Five classic Premier League opening matches

St Marys Southampton

Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, Chelsea, west Ham and Liverpool feature, along with now Championship sides Sheffield Wednesday, Middesbrough and Blackburn Rovers.

With the Premier League season getting underway this weekend, here is a look at five classic opening day matches.

Crystal Palace 3-3 Blackburn Rovers 1992/93

On the first day of the newly revamped top flight, Mark Bright nodded Palace into the lead 10 minutes before half time only for Stuart Ripley to reply with a header of his own to level the match up at the interval. Gareth Southgate restored Palace’s lead after the break from a poor punch from Bobby Mimms allowed the defender to volley home from 25 yards. Alan Shearer replied with a volley of his own on his debut to beat Nigel Martyn in the Palace goal, and Britain’s then most expensive footballer followed it up with a stunning curling effort to give Blackburn the lead for the first time. However, substitute Simon Osborn’s late header snatched a point for the Eagles.

Sheffield Wednesday 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur 1994/95

Maybe in that pre-season these two sides should’ve worked on being more solid at the back. Thankfully they didn’t and they managed to produce this seven goal thriller, as Ossie Ardiles’ Spurs narrowly edged out Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. Goals from Teddy Sheringham and Darren Anderton gave the visitors a 2-0 lead at the break. Dan Petrescu pulled one back for Wednesday after the break before a pretty spectacular own goal from Colin Calderwood levelled the game up. Nick Barmby managed to fire Spurs back in front before Jurgen Klinssman scored his first goal for Spurs with a bullet header before David Hurst volleyed home a consolation goal for the Owls.

Manchester City 3-2 Southampton 2012/13

This was supposed to be the game when City would start as they mean to carry on but Southampton managed to give them a fright and prove their own Premier League credentials. After David Silva’s weak penalty was saved by Kelvin Davis, Carlos Tevez’s strike gave the reigning champions at lead at the interval. But just after half-time, Rickie Lambert entered the fray for the Premier League’s new boys tucking home a well-taken equaliser before Steven Davis put the Saints ahead. Their lead didn’t last long, however, as Edin Dzeko came off the bench to equalise with Samir Nasri’s winner sparing City’s blushes.

Chelsea 4-2 West Ham United 2000/01

This is probably remembered for a classic strike from Chelsea’s Mario Stanic more than the other five goals. Chelsea took the lead through a penalty for a foul on Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink which was outside the area, only for Paulo Di Canio to equalise after half-time. Gianfranco Zola restored Chelsea’s free-kick with a terrific free-kick before Mario Stanic unleashed a volley from 30 yards to put daylight between themselves and the Hammers. Freddie Kanoute pulled one back but Stanic finished the game off with something a little less spectacular, a header.

Middlesbrough 3-3 Liverpool 1996/97

This is probably most remembered for Fabrizio Ravenelli’s hat-trick on debut for Boro but it didn’t start well for the home side as some slack defending allowed Stig Inge Bjornebye to give Liverpool a lead before Ravenelli levelled for the first time from a penalty for a foul on Juninho. John Barnes re-established Liverpool’s lead with a well taken goal from eight yards before Ravenelli turned in a Neil Cox cross before the interval. Liverpool took the lead for a third time after Robbie Fowler poked home Bjornebye’s cross. But Ravanelli had the final word after some persistence from Juninho allowed Ravenelli to get a shot away to earn Boro an opening day point.

What are your favourite opening day memories?

images: © edwin11, © mischatuffield

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