With opening weekend of the Premier League just around the corner, focus is again on Manchester United at the start of a new era. Manager Erik ten Hag will want to start things off right, and though he has a limited squad and hasn’t yet gotten all the transfer business done that he would have liked by this time, history is on his side when it comes to starting the season with all three points.
Online Betting Guide gathered data and created a table of current Premier League sides and their average points per game from top flight opening weekends since 2000. Manchester United unsurprisingly are near the top of that list, having only lost three opening day matches in that time. A 0-1 defeat at Everton in 2012/13, a 1-2 home defeat to Swansea City in 2014/15, and a 1-3 home defeat to Crystal Palace in 2020/21.
It isn’t too surprising that United average 2.41 points from opening day considering much of that time is in the Sir Alex Ferguson era, but it is interesting how the club have generally continued to perform well to open seasons in years since his retirement. Last year in particular, United smashed Leeds at Old Trafford through a Bruno Fernandes hat-trick and four Paul Pogba assists. There was little indication from that performance or the buzz around the place of the dreadful season that was to come.
In fact, there have been several cases of United starting the season off in dominant fashion, only to stumble soon after. In 2019/20 Manchester United beat Chelsea 4-0 in a rampant second half display, only to pick up 10 points from their next 10 matches. The season before that, they dispatched Leicester City 2-1 in a Friday night game, and they would be looking for a new manager by Christmas. In 2013/14 they won 4-1 away at Swansea City in their first league game under David Moyes, and just a couple months later it was clear that he wasn’t actually the Chosen One.
With Brighton coming to Old Trafford this Sunday to kick off the next campaign, United are hoping to continue their impressive opening day record, but are perhaps more concerned with following up in the games after and building the foundation for a good season. Erik ten Hag wants to lay the foundation for a real competitive side in the coming years, but as much as we’d like to believe in a process we are still eternally subject to the moment. Things need to get better soon to win over the fans, the players, and potential future members of the project.