Blogs & Opinion


Early form, early baths

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 21st August 2013 view comments

Tyler's Teaser

Every week, Martin will set you a question of his own to get your grey matter working. Click above for this week's Tyler's Teaser - delivered to you direct from Stamford Bridge.

Send your questions to Martin

1: Email your posers to skysportsclub@bskyb.com

2. Use the feedback form at the bottom of this page.


Martin's starting stats

I was at Stamford Bridge on Super Sunday to see Frank Lampard equal Alan Shearer as the all-time top scorer in the opening fixture of a Premier League season - with his 8th goal on the opening matchday. However, he failed to add to Chelsea's Premier League record of 92 penalty goals - that's more than any other club.

Hull have never won at Chelsea in 20 games, including 16 in the league. They also failed to add to the three league goals that they've scored at Stamford Bridge. The most recent was by Stephen Hunt on the opening day four years ago, which gave Hull the lead but they lost 2-1. That season, Chelsea went on to do the double and Hull went on to be relegated.

Chelsea are ever-present in the Premier League and have now won 11 of their last 12 opening-day fixtures, including all five under Jose Mourinho. The only time they have failed to win in recent times was a 0-0 at Stoke in 2011.

Oscar didn't get his first Premier League goal of last season until the 8-0 win over Aston Villa; his 15th Premier league appearance. This time it took him 13 minutes.

Meanwhile, Mourinho now has a record of 61 home games in charge of Chelsea in the Premier League without losing.

Best starters

Dear Martin. Arsenal's defeat to Aston Villa was a real shock to me because usually we are very strong on the first day of the season. Can you tell me who has the best first-day record in Premier League history? I would guess it's between us and Man United because Chelsea and Man City weren't very good when the Premier League started? Rik (Arsenal fan)

MARTIN SAYS: Whether you look at the win percentages or the points gained, in fact Chelsea have the best opening-matchday record of any team to have played more than five seasons in the Premier League. They have gained 47 points from their 22 opening-day games since the start of the Premier League, having won 14, lost three and drawn five. Manchester United have a near identical record apart from losing four games and drawing four for a total of 46 points. While Chelsea have conceded one more goal than United in those games, they have also scored three more than their rivals with 45 to their name.

Arsenal, who suffered that surprise 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa at the weekend, are the third most successful team on opening weekends. They have amassed 42 points from first-up fixtures over the years, scoring a solid 39 goals in the process. Liverpool and Aston Villa make up the top five with Villa having gained 29 points despite just a 31.82% win ratio.

QPR, Oldham, Barnsley, Burnley, Cardiff, Swindon and Watford have all failed to win on the opening day with QPR by far the biggest new season bolters having lost five and drawn one of their six matches.

Opening matchday record of every team in Premier League history

TeamGamesWonDrawnLostForAgainstPointsWin %
Chelsea22145345174763.64%
Manchester United22144442164663.64%
Arsenal22126439214254.55%
Liverpool22117431214050.00%
Aston Villa2278729222931.82%
West Ham United1891821252850.00%
Newcastle United2076725262735%
Tottenham Hotspur2176822232733.33%
Blackburn Rovers1875623242638.89%
Everton2167825332528.57%
Leeds United125701892241.67%
Manchester City1766524232435.29%
Bolton Wanderers1362525192046.15%
Fulham1354420161938.46%
Sunderland134548121730.77%
Wimbledon842214121450.00%
Coventry City941412151344.44%
Middlesbrough1426617231214.29%
Nottingham Forest53011051280.00%
Southampton1526713211213.33%
Derby County715199814.29%
Portsmouth7223811828.57%
Charlton Athletic82151216725.00%
Leicester City8143714712.50%
Sheffield United321063766.67%
Birmingham City713369614.29%
Norwich City7133815614.29%
Wolverhampton Wanderers420259650.00%
Crystal Palace5122712520.00%
Reading312043533.33%
Stoke City712357516.67%
West Bromwich Albion8125512512.50%
Ipswich Town511356420.00%
Sheffield Wednesday8116814412.50%
Wigan Athletic8116614412.50%
Blackpool1100403100.00%
Bradford City210111350.00%
Hull City310235333.33%
Swansea City310268333.33%
Oldham Athletic20111410.00%
Queens Park Rangers601521710.00%
Barnsley10011200.00%
Burnley10010200.00%
Cardiff City10010200.00%
Swindon Town10011300.00%
Watford20023500.00%

Early early baths

Martin. This is the second time that Koscielny has been sent off in the first game of the season. I remember he was also sent off against Liverpool a couple of years back. Has any player been sent off more than him in the first game and has any team had more players sent off than Arsenal? Brendan (Arsenal fan)

MARTIN SAYS: Laurent Koscielny's dismissal against Aston Villa confirmed Arsenal's status as the most undisciplined team on the opening day. The defender was Arsenal's sixth player to be sent off on the opening matchday of a Premier League season, following Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira, Ray Parlour, Gervinho and Koscielny again, against Liverpool at the start of the 2010 season.

Ugo Ehiogu is the only other player to have twice been red carded on the opening day - both whilst playing for Middlesbrough. He was sent off against Arsenal in August 2001 and against Liverpool in 2005.

Koscielny's red card saw Arsenal move above Charlton in the opening-day red card table. Five of their players - Richard Rufus, Paul Konchesky, Darren Ambrose, Mark Fish and Djimi Traore - have seen red in just eight opening-day matches. Manchester United have had just one player dismissed on the opening matchday - Paul Parker against QPR in 1994 - while Chelsea have never been down to 10 men on the first day.

PS My team Kingstonian had a player sent off in the opening game for third consecutive season - all away in Essex; Tom Bird in a 0-0 at Aveley in 2011; Andre McCollin in a 1-1 at East Thurrock and Marcus Moody in 1-0 win at Canvey Island this year.

Number of players sent off on the opening day

TeamNo. of Players
Arsenal6
Charlton Athletic5
Blackburn Rovers3
Newcastle United3
Liverpool2
Middlesbrough2
Queens Park Rangers2
Aston Villa1
Coventry City1
Everton1
Manchester City1
Manchester United1
Reading1
Sheffield Wednesday1
Southampton1
Stoke City1
Sunderland1
West Bromwich Albion1
Wimbledon1

Rising blanks

Hi Martin, an absolutely massive fan of your commentary and stats and facts column. As you saw all promoted teams did not just suffer defeats but they also failed to find the net so I wanted to know if this has ever happened to promoted teams in previous seasons? Thanks. Mark (Manchester United fan)

MARTIN SAYS: Last weekend, Cardiff, Crystal Palace and Hull all drew blanks against West Ham, Tottenham and Chelsea, but this was not the first time since the Premier League was formed that all three promoted sides have failed to score on the opening weekend.

The other occasions were in 2010 and 2003. In 2009/10 Birmingham (v Man Utd), Burnley (v Stoke) and Wolves (v West Ham) all fluffed their opening lines. However, of those sides only Burnley were relegated.

Meanwhile, in 2002/03 Manchester City (v Leeds), West Brom (v Man Utd) and Birmingham (v Arsenal) again endured an inauspicious start. However, yet again only one team - West Brom - were relegated at the end of it.

The most promising start from the newly promoted clubs combined came in 2001/02 when Blackburn, Fulham and Bolton hit eight goals between them. Much of this was down to Bolton who smashed five past Leicester - the best victory for a newly promoted side on the opening day of a Premier League season. This was one of only two seasons in Premier League history where all of the promoted teams have stayed up - so it certainly helps to have a good start!

Opening-day omens

Dear Martin. I am a Man City fan and I'm very happy after the win on Monday night, especially as it means we are top of the league after the first weekend. Is this a good omen for us? How often has the team that was top after the first game gone on to win the league? Craig (Man City fan)

MARTIN SAYS: It was a good win, but not necessarily a good omen. Only twice has the team which was top of the table after the opening round of fixtures gone on to win the Premier League and both times it was Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United, in the 1996/97 and 2006/07 seasons. They beat Wimbledon 3-0 in August 1996 and Fulham 5-1 in 2006 and went on to top the standings later in the campaign.

Newcastle have topped the Premier League three times after the first round of matches and have, of course, never gone on to win the league while Charlton Athletic and Bolton have twice topped the league after the opening matchday. Bolton topped the table in 2011/12 after beating QPR 4-0 - and eventually went on to be relegated so it's clear that being top after day one is no guarantee of success.

Admittedly, Man City won 4-0 (against Swansea) on the opening day of their title-winning season in 2011/12, but were kept off top spot by Bolton on alphabetical order!

Here are the teams that have been top of the table after Matchday 1 in each Premier League season:

SeasonTop after opening gameChampions
1992-93Norwich CityManchester United
1993-94Aston VillaManchester United
1994-95LiverpoolBlackburn
1995-96Newcastle UnitedManchester United
1996-97Manchester UnitedManchester United
1997-98Manchester UnitedArsenal
1998-99WimbledonManchester United
1999-00ChelseaManchester United
2000-01Charlton AthleticManchester United
2001-02Bolton WanderersArsenal
2002-03Newcastle UnitedManchester United
2003-04Blackburn RoversArsenal
2004-05ArsenalChelsea
2005-06Charlton AthleticChelsea
2006-07Manchester UnitedManchester United
2007-08Newcastle UnitedManchester United
2008-09ChelseaManchester United
2009-10ArsenalChelsea
2010-11ChelseaManchester United
2011-12Bolton WanderersManchester City
2012-13FulhamManchester United

Changes at the top

Five teams started this season with a different manager to the one that ended the previous one. Is this a record for the first day of a season? Have we ever seen 25% of the league with new managers before? Stu (Crystal Palace fan)

MARTIN SAYS: Five managerial changes seems a lot - but it is not the most in these hire-them fire-them times. Last season there were six new faces in the dug outs of the Premier League compared to the previous season. They were Paul Lambert (Aston Villa), Brendan Rodgers (Liverpool), Chris Hughton (Norwich), Michael Laudrup (Swansea), Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham) and Steve Clarke (West Brom). That's the record for the number of changes between one season and the next. This year we've seen the second highest number of changes.

It certainly appears that these are more perilous times for managers compared to 20 years ago with 18 managerial changes by clubs in the last four close-seasons in contrast to just 10 in the opening four close-seasons of the Premier League.

Here is a list of all close-season managerial changes in Premier League history:

Team ManagerSeason
ChelseaGlenn Hoddle1994
Tottenham HotspurOsvaldo Ardiles1994
West Ham UnitedHarry Redknapp1995
ArsenalBruce Rioch1996
Blackburn RoversRay Harford1996
Manchester CityAlan Ball1996
SouthamptonDavid Merrington1996
ArsenalStewart Houston1997
ChelseaRuud Gullit1997
SouthamptonGraeme Souness1997
Blackburn RoversRoy Hodgson1998
EvertonHoward Kendall1998
SouthamptonDave Jones1998
EvertonWalter Smith1999
LiverpoolGerard Houllier1999
WimbledonEgil Roger Olsen2000
Bradford CityChris Hutchings2001
Leicester CityPeter Taylor2001
MiddlesbroughSteve McClaren2002
Leeds UnitedTerry Venables2003
Aston VillaDavid O'Leary2004
ChelseaJosé Mourinho2005
LiverpoolRafael Benitez2005
Tottenham HotspurJacques Santini2005
Aston VillaMartin O'Neill2007
Charlton AthleticIain Dowie2007
MiddlesbroughGareth Southgate2007
Manchester CitySven-Göran Eriksson2008
Newcastle UnitedSam Allardyce2008
Wigan AthleticChris Hutchings2008
Blackburn RoversPaul Ince2009
ChelseaFelipe Scolari2009
Manchester CityMark Hughes2009
ChelseaCarlo Ancelotti2010
SunderlandSteve Bruce2010
Wigan AthleticRoberto Martinez2010
Aston VillaKevin MacDonald2011
FulhamMark Hughes2011
LiverpoolRoy Hodgson2011
West Ham UnitedAvram Grant2011
Aston VillaAlex McLeish2012
ChelseaAndre Villas-Boas2012
FulhamMartin Jol2013
Aston VillaPaul Lambert2013
LiverpoolBrendan Rodgers2013
Norwich CityChris Hughton2013
Swansea CityMichael Laudrup2013
Tottenham HotspurAndre Villas-Boas2013
West Bromwich AlbionSteve Clarke2013
ChelseaJosé Mourinho2014
EvertonRoberto Martinez2014
Manchester UnitedDavid Moyes2014
Stoke CityMark Hughes2014
Manchester CityManuel Pellegrini2014

Send your questions to Martin

1: Email your posers to skysportsclub@bskyb.com

2. Use the feedback form at the bottom of this page.

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