Tuesday 6 December 2016

Which sides have what records on the opening day of the Premier League season?

Published 15/06/2016 | 09:06

Can Antonio Conte keep Chelsea's opening-day run going?
Can Antonio Conte keep Chelsea's opening-day run going?

With next season's Premier League fixture list revealed, managers and their coaching staff will have already started putting plans in place for their first few games while their players are still on a combination of holiday and international duty.

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Press Association Sport has analysed the opening day records of each Premier League club over the last 20 seasons to see which bosses will be under the most pressure to start well.

:: New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will need to get off to a good start against West Ham if he is to extend the Blues' impressive run of 17 consecutive opening day matches without defeat, a sequence stretching back to a 2-1 defeat at Coventry in August 1998. Since then they have started 14 Premier League campaigns with a win and only three with a draw. Last season's 2-2 draw with Swansea was the start of the decline of Jose Mourinho's title winners.

:: Maintaining the next-longest unbeaten opening-day run also falls to a newly-appointed Italian manager - Walter Mazzarri at nearby Watford. The Hornets can make it a 10th successive curtain-raiser without defeat when they play Southampton away, having last lost one when they travelled to Everton at the start of the 2006/07 season. That turned into a nightmare campaign that saw them win just one of their first 22 matches.

:: It is definitely not a question of there being something in the water as some of Chelsea's other neighbours have been starting far less well in recent years. Arsenal have won just one of their last six opening day matches, although prior to that they had prevailed in eight out of nine, and Crystal Palace have been victorious just once in their last five attempts after only losing one of the previous 10.

:: Two clubs hoping for a better-than-usual start to the season will be Stoke (against Middlesbrough) and Sunderland (against Man City). Both have failed to win any of their last six opening-day fixtures and have only triumphed in two of their last 10. However both have enjoyed better fortunes over the past two decades than West Brom (v Crystal Palace), who are the only top-flight side to have lost over half of their last 20 opening matches (11) and have won just three. With a solitary win and two draws from their last nine attempts, the Baggies may feel they are due a bit of luck.

:: The only other Premier League side with as few wins are Southampton, who need to fill their managerial position before they can think about improving their chances of a brighter-than-usual start to their campaign.

Press Association

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