The 10 Biggest Premier League Opening Day Upsets Ever
The opening day of the Premier League season seems to throw up a pretty monumental upset most seasons as teams see their hopes and dreams crumble in front of them in the first 90 minutes of their campaign.
Here are 10 of the biggest coupon busters that have gone down on the curtain-raiser of the Premier League.
10. Crystal Palace 0-3 Huddersfield
It might not be one of the big boys in Premier League history being toppled, but nobody expected Huddersfield to turn up at Selhurst Park on the opening day of the 2017-18 season and absolutely batter their hosts.
Palace had just hired former Ajax and Inter Milan boss Frank de Boer and plenty was expected from him and a side which featured Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Little was expected from Huddersfield in their first foray into the Premier League, lacking in quality and experience.
After 26 minutes the Yorkshire side were 2-0 ahead and Steve Mounie wrapped it up with his second in the last 15 minutes. The Terriers had less possession, shots and corners, but they came away with a thumping victory on their first outing and set the stage for a successful campaign.
9. Hull 2-1 Leicester
Hull were promoted to the Premier League in 2016 but then had about as bad a summer as a promoted team could possibly imagine. Their manager, Steve Bruce, jumped ship and one of their best players, Mohamed Diame, chose a return to the Championship with Newcastle over a shot at the top flight. Mike Phelan was in charge of a skeleton squad that were odds-on to go down and they faced the Premier League champions on opening day.
Whilst no one expected Leicester to retain the title they won in the 2015-16 season, they did expect them to beat the Tigers – but the Yorkshire side sprung a huge surprise. Goals from Adama Diomande and Robert Snodgrass were enough to give Hull the victory and a slither of hope that they could just hack it in the Premier League. They could not.
8. Arsenal 0-2 West Ham
It was yet another false dawn at the Emirates in August 2015 when Arsenal started the season with defeat at home to West Ham. The Gunners had the likes of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud in their starting XI, with Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott lurking on the bench, but it was not enough to get past a Hammers side under brand new management in Slaven Bilic.
A goal either side of half time from Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate made it a miserable start for Arsene Wenger to what turned out to be another disappointing season in north London.
7. Aston Villa 3-1 Man Utd
This upset caused one of the most memorable lines ever uttered by a football pundit as Alan Hanson declared that, ‘you can’t win anything with kids.’ Those kids in question were David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville, Nicky Butt and Lee Sharpe, and they suffered Hanson’s ire after a crushing defeat to Aston Villa in August 1995.
Ian Taylor, Mark Draper and Dwight Yorke put the Villains 3-0 ahead by half time and there were serious questions over Alex Ferguson putting so much faith in the Class of ’92. Beckham pulled one back at the death but that was all United had to shout about, until they won the title that year.
6. West Brom 3-0 Liverpool
It was not exactly the strongest Liverpool team in history that turned up at the Hawthorns in August 2012, but they were still expected to win against West Brom, with a bright new manager in charge in Brendan Rodgers.
West Brom not only upset the odds by beating the Reds but they battered the Merseysiders, giving Rodgers an absolute nightmare start to his reign at Anfield. Liverpool only mustered up two shots on target through the entire game as they were downed 3-0 by the Baggies.
Zoltan Gera opened the scoring in the first half, Dan Agger saw red for the visitors before Peter Odemwingie and Romelu Lukaku completed an absolute rout.
5. Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa
Arsene Wenger will have seen the fixture computer spit out Aston Villa at home on the opening day of the 2013-14 season and been pretty comfortable with it. He will have even more relaxed when Olivier Giroud put the Gunners ahead after just six minutes of the game.
The atmosphere turned rather sour at the Emirates 15 minutes later, though, when Christian Benteke equalised and things got worse and worse for the Gooners from there on in. Benteke put the Villains ahead just after the hour before Laurent Koscielny was dismissed. Antonio Luna rounded off a great day for Paul Lambert’s men at the death and finally completed a woeful afternoon for Wenger.
4. Coventy 3-2 Chelsea
It was an impressive Chelsea side that turned up to Highfield Road in August 1997, boasting the likes of Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Di Matteo and Gustavo Poyet – but they did not have a man like Dion Dublin in their ranks.
The target man equalised twice for Coventry, cancelling out goals from Frank Sinclair and Tore Andre Flo before he bagged an 88th minute winner for the Sky Blues. It was a big upset, especially after going behind twice, but there was plenty more to come from Dublin who finished joint top scorer in the league that season.
3. Chelsea 2-3 Burnley
The 2016-17 Premier League season was all about Chelsea as they ended up strolling to the title, winning it comfortably by seven points. There were a few rumblings of problems over the next summer, but when they welcomed Burnley to Stamford Bridge on the opening game of the following campaign there only seemed like one result was going to happen.
Within 40 minutes the Clarets were 3-0 up thanks to a double from Sam Vokes and a strike from Stephen Ward and the champions were in terrible trouble, down to 10 men after a Gary Cahill red card. Late goals from Alvaro Morata and David Luiz made the score more respectable, but Cesc Fabregas also saw red to complete a miserable day for the Blues.
2. Man Utd 1-2 Swansea
The David Moyes era was over at Manchester United and in came Louis van Gaal to usher in a bright new dynasty after an exciting showing at the World Cup with the Netherlands. Much was expected but the Dutchman didn’t deliver on his Old Trafford debut.
The Red Devils were behind at half-time thanks to a goal from Ki Sung-Yeung and things were looking pretty ropey for LVG. Wayne Rooney looked to have restored some order just eight minutes into the second half but United couldn’t capitalise and Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the winner for the Swans with 20 minutes to go.
United may have dominated possession, shots and restricted the Welsh side to no corners at all, but they came away with nothing to show for it.
1. Arsenal 2-4 Norwich
In the first ever season of the Premier League, plenty was expected of Arsenal while Norwich looked likely to be fighting a relegation battle. Few were surprised when the Gunners took a two-goal lead over the Canaries at Highbury on the opening day of the campaign thanks to Steve Bould and Kevin Campbell.
However, Norwich came out for the second period a whole new side, with Mark Robins scoring twice whilst David Phillips and Ruel Fox also struck to give them an extremely unlikely victory. It was the sign of things to come as Norwich defied the odds all season and finished third (despite ending with a -4 goal difference). Arsenal, in contrast, performed well under-par, ending up in 10th. It was a turn up for the books on that Saturday in August but proved to be a much less of a shock in hindsight.
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