United's full record in Premier League openers

Thursday 16 June 2022 09:58

Manchester United's opening fixture in the 2022/23 Premier League season will be against Brighton & Hove Albion, at Old Trafford on Sunday 7 August.

The Reds have a fine record when it comes to getting off to a flying start, winning two-thirds of the games, including a couple of high-scoring wins in two of the previous three campaigns, when beating Chelsea (4-0) and Leeds United (5-1) at Old Trafford.

Here, we look back at all of our opening matches in the 30 Premier League seasons so far, as we look forward to kicking off the new campaign.


Things did not begin well for Alex Ferguson's side at the advent of the Premier League in 1992. Brian Deane scored the opening goal of the new competition to hand Sheffield United the lead at Bramall Lane and, despite Mark Hughes finding the net, the Blades won 2-1. Thankfully, after a slow start, Ferguson’s men went on to win the title.
Brian Deane, pictured battling with Clayton Blackmore, scored the first Premier League goal against us in 1992.

Kicking off a new campaign as champions for the first time since 1968, United earned a 2-0 triumph at Norwich City in 1993 with youngster Ryan Giggs and old campaigner Bryan Robson doing the damage. Giggs would, of course, go on to have a long career himself – he bagged a late winner at the same ground, Carrow Road, over 19 years later in February 2012.

A maiden home opener of the new division came in 1994, as Hughes again scored, along with Brian McClair, to register a 2-0 victory against Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford. Defeat came the year after, as David Beckham netted in a 3-1 reverse at Aston Villa to prompt BBC pundit Alan Hansen’s comment that "you never win anything with kids". Of course, come the end of that 1995/96 season, United clinched the Double with a win at Wembley against Hansen’s former club Liverpool.

One of those stellar kids, Beckham, was at it again in 1996, taking another leap towards superstardom with his spectacular goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park. The midfielder only came on as a substitute at Tottenham a year later, in a 2-0 win, before hitting the headlines once again in the Treble term of 1998/99 with a glorious late free-kick equaliser against Leicester City.


Following a draw with Everton in 1999 and win over Newcastle in 2000, Beckham scored in yet another opening fixture, in 2001.

However, this time, the headlines belonged to Ruud van Nistelrooy. The deadly Dutchman had already got off the mark on his debut in the Community Shield against Liverpool but this was his league bow and he started as he meant to go on by claiming a double in a 3-2 home success against Fulham. The Cottagers' main man was Louis Saha, who hit a brace; by the opening fixture of 2006/07, he had switched sides and netted in a 5-1 beating of the west Londoners, with Wayne Rooney notching a double. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's solitary goal saw off West Brom in 2002 and then Giggs was on the mark again in 2003 – hitting a brace, including a marvellous free-kick, in the 4-0 beating of Bolton Wanderers, when Cristiano Ronaldo made his dazzling debut.

United faced two future managers in the next two opening fixtures. Jose Mourinho's first game as Chelsea boss in 2004 was the Blues' 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge. Twelve months later, David Moyes, then at the Everton helm, was on the receiving end of the Reds' 2-0 away win with Rooney netting against his former club.

Following a goalless draw with Reading in 2007, Sir Alex's men hosted Newcastle United on the first weekend twice in three seasons, drawing 1-1 in 2008/09 and seeing them off 3-0 in 2010/11. Darren Fletcher was on the scoresheet in both games against the Magpies; sandwiched in between those openers was a narrow win over Birmingham City.

David De Gea's rude introduction to the rigours of English league football ended with a battling 2-1 win at West Brom in 2011, before another meeting with Moyes's Everton resulted in what had become a rare opening-game defeat for United. Marouane Fellaini, who would later follow his boss in joining the Reds, scored the only goal at Goodison Park.

David Beckham scored with an incredible long-range shot against Wimbledon in 1996.


There were contrasting results when we met Swansea City on the opening day in successive seasons – a 4-1 away win under Moyes, with the goals shared by Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck, followed by a 2-1 home loss in Louis van Gaal's first game as manager.

Rooney was our scorer on that occasion, and he confirmed his status as our leading marksman in opening Premier League fixtures when he netted in a 3-1 victory at Bournemouth in 2016. Zlatan Ibrahimovic enjoyed a goalscoring league debut on the south coast.

Romelu Lukaku went one better than Ibra, with a brace on his Premier League bow for the club, when the Reds beat West Ham 4-0 a year later. Another London side, Tottenham, had been defeated 1-0 at Old Trafford in 2015, courtesy of a Kyle Walker own goal.

A 2-1 win against Leicester City was memorable for Luke Shaw’s maiden strike in senior football, with Paul Pogba also on the scoresheet.


A thumping 4-0 success against Chelsea was a great way to start the 2019/20 season, with Daniel James coming off the bench to mark his debut with a late strike that meant so much to him and everyone inside Old Trafford. Marcus Rashford scored twice, with Anthony Martial grabbing the other on a day to remember. The following year, behind closed doors at the Theatre of Dreams, there was another goal for a debutant in Donny van de Beek, but we suffered a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, not helped by a dubious VAR handball call against Victor Lindelof.

It was a much better beginning to last term as the fans were back again to witness a 5-1 demolition of Leeds. Bruno Fernandes scored his first hat-trick for the club, with Pogba pulling the strings as Mason Greenwood and Fred also found the net. 

Ruud van Nistelrooy introduced himself to Old Trafford with a league-debut double in 2001.


Biggest win: 5-1 v Fulham (H) 2006 / Leeds (H) 2021.

Heaviest defeat: 3-1 v Aston Villa (A) 1995 / Crystal Palace (H) 2020.

Leading scorers: Rooney 7, Beckham 4, Giggs 4, van Nistelrooy 4.

Most frequent opponents: Everton 3, Newcastle United 3.

Played: 30. Won: 20. Drawn: 4. Lost: 6.

Home: 18. Away: 12.


1992: Sheffield United (A) 1-2 
1993: Norwich City (A) 2-0
1994: QPR (H) 2-0
1995: Aston Villa (A) 1-3
1996: Wimbledon (A) 3-0
1997: Tottenham Hotspur (A) 2-0
1998: Leicester City (H) 2-2
1999: Everton (A) 1-1
2000: Newcastle United (H) 2-0
2001: Fulham (H) 3-2
2002: West Brom (H) 1-0
2003: Bolton Wanderers (H) 4-0
2004: Chelsea (A) 0-1
2005: Everton (A) 2-0

Wayne Rooney scores against his former club Everton at Goodison Park in 2005.

2006: Fulham (H) 5-1
2007: Reading (H) 0-0
2008: Newcastle United (H) 1-1
2009: Birmingham City (H) 1-0
2010: Newcastle United (H) 3-0
2011: West Brom (A) 2-1
2012: Everton (A) 0-1
2013: Swansea City (A) 4-1
2014: Swansea City (H) 1-2
2015: Tottenham Hotspur (H) 1-0
2016: Bournemouth (A) 3-1
2017: West Ham United (H) 4-0
2018: Leicester City (H) 2-1
2019: Chelsea (H) 4-0
2020: Crystal Palace (H) 1-3
2021: Leeds United (H) 5-1