a superb first-half free-kick, before Paul Scholes added a third and Ruud van Nistelrooy atoned for an earlier penalty miss by netting late on as we started our title defence in style.
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UNITED 5-1 FULHAM, 20 AUGUST 2006
Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney emphatically put aside their World Cup quarter-final disagreement with an irresistible attacking display in front of a packed Old Trafford. Louis Saha headed United in front early on against his former club and Ian Pearce’s own goal made it two, before Rooney tapped home and then fed Ronaldo to make it four inside 19 minutes. Fulham pulled one back when Rio Ferdinand diverted into his own net but Rooney swept home Wes Brown’s cross to seal what remains our joint-biggest opening-day win in the Premier League – see below for an identical triumph!
BOURNEMOUTH 1-3 UNITED, 14 AUGUST 2016
Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his league debut with a 25-yard strike to ensure Jose Mourinho’s reign as United boss got off to a winning start on the south coast. Juan Mata opened the scoring with a tap-in, Rooney’s header doubled our advantage and Ibrahimovic drilled home a third, rendering Adam Smith’s goal mere consolation for the Cherries, who had won the corresponding fixture the previous season.
UNITED 4-0 CHELSEA, 11 AUGUST 2019
Marcus Rashford scored twice as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United effected an emphatic demolition job in Frank Lampard’s first game as Chelsea manager. The Reds’ no.10 converted a penalty in the first half and, only 95 seconds after Anthony Martial had got on the end of Andreas Pereira’s cross to make it 2-0 shortly after the hour mark, Rashford latched onto Paul Pogba’s brilliant pass to add a coolly taken third. Substitute Daniel James added late gloss in front of a raucous Old Trafford faithful.
UNITED 5-1 LEEDS, 14 AUGUST 2021
Another spectacular victory under Solskjaer and this time Bruno Fernandes was the star with a sensational hat-trick on an afternoon when new signing Raphael Varane was paraded in front of the fans and Jadon Sancho made his debut. Fernandes, our top scorer from the previous season, opened his account for 2021/22 with a left-footed finish and, though Leeds levelled through Luke Ayling early in the second period, the Reds blew our opponents away from there on, with our Portuguese maestro adding two more alongside goals from Mason Greenwood and Fred.