Tuesday 18 June 2013
With the announcement of the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season fixture list fast approaching, fans from all 20 top-flight sides will be eagerly anticipating the encounter that awaits their club on the opening matchweek of the campaign.
Premierleague.com picks out the key statistics of previous season openers and the players who have shone in them.
For the fixture list announcement and reaction, visit www.premierleague.com from 9am BST on Wednesday 19 June.
Frank Lampard will be making a record 18th appearance in an opening fixture of the Barclays Premier League season if he features for Chelsea in their first match of 2013/14.
The club's all-time top goalscorer has played the first match in 17 consecutive seasons, dating back to his first full campaign as a West Ham United player in 1996/97, and he will move clear of Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes. Ryan Giggs, 39, is the only current player in sight of Lampard, with 15 opening matches to his name.
First on the teamsheet
Frank Lampard has started 15 consecutive opening Premier League matches
Lampard can also become joint top opening-day goalscorer in the Barclays Premier League. His total of seven, which began with a winning goal for West Ham against Barnsley at the start of the 1997/98 campaign, is one behind Alan Shearer, the former Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United striker. The Premier League's all-time top goalscorer opened his account in the inaugural season of the competition in 1992, when he scored twice in Blackburn's 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace.
There have been seven opening-day hat-tricks in Premier League history, including Matthew Le Tissier's treble as his side lost 4-3 to Nottingham Forest in 1995. Fabrizio Ravanelli is the only man to score three times on debut on the opening day, as Middlesbrough battled to a 3-3 draw with Liverpool in August 1996.
17 - Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard
16 - Phil Neville
15 - Ryan Giggs, Jamie Carragher
14 - David James, Emile Heskey, Mark Schwarzer, Gary Speed
8 - Alan Shearer
7 - Teddy Sheringham, Frank Lampard
6 - Louis Saha, Didier Drogba
5 - Dennis Bergkamp, Kevin Campbell, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Les Ferdinand, Darren Bent, Wayne Rooney
14 August 1993: Mick Quinn (Arsenal 0-3 Coventry)
19 August 1995: Matthew Le Tissier (Southampton 3-4 Nott'm Forest)
17 August 1996: Kevin Campbell (Coventry 0-3 Nott'm Forest)
17 August 1996: Fabrizio Ravanelli (Middlesbrough 3-3 Liverpool)
9 August 1997: Dion Dublin (Coventry 3-2 Chelsea)
17 August 2008: Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa 4-2 Man City)
14 August 2010: Didier Drogba (Chelsea 6-0 West Brom)
Petr Cech could hold the outright record for the most clean sheets on opening matches if the Chelsea goalkeeper earns a seventh shutout at the start of the 2013/14 campaign.
The 31-year-old has not conceded a goal in the first match of the past three seasons and is level on six with Mark Schwarzer, whose contract with Fulham expires at the end of this month. Jussi Jaaskelainen, who joined West Ham United last summer after 15 years with Bolton Wanderers, has kept five opening-day clean sheets.
6 - Mark Schwarzer, Petr Cech
5 - David James, Jussi Jaaskelainen, David Seaman, Peter Schmeichel
4 - Nigel Martyn, Thomas Sorensen, Shay Given
3 - Paul Robinson, Shaka Hislop, Edwin van der Sar, Neville Southall, Mark Crossley, Dmitri Kharin
21 - Brad Friedel
19 - Nigel Martyn
18 - David James, Mark Schwarzer
16 - Jussi Jaaskelainen
If past fixtures can be seen as an omen, Arsenal will look back fondly on their previous opening clashes with Everton, having defeated the Toffees on each of the three occasions they have started the campaign against the Merseyside club. Their unparelleled record includes an impressive 6-1 success in August 2009.
Arsenal get off to a flyer
2009: Everton 1-6 Arsenal
2004: Everton 1-4 Arsenal
2003: Arsenal 2-1 Everton
Arsenal v Everton is the joint-most played opening fixture, with Everton v Manchester United and Manchester United v Newcastle United also kicking off a Premier League season three times. The Blues have enjoyed more success against 13-time Premier League champions Manchester United, having beaten them 1-0 in August 2012 and drawn with the Red Devils in 1999.
Arsenal's 6-1 win over Everton is the joint-highest scoring opening match of a Barclays Premier League season, with seven goals going in on three other occasions. Chelsea hold the record for the biggest winning margin, as they routed newly promoted West Bromwich Albion 6-0 at Stamford Bridge at the start of the 2010/11 campaign.
14 August 2010: Chelsea 6-0 West Brom
20 August 1994: Crystal Palace 1-6 Liverpool
20 August 1994: Sheff Wed 3-4 Tottenham
19 August 1995: Southampton 3-4 Nott'm Forest
15 August 2009: Everton 1-6 Arsenal
The statistics in this article have been collated in partnership with Opta, the official data provider of the Premier League.