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The 8 most momentous opening-day Premier League matches

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Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (2004/05)

Roy Keane vs Patrick Vieira was soon replaced by Wayne Rooney vs Didier Drogba, Edwin van der Sar vs Petr Cech, and Sir Alex Ferguson vs Jose Mourinho - and this was the start

This was no classic, but Chelsea's 1-0 victory over Manchester United ushered in a new Premier League rivalry. The previous six years had been dominated by Arsenal and Manchester United, but Roy Keane vs Patrick Vieira was soon replaced by Wayne Rooney vs Didier Drogba, Edwin van der Sar vs Petr Cech, and Sir Alex Ferguson vs Jose Mourinho - and this was the start.

The game itself was cagey, with both managers trying to slowly work one another out. United probably shaded it but couldn't make the breakthrough, allowing Chelsea to take all three points en route to the Premier League title.

The championship was won by one of these two sides in each of the next seven years.

Aston Villa 4-2 Manchester City (2008/09)

This game featured one of the Premier League's fastest ever hat-tricks and six second-half goals, but it also had ramifications that affect the present day.

This game featured one of the Premier League's fastest ever hat-tricks and six second-half goals

Aston Villa were a genuine force back in 2008, with Gareth Barry, Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor playing some of the best football of their careers. Manchester City, meanwhile, were experiencing growing pains after their giant injection of cash. 

The first half in this match was goalless. John Carew finally opened the scoring with his head shortly after half-time, before Elano levelled from the penalty spot with 25 minutes remaining.

Agbonlahor then stole the show, first volleying in from six yards out, then heading in a Barry cross, before side-footing in a third for his seven-minute 'perfect' hat-trick.

City were busy in the transfer market for the rest of the month, something that may have been at least partly prompted by their loss at Villa Park. Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Robinho all signed as they tried to break into the Champions League, and the Citizens haven't looked back since. Villa fans, on the other hand, probably do quite a lot.

Liverpool 1-1 Arsenal (2010/11)

Koscielny was sent off deep into injury time after picking up a second booking, but Arsenal were still in celebratory mood at the final whistle

What this game lacked in quality, it made up for in entertaining calamity. Joe Cole, who'd been likened to Lionel Messi by Steven Gerrard after moving to Anfield that summer, was sent off for a reckless tackle on Laurent Koscielny in the first half, before David N'Gog flashed in a brilliant goal at the start of the second.

Liverpool looked set to hold on despite having to play the majority of the second half a man down, but a major blunder from Pepe Reina salvaged a point for the Gunners. The Spaniard made a mess of a cross from the left and then couldn't keep out the rebound, which cannoned off the post and hit him on the leg before rolling over the line.

Koscielny was then sent off deep into injury time after picking up a second booking, but Arsenal were still in celebratory mood at the final whistle having rescued a draw.

Leicester 4-2 Sunderland (2015/16)

This seemed like an early relegation six-pointer at the King Power Stadium, with both teams having narrowly avoided the drop in 2014/15. As it turned out, only one of them would spend the year fighting to stay out of the bottom three.

Leicester came flying out the traps, with Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez heading home Marc Albrighton crosses before Mahrez made it 3-0 from the penalty spot with just 25 minutes gone.

Sunderland responded well in the second half and narrowed the deficit through Jermain Defoe, but Leicester regained their three-goal margin through Albrighton soon after. Steven Fletcher responded five minutes later, but Leicester held out to pick up their first win under new manager Claudio Ranieri.

The Foxes ended the opening weekend in second place, which was supposed to be as good as it got; instead, Ranieri's men went on to make history by winning the Premier League title in remarkable fashion, with this victory proving the springboard for a truly extraordinary season.

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