United's full record in Premier League openers

Wednesday 14 June 2023 07:00

Manchester United's opening fixture in the 2023/24 season will be revealed this Thursday when our provisional Premier League schedule is published at 09:00 BST.

Although the Reds began 2022/23 with the first of only two defeats in 33 home games under Erik ten Hag - against Brighton & Hove Albion on 7 August - our overall record in opening matches remains very impressive.

We have made a winning start to the vast majority of league campaigns - 20 out of 31 - and have scored in every opener since 2012/13, when Everton inflicted a narrow 1-0 loss at Goodison Park. United recovered well from that rare blank, going on to be crowned English champions for the record 20th time.

Here, we look back at all of our opening matches in the 31 Premier League seasons so far, as we await Thursday's confirmation of who we'll face first in 2023/24.
Norwich City 0 United 2 Video

Norwich City 0 United 2

15 August 1993: The champions begin 93/94 with a trip to Carrow Road. Roy Keane makes his PL debut for the club...

1992/93 TO 1997/98

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, the Reds went on to win the title.

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 by beating Hansen’s former club Liverpool in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

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 in our 3-0 win over Wimbledon at Selhurst Park. The midfielder only came on as a substitute at Tottenham a year later, in a 2-0 triumph, before hitting the headlines once again in the Treble season of 1998/99 with a glorious late free-kick equaliser as we drew 2-2 with Leicester City.

1999/2000 TO 2011/12

Following a 1-1 draw with Everton in 1999 and 2-0 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.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's solitary goal saw off West Brom 1-0 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.

Louis Saha, who scored a brace against us for Fulham in 2001, had switched sides by the time we faced the Cottagers for another opening fixture, in 2006/07. This time, Saha netted for the Reds in a 5-1 victory.

Following a dour 0-0 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 1-0 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.

West Bromwich Albion 1 United 2 Video

West Bromwich Albion 1 United 2

14 August 2011: David De Gea makes his Premier League debut as the Reds start the season with a win at The Hawthorns...

2012/13 TO 2022/23

The following year, 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 as we lost 1-0 at Goodison Park.

There were contrasting results when we met Swansea City on the opening day in successive seasons. Under Moyes in 2013/14, we enjoyed an emphatic 4-1 away win with the goals shared by Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck; one year on, Louis van Gaal's first game as manager resulted in a disappointing 2-1 home defeat.

Van Gaal's second campaign started in better fashion, thanks to Kyle Walker scoring an own goal at Old Trafford as we defeated Tottenham 1-0.

Rooney confirmed his status as our leading marksman in opening Premier League fixtures when he netted in a 3-1 victory at Bournemouth in 2016/17. Summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic enjoyed a goalscoring league debut on the south coast.

Romelu Lukaku went one better than Ibra, with a brace on his league bow for the club, when the Reds beat West Ham 4-0 a year later. A 2-1 win against Leicester City in 2018/19 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.

The fans were back by August 2021 to witness a 5-1 home demolition of Leeds, featuring the first Reds hat-trick for Bruno Fernandes. But it was a different story at Old Trafford last season when Brighton posted a warning of their potential by beating Ten Hag's new team 2-1. Our only strike was an own goal by Alexis Mac Allister, whose transfer to Liverpool was announced last week.

United 5 Leeds United 1 Video

United 5 Leeds United 1

14 August 2021: Bruno Fernandes scores a hat-trick as the Reds run riot on the opening day of the season...


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: 31. Won: 20. Drawn: 4. Lost: 7. Home: 19. 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

United 5 Fulham 1 Video

United 5 Fulham 1

20 August 2006: United made a pulsating start to this particular term, with Ronaldo and Rooney starring in M16...

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 [Match Centre]
2019: Chelsea (H) 4-0 [Match Centre]
2020: Crystal Palace (H) 1-3 [Match Centre]
2021: Leeds United (H) 5-1 [Match Centre]
2022: Brighton & Hove Albion (H) 1-2 [Match Centre]