After a heady summer of World Cup drama, waistcoats, and some actual sunshine, this weekend sees the return of domestic football, and with fans excitedly circling their opening day fixtures in the diary, a new study has revealed the UK's strongest and weakest opening day sides.
The research, done by bookmakers.tv, has revealed that despite their shock 3-2 victory over Chelsea last season at Stamford Bridge on the Premier League's opening day, Burnley boast are ranked 61st out of the 92 Football League and Premier League clubs in terms of opening match success.
With just three wins, three draws, and four losses in their last 10 opening league games, the Clarets are not notorious;y quick starters, but with their bout to kick off the Premier League this season coming against a Southampton side which finished just outside the relegation zone, manager Sean Dyche will be hoping for something more like 2012/13's 2-0 against Bolton Wanderers than 2008/09's 4-1 loss to Sheffield Wednesday.
Topping the table was Manchester City, who have claimed 25 out of the 30 available points across their last 10 opening day fixtures with eight wins - the most across the 92 clubs. Another statistical standout is Watford, who despite sitting just 17th in the overall list of teams with the best opening day records, they are the only club not to lose an opening day fixture in the last decade.
"We thought it would be interesting to analyse each club’s performance," said Phillip Trampe of bookmakers.tv. "While it’s no surprise to see both Manchester clubs and Chelsea in the top five, seeing Charlton Athletic in the top of the league table shows that the Premier League’s best teams aren’t necessarily the ones that have a good start to the season.
"After Manchester City’s 100-point haul last season, they face a difficult first game away to Arsenal, but time will tell whether they can maintain their table-topping record," he added.
With six wins, two draws and two defeats Sheffield Wednesday have the best record of any non-Premier League club, while at the other end of the spectrum, Barnsley and Bristol Rovers have struggled, Barnsley losing seven out of their last 10 opening day fixtures, and Bristol Rovers losing eight out of 10.
Premier League sides Everton and Crystal Palace both have poor records with The Eagles and The Toffees each recording two wins out of 10, while things get even worse for Newcastle who have only managed a single victory. Championship club, Norwich City hold the record for most goals conceded (26).
At the top of the table for goals scored, the most prolific clubs are Chelsea (25), Manchester City (24), Colchester (22), Manchester United (20), Coventry City (20), and Gillingham (20). Of the 92 clubs, only two are yet to play out a draw; Peterborough (six wins, four defeats) and West Ham (five wins and five defeats).
Nottingham Forest have the best defensive record with five goals conceded and are proving to be defensive powerhouses on opening day. Fans looking for an exciting start to the season should avoid matches involving Newcastle, Stoke City and Bury; each has scored just six goals across since the start of the 2008/09 season.