Stories

Ronaldo, Michu and Macca: 12 stunning individual displays on Premier League opening weekend

Cristiano Ronaldo Bolton 2003/04

From Michu’s memorable introduction against a hapless QPR to the glorious sight of a full-bodied Micky Quinn decimating Arsenal at Highbury, these solo displays got top billing...

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

Micky Quinn – Sheffield Wednesday vs Arsenal (1993/94)

Mick Quinn Arsenal

"He's fat, he's round, he's worth a million pounds, Micky Quinn, Micky Quinn!"

He may have been a little plumper than your average Premier League striker, but Quinn had a habit of scoring valuable goals at Coventry. A return of 17 in his debut season for the Sky Blues secured their top-flight safety in 1992/93, but better was to come.

Facing off against League Cup and FA Cup holders Arsenal at a newly-refurbished Highbury, Quinn bagged a hat-trick in a 3-0 win. He remains one of only six players to score a Premier League treble against the Gunners.

“I got a call to say that no opposition player had scored a league hat-trick at Highbury for 75 years,” he later reflected. “The amazing thing is nobody did it after that either and I think I must have been one of the only people that was happy when Highbury was taken down.”

Mario Stanic – Chelsea vs West Ham (2000/01)

Signed from an all-star Parma side in the summer of 2000 alongside Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink, Stanic hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge with a stunning brace in Chelsea’s 4-2 opening day win over West Ham.

His first goal was the undoubted highlight: a sumptuous keepy-uppy-fuelled 35-yard-volley that still ranks among the Premier League’s finest.

“It was a goal that only a man with confidence and personality can score in his first match in front of new supporters,” Blues boss Gianluca Vialli beamed. Unfortunately, that was also about as good as it got for the Croatian, who failed to net again that season and didn’t even bag the goal-of-the-season award for his troubles. Bah.

Cesc Fabregas – Arsenal vs Everton (2009/10)

Cesc Fabregas Everton

The Gunners put David Moyes’s Everton to the sword in scintillating style with a 6-1 win at Goodison Park. Cesc Fabregas ran the show, scoring twice and laying on another two assists in a performance that showed exactly why Barcelona were keen to bring him home.

The midfielder’s second goal – a scampering run followed by a low, precise drive into the bottom corner beyond Tim Howard – was a particular highlight. Fabregas ended the season with a career-best 15 goals, a place in the PFA Team of the Year, and remained at Arsenal for another campaign before finally leaving for the Camp Nou in summer 2011.

Fabrizio Ravanelli – Middlesbrough vs Liverpool (1996/97) 

Fabrizio Ravanelli Liverpool

The White Feather earned instant hero status at the Riverside with this impressive hat-trick against the Reds. Ravanelli, a shock £7m signing from Champions League winners Juventus, wasted little time making an impact by pegging the Merseysiders back three times and showcasing his signature shirt-over-head celebration.

Having bagged his first equaliser with a penalty, Ravanelli’s poacher instincts came to the fore with his other two goals which capped a memorable 3-3 draw. 

The Italian personified Boro’s swashbuckling style that season; alas for them, one that ultimately saw Bryan Robson’s side sink back to the second tier. Ravanelli – who aggravated team-mates throughout the season and even fought defender Neil Cox during a team photo – left soon after. 

Mark Robins – Norwich vs Arsenal (1992/93)

Arsenal fans have endured some difficult opening days down the years, but this calamitous curtain-raiser from the 1992/93 campaign takes some beating. Leading the Canaries 2-0 thanks to goals from Steve Bould and Kevin Campbell, the Gunners looked in control and out of sight at half-time.

However, the second-half introduction of Mark Robins for Chris Sutton soon turned the tide – the former Manchester United man had reduced the arrears within 10 minutes via a diving header. Another two goals followed – one courtesy of a clanger from David Seaman – before Robins took full advantage of a mistake from Tony Adams and sealed an unlikely 4-2 win with an audacious lob.

Dion Dublin – Coventry vs Chelsea (1997/98)

Chelsea went into the 1997/98 season full of confidence after winning only their second ever FA Cup. But despite dominating for large spells against a Coventry side tipped to struggle, they hadn’t counted on Dion Dublin enjoying arguably his finest afternoon in a Sky Blues shirt.

Ruud Gullit’s west Londoners twice took the lead through Frank Sinclair and Tore Andre Flo, but were twice pegged back: Dublin scored a header direct from a long throw and added another at the near post from a corner.

With only minutes remaining, a ball into the box found the striker in acres of space and with the goal gaping for his hat-trick. Dublin went on to score 18 league goals – enough for a share of the Golden Boot – but narrowly missed out on Glenn Hoddle’s World Cup squad.

NEXT: The 16-year-old who made light work of Arsenal