Premier League fixtures 2021-22: Key stats for a bumper opening weekend
The countdown to the new Premier League season is well and truly on after the 2021-22 fixtures were released this morning.
It is just 59 days until the new campaign kicks off, with the added bonus of fans set to be welcomed back inside grounds again.
Title-holders Manchester City face a tough trip to Tottenham in their opener, Premier League new-boys Brentford will host Arsenal and there is the small matter of a Roses clash at Old Trafford between Manchester United and Leeds.
Already pining for the domestic action to start again? Fear not. We’ve got all the stats ahead of the first games right here for you.
Brentford vs Arsenal
This will be the first league meeting between Brentford and Arsenal since May 1947, when the Gunners won 1-0 at Griffin Park.
That was the only victory Arsenal have managed in six visits (D1, L4) to Brentford, though it was also their last competitive trip.
The Bees will be the 50th different team to play in the Premier League and the 10th from London. Just 11 of the previous 49 participants have won their first ever game in the competition (D15 L23), while no side from the capital has succeeded (D5 L4).
Arsenal are unbeaten in their past seven opening day away games (W5 D2) since losing 0-1 at Sunderland in the 2000-01 campaign. The Gunners began last season with a 3-0 victory away against promoted side Fulham.
Burnley vs Brighton
Burnley have won just one of their last seven home league games against Brighton (D4 L2), winning 1-0 in December 2018.
Of the 517 Premier League fixtures to have been played at least eight times, this game has the fifth lowest goals-per-game ratio, with just 12 goals being scored in the eight meetings between the sides (1.5 per game).
Burnley have lost their first match in just one of their last four top-flight seasons (W2 D1), losing to Leicester last season.
The Seagulls have lost their opening fixture in three of their four Premier League campaigns, beating Watford 3-0 in 2019-20 in the other.
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace
Chelsea have won 16 of their last 20 Premier League meetings with Crystal Palace (L4), including each of the last seven in a row.
After winning back-to-back away league games against the Blues in 2015-16 and 2016-17, Palace have lost their last four visits to Stamford Bridge by an aggregate score of 11-2.
Chelsea have lost their opening match in two of the last four seasons (W2) — as many as they had in the previous 23 campaigns (W16 D5 L2).
The Eagles have won two of their last three season openers and have kept a clean sheet in all three matches. The Eagles had won just two of their previous 15 top-flight openers (D4 L9).
Everton vs Southampton
Everton have lost just one of their 22 Premier League home games against Southampton (W15 D6), remaining unbeaten in their last 16 against them at Goodison Park since a 2-0 loss in November 1997.
The Saints have kept just one clean sheet in their last nine league meetings with the Toffees (W3 D2 L4), doing so in a 2-0 home victory last season.
Everton haven’t lost their opening match in any of the last nine seasons (W3 D6) since a 0-1 loss against QPR in 2011-12. Four of the Toffees’ six draws on the first weekend since then have been 2-2.
Southampton have won their opening fixture in just one of their last 14 top-flight campaigns (D7 L6), beating West Brom 1-0 in 2013-14. The Saints have the lowest win rate in opening games of all Premier League sides to play in at least 10 campaigns (9% — won 2/22).
Leicester vs Wolves
Leicester have lost just one of their last 24 home league games against Wolves (W14 D9), going down 4-1 in May 2007 in the Championship.
Since Wolves’ return to the Premier League in 2018, they’ve failed to score in five of their six meetings with Leicester (W1 D3 L2), with the exception being a 4-3 home win in January 2019. Three of those five failures have been in goalless draws.
The Foxes have won just one of their last five opening fixtures (D1 L3), though that victory was last season against West Brom (3-0).
Wolves haven’t lost their opening league game in any of the last eight campaigns (W4 D4), since a 1-0 loss at Leeds in the 2012-13 Championship.
Manchester United vs Leeds
Manchester United and Leeds are set to face each other in their opening top-flight league matches of the season for the first time since 1970-71, when Leeds won 1-0 at Old Trafford thanks to a Mick Jones goal. The Whites finished runners-up in the league that season.
Leeds' last league victory at United came via a 1-0 victory in February 1981 and their 6-2 defeat there last season made it 16 games without three points at Old Trafford. The Yorkshire club have played more Premier League matches there without winning than at any other stadium (13).
The Red Devils lost their first Premier League match last season, losing 3-1 at Old Trafford against Crystal Palace. They haven’t lost their opening top-flight match in consecutive seasons since 1972-73 and 1973-74, going on to be relegated in the latter season.
After going 14 consecutive top-flight seasons without losing their opening match between 1990-91 and 2003-04, Leeds suffered a 4-3 defeat against Liverpool last season. They last lost their first top-flight league match in consecutive seasons back in 1980-81 and 1981-82.
Newcastle vs West Ham
This is the third time Newcastle and West Ham have faced in their first Premier League matches of the season (previously 2002-03 and 2020-21). The only such fixture to be played more often in Premier League history is Newcastle vs Tottenham (four).
Since they returned to the top-flight in 2017-18, Newcastle registered more league wins against the Hammers than any other side (five, level with Southampton), completing a double over the David Moyes' men last season.
The Toon Army beat West Ham in last season's opener, winning 2-0 at the London Stadium. The Magpies haven’t started with a win in consecutive Premier League seasons since beating Wigan in 2006-07 and Bolton in 2007-08.
West Ham have lost their first game in each of the last five seasons stretching back to 2016-17. The last team to lose their opening top-flight match in six consecutive seasons — without a relegation in between — were Grimsby between 1934-35 and 1946-47.
Norwich vs Liverpool
This is the fourth time Norwich will face Liverpool in their opening top-flight match of the season, winning none of the previous three (D1 L2), including in their last Premier League season in 2019-20, when they went down 4-1 at Anfield.
The Reds are unbeaten in their last 14 Premier League matches against Norwich (W12 D2), netting 44 goals across those contests (3.1 per game).
In their 18 Premier League meetings with Norwich, Liverpool have scored 50 goals at an average of 2.8 per game. The only team to have a higher goals per game ratio against an opponent (min. 15 games) is Man Utd against Wigan (50 in 16 games, 3.1 per game).
The Canaries last opening-day victory in the top-flight came on the first day of Premier League football against Arsenal in 1992-93. Their eight-game winless run is the longest current stretch for any side.
Liverpool have won their last seven away Premier League matches at Carrow Road, only having a longer away top-flight winning run against West Brom (8 in a row between 1983 and 2009).
Liverpool’s five opening matches under Jurgen Klopp have seen 29 goals scored in total (19 for, 10 against), with the Reds unbeaten in all five (W4 D1) despite conceding three goals in three of those five games (4-3 vs Arsenal in 2016-17, 3-3 vs Watford in 2017-18 and 4-3 vs Leeds in 2020-21).
Tottenham vs Manchester City
Spurs have faced Manchester City in their opening top-flight match of the season on three previous occasions, losing none of those matches in 1990-91 (3-1 win), 1995-96 (1-1 draw) and 2010-11 (0-0 draw).
City have lost 15 away Premier League matches against Spurs, including in each of the last two seasons. They have only lost more away Premier League matches against Liverpool (16).
Spurs lost 1-0 against Everton in their opening game of 2020-21, last losing such matches in consecutive seasons back in 2011-12 (0-3 vs Manchester United) and 2012-13 (1-2 vs Newcastle).
The Citizens have won their first league match of the season in each of their last 10 top-flight campaigns stretching back to 2011-12, the joint-longest such run in top-flight history alongside Aston Villa between 1891-92 and 1900-01.
Among managers to take charge of at least four opening matches in Premier League history, Pep Guardiola is the only manager to win all such games with five victories out of five — seeing City score 14 goals across those games.
Watford vs Aston Villa
This will be the first ever meeting between Watford and Aston Villa on the opening day of a league season. The Hornets have won six of their previous 10 home league games against Villa (D3 L1).
The away side has won just two of 18 top-flight league meetings between Watford and Aston Villa (D5 L11), both happening in the Premier League era (Watford 0-1 Aston Villa in 1999-00 and Aston Villa 2-3 Watford in 2015-16).
Watford have lost their opening league match in just one of the last 14 seasons (W7 D6) since losing six consecutive such games between 2001-02 and 2006-07. Their one defeat in the last 14 seasons came at home to Brighton and Hove Albion in the 2019-20 Premier League, losing 3-0.
Aston Villa have won their first Premier League match in four of the last five seasons, winning 1-0 against Sheffield United last season. However, they have only won one of their four opening day Premier League matches against newly promoted teams (D1 L2), a 1-0 away win at Bournemouth in 2015-16.