Belfast Telegraph

Opening classics of years gone by

The Premier League fixtures were announced on Wednesday morning, giving fans plenty to look forward to when the season starts in August.

Previous years have thrown up some memorable openers and here, Press Association Sport looks at seven of them.

1992: Sheffield United 2 Manchester United 1

So, not the most classic of matches, but this did feature the first Premier League goal so is worthy of inclusion. Brian Deane scored it for Sheffield United and then added a winner from the spot after Mark Hughes had equalised.

Fortunes quickly changed though and the Blades were relegated that season, returning for one more campaign in 2006. Manchester United? They did okay after that.

1994: Sheffield Wednesday 3 Tottenham 4

This launched what was meant to be a continental new era for Spurs, with Jurgen Klinsmann leading the line after his move from Monaco.

The German delivered, too, scoring and then performing one of the Premier League's most memorable celebrations - a dive to live up to his reputation.

Spurs ended seventh despite 21 goals from Klinsmann.

1996: Middlesbrough 3 Liverpool 3

It was shirts over your head time at the Riverside as Fabrizio Ravanelli made his Boro debut and marked it with a hat-trick.

The White Feather took on Liverpool's Spice Boys and nearly came out on top. That proved to be the case in the season overall as he scored 16 goals but failed to stop Boro going down.

1996: Wimbledon 0 Manchester United 3

While Ravanelli was doing his thing, 350 miles away David Beckham was scoring the goal that would set him on his way to becoming a global star.

His spectacular lob from his own half triggered one of the most celebrated and high-profile careers the English game has seen.

Beckham was a well-established prospect before he caught Neil Sullivan napping, but this goal certainly helped him make a name for himself.

2005: Wigan 0 Chelsea 1

Plucky Wigan, promoted on Dave Whelan's sports-shop money, took on the might of Chelsea, Roman, Jose and all in their first top-flight game.

They pushed the Blues all the way too, but ultimately money talked as Hernan Crespo scored a late winner to a start a season which ended in the title for Chelsea.

2013: Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 3

The boos rang out for Arsene Wenger as Arsenal kicked off the season with an embarrassing home defeat to Aston Villa.

Christian Benteke scored twice for Villa and the loss had such an impact that the normally cautious Wenger went into the transfer market and splashed out on Mesut Ozil.

Arsenal recovered, topped the table for some time and also, eventually, won the FA Cup.

2014: Burnley 1 Chelsea 3

After a season on transition in Jose Mourinho's first one back, this was Chelsea's chance to show they were ready for a title tilt and so it proved.

Diego Costa started as he would go on and Cesc Fabregas laid on a wonder goal for Andre Schurrle as Chelsea went top and stayed there until the end.


From Belfast Telegraph