It’s no secret that the Gunners struggle in the opening fixture of each of the past few seasons. But, just how bad have they been? As fans prepare for the first match of the 2017-2018 season, let’s discuss Arsenal’s first game and what to expect.
What to Expect From Arsenal’s First Game
What is Their Record in First Fixtures?
The Gunners have never been relegated from the English top flight, meaning that they have played in each of the twenty-five seasons of the Premier League. Gooners have seen their team win big in the first match, but also play like they were still in the Academy.
Especially in recent seasons, Arsenal haven’t gotten their game going until the second or third match of the year. Last August the team recorded only one win, over Watford, to go with a draw against Leicester, and a loss to Liverpool.
However, if we turn the clocks back far enough, Arsenal have a decent record in the year’s first game.
Out of 25 games, the Gunners have won 13, drawn six and lost six, which is fourth best all-time (because this is Arsenal after all). To put that in perspective, through the first 25 matches last season, Arsenal had 15 wins, five draws and five losses.
What is Arsène Wenger’s Record in Opening Games?
Wenger’s first game in charge of Arsenal’s first game of the league season was in 1997, almost a year after taking the job. That game was played at Elland Road, home of Leeds United, where the Gunners had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
The Frenchman’s first opening day victory came a year later when Nottingham Forest fell at Highbury 2-1.
Just like with the team, Wenger’s recent struggles in the first fixture are offset by a good historical record. Overall, our man Arsene has won 11 times on opening day, drawing five times and losing four matches.
At home, the tally is eight wins, two draws and three defeats. Fun fact; all three home defeats have occurred over the last four years.
What is Arsenal’s Scoring Record in Opening Fixtures During the Wenger Era?
Arsene Wenger is known to enjoy the free-flowing, creative, attacking side of the game. So, unsurprisingly, Arsenal generally get goals when he is in charge, often at the cost of solid defending.
The first fixture has seen some huge scorelines during the Frenchman’s tenure, for example, the 6-1 thrashing of Everton at Goodison Park in 2009.
Overall, the Gunners have given up 20 goals under Wenger’s watch in opening games, scoring 36.
Fun fact; Arsenal have played in only two scoreless draws in the first fixture of the League only twice during Wenger’s reign. The first was in 2011 at St James Park. The second came the year after at home against the Black Cats of Sunderland.
Answer: 36 GF 20 GA
Has Leicester City Ever Visited for Arsenal’s First Game?
The two teams have not just met in the first fixture of the league, but it was also a home match for the Gunners. The game took place at Highbury in August 1999.
Wenger’s men took the points on that day, winning 2-1.
Answer: Yes, once.
How Has Leicester Done in Opening Games?
In the Premier League era, the Foxes have played in 11 top-flight campaigns, winning the competition once. Their record on opening day is sketchy, however, when compared to Arsenal’s.
From the 11 games, Leicester won only two games, drawing five and losing four (including once to the Gunners).
So, history is on our side going into the game!
What is Arsenal’s Record at the Emirates on Opening Day?
The Emirates era at Arsenal officially kicked off in the summer of 2006. At the time, the Gunners were only two years removed from the Invincibles, one year removed from an FA Cup win and just weeks removed from their only Champions League Final.
Spirits were high, as the new high-capacity ground was thought to be the missing piece for Arsenal which prevented them from joining the ranks of Barcelona and Real Madrid. The first match played at Emirates Stadium was in August 2006 against Aston Villa.
The Villains lived up to their name and spoiled what should have been a house-warming party for the Arsenal faithful, and earned a point in the 1-1 draw.
Fun fact; Aston Villa and Arsenal have played twice on the first fixture. Villa won once and drew once, meaning the Gunners have only taken one point from the Birmingham club on opening day.
That game was perhaps indicative of the struggles Arsenal were to endure for the next decade. Since that game, the Gunners have endured two trophy droughts, and captured only three FA Cups over the last 11 years.
Perhaps even more telling than the droughts have been opening day results at the Emirates. Out of eight games played, Arsenal won only three times, drawing two and losing three.
They have also been outscored at the Emirates during first fixtures, scoring ten while shipping 12.
Answer: 3-2-3, 10 GF 12 GA
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