Five heavyweight openers from Premier League weekends past
Arsenal vs Manchester City sees two of the big guns face off
Last Updated: 09/08/18 4:19pm
Arsenal face off against Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday as the season begins with a heavyweight encounter.
It is not the first meeting between two contenders on the first weekend of the campaign, but what has happened in these games in the past?
Here, we pick out five clashes between the big guns and take a look at what the significance of those results turned out to be…
Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool in 2016
The last time that Arsenal faced one of their big-six rivals on the opening weekend, there were fireworks as they combined with Liverpool to produce a Premier League classic back in 2016. Arsenal led before being blown away only to almost pull off an amazing comeback.
Theo Walcott had even missed a penalty before giving the Gunners the lead but after that it was all Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp's men scored four times - twice through Philippe Coutinho with one apiece for Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane - to leave Arsenal in disarray.
Goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers made for a thrilling finale but the flaws in Arsene Wenger's team had already been exposed. They would go on to finish outside of the top four for the first time under the Frenchman - one point behind Liverpool.
Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham in 2015
A new-look Manchester United got the job done against Tottenham on the first Saturday of the 2015/16 season with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay among the debutants. David de Gea sat it out amid speculation he was off to Real Madrid.
It was an own goal by Kyle Walker midway through the first half that separated the sides and gave Louis van Gaal's men the three points, but United were far from convincing. Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs had four of the game's five shots on target.
The performance rather than the result proved instructive. While Tottenham went on to push Leicester hard in the title race, Van Gaal's United fell well short in fifth and the Dutchman paid the price with his job despite delivering the FA Cup for the club.
Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal in 2010
Roy Hodgson's first Premier League game in charge of Liverpool was an eventful affair that ultimately ended in disappointment for the Anfield crowd as Pepe Reina's late own goal allowed Arsenal to salvage a point. The Reds had looked like holding on despite being a man down.
Joe Cole's arrival from Chelsea on a free transfer that summer had been hailed as a major coup but he marked his debut with a red card for a wild challenge on Laurent Koscielny. Even so, Cole looked like getting away with it when David Ngog put Liverpool ahead.
Instead, a surprise mistake by Reina proved the home side's undoing. Tomas Rosicky whipped a cross into the area but the goalkeeper made a mess of it and Arsenal had their goal. Koscielny himself was sent off soon after. Hodgson was sacked in January.
Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool in 2009
Liverpool had run Manchester United close in the race for the Premier League title in the previous season with Tottenham languishing down in eighth. But this opening weekend clash at White Hart Lane provided clues for what was to come.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto's powerful drive opened the scoring late in the second half and while Steven Gerrard levelled from the penalty spot, it was Sebastien Bassong who scored the winner on his debut. It was no more than Tottenham deserved.
The result was considered something of a surprise with Liverpool tipped to challenge United for the title once again. Instead, Rafa Benitez left Anfield at the end of the season after finishing seventh, while Spurs qualified for the Champions League under Harry Redknapp.
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United in 2004
Jose Mourinho had already been christened 'The Special One' and England knew all about him after he had eliminated Manchester United en route to winning the Champions League with Porto earlier that year, but his opening weekend victory underlined his credentials.
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Petr Cech and Didier Drogba were among the Chelsea debutants but it was Eidur Gudjohnsen who scored the only goal of the game as Mourinho set the tone for the season ahead with a solid victory against Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
United were without a number of key players throughout - Roy Keane was forced to play in defence - but the defeat was a significant confidence boost for Chelsea. They went on to win the Premier League title by 18 points, losing only once and conceding only 15 goals.
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