The best stats from Premier League matchday one: Arsenal's debutants shine, Liverpool stagger and Tottenham make club history

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The Premier League is finally back and matchday one offered up plenty of action for viewers around the world to digest. 

From Arsenal’s fine victory over Crystal Palace in Friday’s league opener to Tottenham’s record opening day Premier League win, 28 goals were scored across the 10 opening weekend fixtures, the second-most since the 2017/18 campaign. 

Four of those came via own goals, the highest amount on an opening weekend of Premier League action in the competition’s 31-year history. 

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah also made history as he became the Premier League’s joint-highest scorer in opening-day matches after his strike at Craven Cottage which moved him onto eight such goals - equal with Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Alan Shearer. 

Below, The Sporting News dives into the data to give you the storylines that matter the most from the opening weekend of the 2022/23 Premier League season. 

Arsenal’s debut stars steal the show

This opening weekend’s action got underway on Friday night as Arsenal recorded an impressive 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. That win meant that the Gunners have already won more matches and kept more clean sheets than throughout the whole of August during the 2021/22 campaign when they lost their opening three league matches. 

It was debutants William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko who largely stole the show for Mikel Arteta’s side much to the delight of Arsenal fans everywhere. 

Not only did Zinchenko grab a well-worked assist on Gabriel Martinelli’s opening strike of the campaign, but he also recorded more touches (55) and created more chances (2) than any other player on the field before half-time. His performance proved a far cry from Nuno Tavares’ last season in the same match as Palace ran out 3-0 victors as the Portuguese defender was subbed off at half-time. 

Jesus also looked threatening throughout after arriving from champions Manchester City over the summer. Just like Zinchenko, the Brazilian excelled in the first half, having nine touches in Palace’s box as well as completing five take-ons - both first-half leading figures.

But perhaps the best performance came from young centre-back Saliba, who finally made his Arsenal debut after signing for the London side 1,106 days previously. 

Looking calm and assured under pressure throughout the match, Saliba won 100 per cent of his aerial duels, recovered possession seven times and made six clearances to help Arsenal record their first clean sheet in 11 Premier League matches.

The Frenchman also didn’t commit any fouls and wasn’t dribbled past by a Palace player as his quality shone through during a solid opening fixture for the Gunners. Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville even likened him to a young Rio Ferdinand.

MORE: Premier League top scorers 2022-23

Liverpool fail to win on the opening day but Nunez enjoys successful league debut

It proved to be a far more underwhelming start to the season for Premier League hopefuls Liverpool, who failed to win their opening league match of the campaign for the first time since August 12, 2017. 

The Reds’ 2-2 draw with Fulham will have surprised many and will have already slightly dented confidence around Anfield given that only four previous Premier League champions have started their title-winning campaign without a win.  

Aleksandar Mitrović’s powerful header put Fulham ahead at the break which meant that this season Liverpool have already been behind on the scoresheet at half-time the same amount of times than the whole of their last campaign combined. 

Liverpool also failed to even register a shot on target in the first half vs. Fulham, a failure they managed for just the fourth time across their last 50 Premier League outings. 

Despite Darwin Nunez netting an equaliser early in the second-half, Mitrovic was clumsily fouled by Virgil van Dijk resulting in a penalty that the Serbian slotted away. That was the first time since joining Liverpool that Van Dijk had been dribbled past by an opponent and conceded a penalty in a single Premier League game.

Salah then equalised again for the visitors as he netted his eighth opening day Premier League strike, moving him level with competition legend Lampard, Rooney and Shearer for the most such strikes in league history. 

In spite of Liverpool’s disappointing result, Nunez at least offered the positives as he made a fantastic cameo in the second half. His goal and assist meant he was just the third player to manage that feat from the bench on his Premier League debut after Sergio Agüero (2011-12) and Álvaro Morata (2017-18). 

On top of that and despite only playing for 39 minutes, the Uruguayan recorded seven touches inside the opposition box, three shots on target and two chances created - all match-high figures as his Liverpool career got off to a strong start. 

MORE: Klopp complains of "dry" Fulham pitch after draw

Spurs record their biggest ever opening day Premier League win 

Many people’s pick to take third spot in the Premier League this season, Spurs got off to a strong start as Antonio Conte saw his new-look side run out comfortable 4-1 winners against Southampton. 

Despite the visitors taking the lead courtesy of captain James Ward-Prowse’s strike, his sixth in a row to come away from home, Tottenham roared back to win back-to-back Premier League openers on home soil. 

Ryan Sessegnon got the hosts back level from a Dejan Kulusevski assist, before centre-back Eric Dier nodded home his first Premier League goal in 82 appearances, his last coming back in May 2019 against Everton. Since he joined Spurs in January, no player has more Premier League assists than Kulusevski (9).

Saints defender Mohammed Salisu turned into his own net to make it 3-1 to Spurs before Kulusevski rounded up the scoring for the Champions League hopefuls. 

The 4-1 result proved to be Spurs’ biggest Premier League opening day victory ever and the first time since 1994 that they’ve netted four goals on matchday one as they put the rest of the league on high alert. 

Brighton humble new Manchester United boss Erik ten Haag 

Only once before today had Manchester United lost their opening Premier League game when playing at Old Trafford, a 2-1 defeat to Swansea City back in 2014 (W13, D3). 

That loss came in manager Louis van Gaal’s first match in charge of the club and it proved to be a case of double dutch this weekend as new boss Erik ten Haag also suffered a 2-1 opening day loss to Brighton

A first-half double from German midfielder Pascal Gross, his fifth and sixth top-flight goals versus United - his most against any club during his career - sent the Red Devils into the break dejected as boos rang out around the ground. 

In the process, Brighton also became the first side not in the 'Big Six' to be 2-0 up at half-time in a Premier League game at Old Trafford since Newcastle in October 2018 - a match United ironically went on to win 3-2.  

There was no such fightback this time around though, even if a comical Brighton own goal did slash their lead to just one goal as the visitors recorded their first victory in 15 attempts at Old Trafford (D2, L12 previously).

Gross undoubtedly stole the headlines with his brace but former United man Danny Welbeck proved unplayable at times throughout. The forward added to his assist for the opening goal by winning 10 duels, recording five shots, completing four dribbles and making three chances - all match-high figures as Graham Potter’s side grabbed a deserved victory.  

MORE: How Ten Hag explained Man United loss

Haaland star of the show for City

In what proved to be a fine opening day performance and win for current Premier League title holders Manchester City, it was new signing Erling Haaland who stole the limelight after bagging a pair of goals on his debut

With two cool finishes, the first coming from the penalty spot after he was fouled by Hammers goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, the Norwegian became the first City player to bag a top-flight brace on his debut since Aguero. 

That was also his 41st brace during his club career to date, despite him only still being 22-years-old. 

Though he couldn’t become the first player to score a hat-trick on his PL debut since Fabrizio Ravanelli for Middlesbrough back in 1996 much to his annoyance as seen through his expletive Sky Sports interview after the game, there’ll be plenty more to come from Haaland in the near future in City colours. 

Premier League 2022/23 TV channels, live streams

  UK USA Canada Australia
TV channel Sky Sports, BT Sport USA Network, Telemundo, Universo
Streaming NOW TV, Sky Go, Amazon Prime fuboTV, Peacock fuboTV Optus Sport

UK: Matches are carried across Sky Sports and BT Sport streaming and TV platforms, with select matches on Amazon Prime.

USA: Select matches are televised on USA Network (English) and Telemundo or Universo (Spanish), and all three channels can be streamed on fuboTV. The rest of the matches are streamed on NBC platform Peacock for subscribers.

Canada: Every Premier League game streams live and on demand exclusively via fuboTV.

Australia: Fans in Australia can stream matches live and on demand on Optus Sport

Author(s)
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Nathan Evans is a data editor for The Sporting News.
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