United on the opening day: Records, stats and more

Wednesday 16 September 2020 14:22

Manchester United kick off our 29th Premier League season when we do battle with Crystal Palace this weekend.

Of course, this term is unique for a number of reasons, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping some traditions stay the same at United, as we bid to extend our excellent opening-day record in the Premier League.

United began the newly formed top-flight in 1992 by taking on Sheffield United, one of 18 different clubs we’ve faced in the maiden fixture of a Premier League season.

Ahead of a new term, we’ve compiled all the key information from our 28 opening matches to date…
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No, we’ve never began the season with a clash against the Eagles, owed partly due to the fact this is just Palace’s 11th Premier League campaign. However, last season we did play Roy Hodgson’s men in our third match of the term, with the visitors winning 2-1 at Old Trafford. The Reds did exact some revenge for that defeat when we last met in July, when United earned a 2-0 victory at Selhurst Park.


From 28 opening-day matches in the Premier League, United have won 19 - more than any other club - while we’ve lost five and drawn four. The Reds have also kicked off our last five campaigns with a win, which is our best consecutive streak in Premier League history. Last year, Ole’s men began the season with a convincing 4-0 win over Chelsea, with Marcus Rashford (2), Anthony Martial and Daniel James among the goals.

We’ve previously began a new term by facing six different London sides - Queens Park Rangers, Wimbledon, Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham, Chelsea and West Ham United. From those games, we’ve won eight and lost just once. We’ve also won all six times we’ve commenced a Premier League campaign with a home game against a club from the capital.


United have started a new Premier League season at the Theatre of Dreams 16 times and have impressively won 12 of those encounters, drew three and lost just one. In general, the Reds have excelled in our first home match of a campaign and we’ve won 21 of our 28 first games at Old Trafford. Since losing our very first home match of the Premier League, against Everton in 1992/93, United have been beaten just once in our maiden fixture of the campaign, at the Theatre of Dreams, that came in 2014, against Swansea City.

The Reds' biggest win on the opening day came in 2006/07, when we smashed Fulham 5-1 thanks to strikes from Louis Saha, Wayne Rooney (2), Cristiano Ronaldo and an Ian Pearce own-goal. Meanwhile, our heaviest defeat came in 1995 when we were beaten 3-1 by Aston Villa, on a day it was famously claimed by pundit Alan Hansen that we’d “win nothing with kids”. We’ve faced Everton and Newcastle United more often than any other clubs on the first weekend of a new season - three each - while no player has netted more often than Wayne Rooney’s seven goals in opening fixtures.

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Of the current squad, no-one has played more Premier League openers for United than David Dea with eight, the first of which came in 2011 against West Bromwich Albion. Juan Mata is the next closest with five, and the Spaniard is one of seven players to have netted for the Reds in opening league match, as have Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James.


The first game of the 2020/21 season will be a little different from the 28 which have gone before it. For a start, it’s the first time our opener won’t also be the maiden league game of the term for the opposition - Palace kicked off last weekend with a 1-0 win over Southampton. With just seven weeks since the previous season concluded, it’s our shortest-ever gap between two Premier League end and start dates. Sadly, Saturday’s clash will also be the first time a season has begun without fans, and 19 September is our latest start date by a significant distance - previously it was 20 August!

Get ready for next season. Our 2020/21 home and away kits are available now from United Direct.