Feature

Chelsea and Man Utd the teams to avoid first off on 2024/25 Fixture Release Day

16 Jun 2024
Nicolas Jackson-Bruno Fernandes

Which teams, managers and players have the best records on opening weekends? We analyse the stats

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Premier League fans will find out the order of their teams' opponents for 2024/25 on Tuesday, when the fixtures are released from 09:00 BST!

All eyes will naturally be on who your team start the season against as clubs hope to make a fast start and set a tone for the new campaign.

Will you open with a home match? Will you be on the road? Who will you face?

Well, if you want to make a blistering start, history tells us there are some teams whom fans should hope to avoid in Matchweek 1.

Chelsea and Man Utd strong starters

Chelsea and Manchester United are the opening-weekend specialists. They have the best points-per-match record of any team who have played more than one Matchweek 1 fixture.

The Blues and United average 2.09 points per opening match, with Chelsea losing only five times in 32 such instances.

Following the recent appointment of Enzo Maresca, Chelsea also have the added benefit this season of a possible new-manager bounce in their first match.

Best MW1 records of 24/25 PL clubs
Team P W D L Win %
CHE 32 20 7 5 62.5
MUN 32 21 4 7 62.5
NFO 7 4 0 3 57.1
BHA 7 4 0 3 57.1
LIV 32 18 10 4 56.3
ARS 32 18 6 8 56.3
MCI 27 15 6 6 55.6

Man Utd have won the most opening-day matches, with 21 victories, but are not the force they once were. They have lost only seven MW1 fixtures, but two of those defeats have come in the last four seasons.

Historically, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur, who finished fourth and fifth respectively last season, have struggled on the opening weekend.

Villa have lost 11 of their 29 MW1 matches (W10 D8), averaging 1.31 points for a 34.5 per cent win rate, while Spurs' record is marginally better, averaging 1.47 points from 13 wins from 32 matches (D8 L11) with a 40.6 per cent win rate.

Challenge for promoted trio 

The three promoted clubs - Leicester City, Ipswich Town and Southampton - will hope to reverse a trend where all three boast a poor MW1 Premier League record.

Indeed, the trio have claimed a total of only seven victories from their combined 46 opening matches, a success rate of just 15.2 per cent, with Leicester providing four of those wins.

Certainly history doesn't bode well for all promoted teams to claim victories on opening weekend in the Premier League for the first time ever. 

Man City's strong opening record

Defending Premier League champions Manchester City, surprisingly, have six 2024/25 clubs boasting a better overall MW1 win record than them but their record of late has been unsurpassable.

Pep Guardiola's side have won 12 out of their last 13 opening-weekend matches, their only loss being a 1-0 defeat at Spurs in 2021/22.

Man City remained unbeaten at home throughout the entire 2023/24 campaign, while Guardiola has the best record of current Premier League managers, winning seven of his eight matches.

2024/25 managers with best win-rates for MW1
Manager P W D L Win %
Guardiola 8 7 0 1 87.5
Arteta 4 3 0 1 75.0
Nuno 4 2 2 0 50.0
Ten Hag 2 1 0 1 50.0
Howe 7 3 1 3 42.9
Frank 3 1 2 0 33.3
Emery 3 1 0 2 33.3

Arsenal's Mikel Arteta is next, followed by Nuno Espirito Santo and Erik ten Hag.

Nuno is yet to lose any of his four MW1 fixtures, an unbeaten record also enjoyed by Thomas Frank at Brentford, suggesting Nottingham Forest and the Bees may two teams to avoid in Matchweek 1, too.

Another reason not to face Man City in MW1 is that, in general, champions tend to start a season well.

There have been only three occasions across 32 seasons when a club's title defence has begun with a defeat.

Champions on opening weekend
P W D L Win %
32 25 4 3 78.1
Best players on opening weekend

There are some players who tend to love MW1, too, - and none more so than Liverpool's Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian has scored in six of his seven season openers, a Premier League record, and no other player has netted in more than four successive MW1 fixtures.

Salah has eight goals in total in the first round of fixtures, a record he shares with Alan ShearerFrank Lampard and Wayne Rooney.

Jamie Vardy, back in the Premier League with Leicester, currently has seven MW1 goals and has a chance to join the quartet of players on eight, while Man City's Erling Haaland has four goals in only two MW1 appearances.

Haaland, the 2023/24 Golden Boot winner, who netted twice in City's opening-day 3-0 win at Burnley last season, would enter the top 10 with another brace in MW1 this season.

Most MW1 goals
Player Goals
Alan Shearer 8
Frank Lampard 8
Wayne Rooney 8
Mohamed Salah 8
Jamie Vardy 7
Teddy Sheringham 7
Sergio Aguero 7
Louis Saha 6
Didier Drogba 6

While there will be many new faces tasting Premier League action for the first time in MW1, James Milner could move up to third in the all-time appearance list.

The Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder has currently started in 15 opening-weekend fixtures, and could go level with Jermain Defoe, Phil Neville, and Ryan Giggs, on 16, should he feature.

Milner, 38, is two off Paul Scholes' total of 17 and three behind the leader, Lampard,.

Indeed, Milner now needs to play in only 20 more top-flight matches to overtake Gareth Barry's competition record of 653 appearances.

Most MW1 appearances
Player Apps
Frank Lampard 18
Paul Scholes 17
Jermain Defoe 16
Ryan Giggs 16
Phil Neville 16
Gareth Barry 15
Jamie Carragher 15
James Milner 15
Wayne Rooney 15

Get the 2024/25 Premier League fixtures to your mobile device from 09:00 BST on 18 June by downloading our digital calendar

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