Leicester City

Five Memorable Opening Day Fixtures

Assessing how the Foxes have fared on the opening day of previous seasons, ahead of the 2024/25 Premier League fixtures being released on Tuesday.

Leicester City boast a strong first-fixture record in recent campaigns and, rewinding back through the years, have been part of several memorable battles in both the Premier League and Championship…

Leicester City 2 Coventry City 1
Sunday
6 August, 2023
King Power Stadium

Goals: Dewsbury-Hall 77’, 87’; McFadzean 47’

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Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

The Foxes' hero against the Sky Blues.

The fixture schedule threw up a clash with Midlands rivals Coventry City for the Club’s first Sky Bet Championship encounter in almost a decade. The Sky Blues aimed to bounce back from the disappointment of losing the Play-Off Final on penalties less than three months earlier, while Leicester were adjusting to second tier football following relegation.

The maiden M69 derby of the campaign produced a raucous atmosphere on Filbert Way and the action didn’t disappoint. The Foxes fell behind early in the second half to a Kyle McFadzean header and needed a spark from somewhere to ignite the season. Academy graduate Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall provided it, equalising with 77 minutes on the clock when he met Dennis Praet’s inch-perfect cross with a controlled header of his own.

Not done there, he produced the winner even later in the piece, calmly finding the top corner after receiving Stephy Mavididi’s pass, ensuring local bragging rights remained in Leicestershire. The first game of the title-winning season, it set the tone for what was to come.  

Leicester City 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
Saturday 14 August, 2021
King Power Stadium

Goal: Vardy 41’

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Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy

City's No.9 with the only goal on Filbert Way.

Opening day Premier League meetings with Wolves have been fairly commonplace over the past few years and the fixture computer drew up another meeting between the Midlands pair at the beginning of 2021/22.

Buoyed by the support of the Blue Army on Filbert Way, the season kicked off in positive fashion, seven days on from FA Community Shield success over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium. Shortly before half-time, Jamie Vardy flicked the ball into the net after fine work from Ricardo Pereira.

That made it 1-0 and the scoreline stayed that way to secure a winning start - and clean sheet for Kasper Schmeichel at the start of his final campaign at King Power Stadium. It’s the Foxes’ last opening day Premier League success and came in a season which ended with an eighth-place finish.

Leicester City 4 Sunderland 2
Saturday 8 August, 2015
King Power Stadium
Goals: Vardy 11, Mahrez 18’, (pen) 25, Albrighton 66; Defoe 60, Fletcher 71

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Shinji Okazaki, Riyad Mahrez & Jamie Vardy
Shinji Okazaki, Riyad Mahrez & Jamie Vardy

What a trio.

This victory over Sunderland provided the foundation for a remarkable title win. Under new Manager Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes started the season with a dominant performance in which they scored three times in the space of 15 minutes.

Vardy’s opener was the first of his 24 Premier League goals that term, while a double from Riyad Mahrez set him on the way to 17 strikes. The Algerian would register a further 11 assists to help his side take the sporting world by storm.

Jermain Defoe pulled a goal back for Sunderland, but Marc Albrighton’s low finish made it 4-1, before Steven Fletcher scored what proved to be a consolation goal for the Black Cats. Ranieri's side went on to win at West Ham United a week later and would remain unbeaten until the end of September. Leicester were crowned champions of England 35 league fixtures later.

Middlesbrough 1 Leicester City 2
Saturday 3 August, 2013
Riverside Stadium
Goals: St Ledger (o.g.) 35; Drinkwater 60, Vardy 67

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Jamie Vardy & David Nugent
Jamie Vardy & David Nugent

Finding the winner in Teesside.

Following a dramatic Play-Off Semi-Final defeat to Watford three months earlier, Leicester City were aiming to begin their latest promotion bid with a positive result and that’s exactly what happened at Riverside Stadium.

Despite falling behind to an unfortunate first-half own goal from Republic of Ireland centre-back Sean St Ledger, Danny Drinkwater restored parity with a strike from outside the box and Vardy soon added his name to the scoresheet to the turn the game on its head. His smart finish sealed three points on the opening day of a sensational 2013/14 campaign.

Under the management of Nigel Pearson, the Foxes went on to win the Championship by nine points, losing just six league fixtures all season and returning to the Premier League for the first time in 10 years.

Manchester United 2 Leicester City 2
Saturday 15 August, 1998
Old Trafford
Goals: Sheringham 79’, Beckham 90’; Heskey 7’, Cottee 76’

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Tony Cottee
Tony Cottee

One of the Foxes' goalscorers at Old Trafford.

A daunting trip to the Theatre of Dreams was the curtain-raiser for the 1998/99 season, but despite an admirable result, City would have been disappointed not to take all three points. Following Emile Heskey's early opener, his strike partner Tony Cottee got on the end of Robbie Savage's cross to make it 2-0 to the Foxes with less than a quarter of an hour to play.

Cottee in fact opened his Leicester account in the same fixture during the previous season, netting the only goal as Martin O’Neill’s men stunned the champions at Old Trafford. Eight months on, and Cottee was back on the scoring trail in Manchester.

However, late efforts from Teddy Sheringham and David Beckham - the latter producing a stoppage-time free-kick - denied the visitors a famous victory. Still, City managed to finish inside the Premier League’s top 10 for the third successive season.

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