Top 5 Leeds United opening days as 2022/2023 Premier League season kicks off with a fixture against Wolves at Elland Road
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After opening proceedings with games at holding champions Liverpool and then Manchester United in the last two seasons, Whites fans pleasantly surprised by Thursday's Premier League fixture release, learning that Leeds will begin their next campaign with a match against less challenging opponents.
In the equivalent fixture last season, rising star Joe Gelhardt stepped off the bench to earn a late penalty for Leeds which was scored by Rodrigo to cancel Hwang Hee-chan's early opener then in March, the Whites pulled off an epic comeback to beat 10-man Wolves 3-2 after trailing by two at the break at Molineux.
Having picked up the pieces of a struggling side and guided them to safety, Leeds manager Jesse Marsch will look to plant a flag in the ground and show the Elland Road faithful the fruits of a summer of development on Saturday August 6.
Here are five times United made a statement on the opening day of the season:
Leeds United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Saturday August 18, 2012
After dropping out of the Premier League the previous season, Wolves travelled to Elland Road hoping to hit the ground running against a Whites side in the moment of transition. Under Neil Warnock, the United squad had undergone a complete overhaul in the summer and the Yorkshireman opted to fill a whopping eight of his eleven starting places with players who had never kicked a ball for Leeds before. It paid off. The hosts dominated completely, though only Luciano Becchio's 17th-minute goal - provided by Ross McCormack - was the difference at the final whistle.
Leeds United 3-1 Stoke City, Sunday August 5 2018
Fresh from Premier League relegation, Stoke City were favourites to win the league and their campaign to bounce straight back up to the top flight began at Elland Road. Whites fans watched on in amazement as the Potters were given a thorough schooling by a group of players who looked utterly transformed by the arrival of new United boss Marcelo Bielsa. Six different members of the Whites squad provided goals and assists as Leeds put in an astonishing team performance to claim a 3-1 win and set the tone for a remarkable era for the club.
Everton 2 - 3 Leeds United, Saturday August 25th 1990
If Leeds were apprehensive about returning to the top flight after eight seasons in the second tier, their consternation will only have grown to discover their first opponents were a side who had registered four top-four finishes in the previous six seasons, and twice taken the Football League title in very recent memory. Everton had top-drawer First Division credentials, but Leeds made them look silly at Goodison Park - within minutes, the visitors were ahead and at half-time Howard Wilkinson's side held a comfortable 3-0 lead. The Toffees clawed back two goals late in the game but Leeds held on to make a brilliant statement of intent on their return to the First Division.
Leeds United 3-1 Everton, Saturday August 25 1973
The Whites were looking to dust themselves down after ending a season of expectation with their worst league position in four years and runners up medals for the FA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup. United boss Don Revie remedied suggestions of his side's decline by challenging his players to end the season undefeated, a managerial masterstroke as motivation ran like fire through Leeds' veins on the opening day. An early goal by skipper Billy Bremner put Leeds in control but the hosts had to wait until midway through the second half for Johnny Giles and Mick Jones to make it 3-0. A late Toffees consolation couldn't take the shine off a brilliant start to a title-winning campaign.
Leeds United 1-0 Derby County, Saturday August 7 2004
Hope, reassurance, entertainment - the Elland Road faithful sought all these things as they made their way down to LS11 on the opening day of their first season in the second tier for fourteen years. Amid financial crisis, the cloud of a second successive relegation loomed ominously, but Kevin Blackwell's first game in charge soothed anxieties - somewhat. A beautiful strike by Frazer Richardson gave the new-look Leeds the lead and Whites shot-stopper Neil Sullivan, one of seven debutants, made a vital save in injury-time to preserve all three points for the hosts.