Leicester City’s past Premier League
Opening Days: Part One
Les Ferdinand scored in Leicester City's opening day clash with Southampton in 2003 | Photo: Getty/ Clive Brunskill

Leicester City travel to the Hawthorns on Sunday to take on West Bromwich Albion in what is the Foxes’ first Premier League clash of the 2020/21 campaign.

The game itself also signals the beginning of the East-Midlanders’ 15th season in the Premier League. How have the club performed in the past on the opening day of a campaign? We take a look between 1994 and 2004…

Back-to-back North East clashes

It took until the 1994/95 season for Leicester to get their first taste of Premier League football and the Foxes were given a home game against Newcastle United. It wasn’t to be for the hosts as goals from Andy Cole, Peter Beardsley and Robbie Elliott earned the visitors a 3-1 victory despite Julian Joachim netting a late consolation.

Following relegation and a subsequent promotion, another North-East side were then waiting for the Foxes as they travelled to Roker Park to face Sunderland. There were no goals this time around as the sides ground out a 0-0 draw.

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First win comes at third attempt

Leicester’s first opening day win in the Premier League came in their third season in the competition against Aston Villa. Having secured UEFA Cup football the season prior, Martin O’Neill’s men went up against Europe-chasing Villa at Filbert Street and enjoyed a perfect start to the campaign thanks to Ian Marshall’s 37th minute strike.

They could even have followed that up in 1998 with another highly impressive victory as a trip to the Theatre of Dreams presented itself. Goals from Tony Cottee and Emile Heskey put the visitors into a dream position before Teddy Sheringham and David Beckham intervened late on to ensure that the points were shared.

Leicester rounded off the 90s with another tough assignment as they travelled to North London and Highbury. Despite once again taking the lead through Cottee, the Foxes were to be denied as Dennis Bergkamp equalised before a Frank Sinclair own goal in final minute condemned them to defeat.

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Opening day not kind to Leicester

With O’Neill departing for Celtic in the off season before the 2000/01 campaign, there was understandably some trepidation. Reacquainting themselves with Villa at home, the Foxes weren’t quite able to edge past their Midlands rivals this time around as the scores ended 0-0.

Arguably the worst opening day result and indeed season in Leicester City’s Premier League history came just a year later as newly promoted Bolton Wanderers travelled to the East Midlands. The Foxes infamously fell to a heavy defeat as Kevin Nolan and Per Frandsen both hit braces, with Michael Ricketts also getting his name on the scoresheet.

Following a season back in the Championship, Leicester’s return to the top-flight in the 2003/04 season looked to be going swimmingly. Playing Southampton, Paul Dickov netted a penalty and Les Ferdinand scored a great header to make it 2-0 but yet another late show on the opening day saw victory snatched away. Future Foxes’ frontman Kevin Phillips scored a great goal before James Beattie equalised with just ten minutes remaining.

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