Stats: How successful are we on the opening day?

Arsenal celebrate against Crystal Palace in 2022

For the first time in four years, we’re kicking off the Premier League campaign with a game in front of our own supporters as Nottingham Forest come to north London on Saturday.

The first day of the league season is one that gets every Gooner’s blood pumping, as the anticipation and excitement ahead of a new campaign build to a crescendo, ending on the sounds of the referee’s whistle to get the opening game, and the 2023/24 season underway.

But how have we traditionally fared in our first fixture? We’ve leafed through the record books to uncover some facts and stats:

  • This will be our 120th league season, and in the previous 119 opening games, we have a record of 55 wins, 23 draws and 41 losses. We have never won the league after losing the opening game of the season.

  • After we netted twice against Crystal Palace 12 months ago, are six goals shy of netting 200 in total in game number one, having conceded 168 across the same period.
  • While this will be the first time since 2019 we begin at home, we started a season at home much more often than not, with 67 home fixtures opposed to 52 away. In fact, we had seven in a row at home before our most recent run of four away, and started our time in the new division with five in a row.
  • This will be the 32nd Premier League season, and as we are ever-presents in the division we have played 31 times on the competition’s opening weekend, winning 17 and drawing six of those games. We average 1.84 points (using three points for a win) since the division’s creation in 1992, higher than our all-time average of 1.58.

Arsenal celebrate scoring against Newcastle United in 2019

  • Saturday’s game against Forest will be the 11th time in the last 12 seasons that we have begun our Premier League campaign with a game in London, with the exception being a 1-0 win at Newcastle United in 2019/20.
  • We haven’t drawn on the opening day in 11 years since we played out a goalless draw with Sunderland at Emirates Stadium.
  • Statistically, a draw on the opening day has seen us go on to enjoy good campaigns. In the six seasons we began with a stalemate, we have recorded an average finishing position of 3.5 in the table, ahead of the 3.9 when we won, and 4.6 when we lost.

  • We have scored 54 goals on the opening day of a Premier League season, including six in August 2009 when we thrashed Everton 6-1 at Goodison Park to record the biggest opening day win of our history. The Toffees are the team we’ve faced most often on the opening day in the Premier League, which has happened three times, and we won all three.
  • Our top scorer in Premier League openers is Dennis Bergkamp, who has five strikes to his name. Theirry Henry is second, with all four of his efforts being our first goal of the campaign in four out of five seasons between 2001/02 and 2005/06.

Our top PL opening-day scorers

Dennis Bergkamp


Thierry Henry


Robert Pires


Ian Wright


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


Kevin Campbell


Cesc Fabregas


Olivier Giroud


Alexandre Lacazette


Aaron Ramsey


Robin van Persie


  • No player has scored a hat-trick for us on the opening day in the Premier League, with Bergkamp and Cesc Fabregas the only ones to have netted twice. The Dutchman’s came in a 4-0 win over Middlesbrough in 2001, while Fabregas recorded his brace in that 2009 win at Everton.
  • Alexandre Lacazette’s two strikes were both the opening goals of the entire Premier League season - he is the only player in history to have achieved that feat.

Steve Bould scores against Norwich City in 1992

  • Steve Bould scored our first-ever Premier League goal, which came in the 28th minute of a 4-2 defeat to Norwich City back in August 1992. The centre-back headed in a Nigel Winterburn free-kick, before Kevin Campbell added a second before the Canaries staged a second-half comeback.
  • We have played Nottingham Forest before on the opening day of a Premier League season, which also came off the back of a Charity/Community Shield success at Wembley. Back in 1998, our Double winners recorded a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars.
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