MX23RW : Wednesday, January 16 04:34:59

Five memorable opening-day moments in the Premier League

Sports Mole looks back at the Premier League's most iconic opening-day moments from across the past 23 years.

The long wait for the new Premier League campaign is finally over as 20 sides prepare to do battle once more over the next nine months.

Each year the opening day of the football calendar throws up plenty of talking points - from pundit rants and world-class strikes, through to eye-catching celebrations and landmark goals.

Here, Sports Mole picks out five of the most memorable and iconic moments from curtain-raising fixtures across the past 23 years.


1. Deane quick off the mark (1992)

Four minutes into the inaugural Premiership season, Sheffield United striker Brian Deane found the net to instantly write his name in English football folklore. Up against the previous campaign's runners-up in Manchester United, the Blades made an impressive start by racing ahead early on.

Not much else of the match is remembered, in truth, but Deane's close-range header from just a few yards out will forever crop up in pub-quiz questions. "Whatever happens, wherever I am, that will be the one moment fans all over the world will remember me for," the much-travelled forward told the Premier League's official website in 2011.

Sheffield United won the game 2-1, but it was the Red Devils who had the last laugh as they went on to lift the league crown at the end of the season. Deane, meanwhile, joined Leeds United the following year, before returning to Bramall Lane for two further spells.


2. Klinsmann dives into Spurs folklore (1994)

Jurgen Klinsmann arrived in the Premier League with a reputation as one of the world's finest players at the time. The top flight of English football needed high-profile names and, in the man who had just scored four goals at the 1994 World Cup, they certainly had one of those figures when Tottenham Hotspur snapped him up.

The German also arrived with a reputation of a different sort, however, one which was used to good advantage on his debut to provide the watching audience with one of the division's most memorable celebrations. Klinsmann, accused of being a diver, was quick to make light of these accusations when heading home on his debut.

Once the ball had safely found its way into the back of the net, the Golden Bomber raced towards the sidelines and flung himself to the turf. His biggest drawback had now become his main source of popularity, with each Spurs player replicating the famous celebration the following weekend against Everton to a backdrop of Olympic-style diving cards.


3. Hansen made to eat his own words (1995)

"You can't win anything with kids," BBC pundit Alan Hansen proclaimed after seeing Man United fall 3-1 to Aston Villa on the opening day of the 1995-96 season. Fresh on the back of selling star players Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis, Sir Alex Ferguson's men were thought to be on the slide.

Except they were not, and inspired by the likes of homegrown stars David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers, the Red Devils went on to win a landmark double. The same group of players blossomed under Ferguson, going on to better their achievements of '95 by claiming the treble in 1999.

Of course, Hansen has since been ridiculed for the comment - which was used to spur Fergie's men over the line - but his views echoed those of many others watching on at the time. United named six players under the age of 20 in that Villa Park defeat, though the class of '92 went on to prove that age matters little when you have the talent to succeed.


4. Beckham announces himself to the world (1996)

For a football player to have enjoyed just as must success off the pitch as on it, you must boast charm aplenty. That is certainly the case when it comes to style icon David Beckham, who has carved out a career post-football in an array of industries.

The future England skipper's talent was clear to see from the off, but one moment in particular really pushed him into the global spotlight. It was on the opening day of the 1996-97 season when, spotting Neil Sullivan slightly off his line, Becks executed a superb lofted effort from the halfway line which sailed majestically into the back of the net.

Beckham would experience many highs - firing England to the World Cup finals with that free kick against Greece a particular standout - while also feeling the wrath of Three Lions supporters for his part in the national side's knockout-round defeat to Argentina at France 98. It all started on this sunny afternoon in West London 19 years ago.


5. Gunners hit Everton for six (2009)

History tells us that, quite often at least, one side will particularly turn on the style on the opening day. In recent times, Blackpool and Swansea City have been quick to get off the mark, while in 2009 Arsenal produced a storming display to put six past Everton at Goodison Park.


Everton 1-6 Arsenal ، Goodison Park 2009 . by arsenaly_f16

The 6-1 victory equalled the previous biggest margin of success on the opening weekend, with Denilson, Thomas Vermaelen, William Gallas, Eduardo and a Cesc Fabregas double putting Arsene Wenger's men well in command. Louis Saha did manage to pull one back in added time, but the damage had very much been done by that stage.

Arsenal were unable to match those heights throughout the season, however, finishing in third place - 14 points above Everton, who ended the campaign in a lowly eighth position.


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Didier Drogba celebrates scoring for Chelsea against Tottenham Hotspur on March 19, 2008.
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Top five most memorable opening-day games
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool22183150104057
2Manchester CityMan City22172359174253
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs22160646222448
4Chelsea22145340172347
5Arsenal22125546321441
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd22125544321241
7Watford229583232032
8Leicester CityLeicester229492625131
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham229493032-231
10Everton228683331230
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves228592328-529
12Bournemouth2283113142-1127
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2275102430-626
14Crystal Palace2264122028-822
15Burnley2263132343-2021
16Southampton2247112339-1619
17Cardiff CityCardiff2254131941-2219
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2246121631-1518
19Fulham2235142049-2914
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2225151337-2411

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