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New Tottenham stadium: What Arsenal and Man Metropolis’s struggles inform us in regards to the grand opening

Tottenham Hotspur’s new 62,062-seater stadium finally has an opening date.

Provided they obtain the relevant safety certificates from the upcoming two test events, they will host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on April 3 and have a Champions League quarter-final first-leg against Manchester City six days later.

It’s certainly an exciting time for Spurs supporters as many have had to endure almost another full season at Wembley Stadium as well as that Carabao Cup third round tie against Watford at Stadium MK.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino has spoken about how the new stadium can be his side’s secret weapon for the remaining five games of the domestic season and for the clash against City.

But does the Argentine have a point?

Since 2000, four Premier League clubs have moved to a new stadium and two of those are Spurs’ London rivals.

West Ham United are the most recent example having left Upton Park for the Olympic Stadium at the beginning of the 2016/2017 campaign, while a decade earlier Arsenal left Highbury for the new surroundings just a few miles down the road at the Emirates Stadium.

They followed on from Southampton moving from The Dell to St Mary’s in 2001, and two years later Manchester City left Maine Road for what is now known as the Etihad Stadium.

So, will Spurs need to adjust to their new surroundings or will they

football.London has taken a look at each of the quartet’s first match inside their respective new stadiums to see what could be in store for the Lilywhites against the Eagles on April 3.


First Premier League result

Southampton’s St Mary’s stadium officially opened on 1 August 2001 with a friendly against Espanyol and it finished 4-3 to the La Liga side in a seven-goal thriller, but the first Premier League game at the new ground saw them lose 2-0 to Chelsea.

Man City were seconds away from suffering a similar fate in their first league game at the Etihad Stadium – then known at the City of Manchester Stadium – as they needed a late equaliser to rescue a point against Portsmouth.

Arsenal couldn’t buck they trend either as they came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa in August 2006.

However, West Ham United did taste victory in their first league game at the London Stadium – they also beat NK Domžale in the Europa League Third qualifying round 17 days earlier – prevailing 1-0 over Bournemouth.

Image via BBC

 

First goalscorer

Chelsea’s Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had the honour of being the first goalscorer at St Mary’s in a competitive game, while Marian Pahars was the first Saints player to score a goal in the new stadium when he netted against Aston Villa a month later.

David Sommeil wrote his name in the Man City history books by becoming the first City player to score a league goal at the new stadium in the opening home game of the 2003–04 season, cancelling out Yakubu’s goal which meant he was the first player to score a goal in the new ground.

Olof Mellberg gave Aston Villa a shock lead when he headed in from a corner after 53 minutes at the Emirates Stadium only for Gilberto Silva to equalise for the Gunners.

Again it was the Hammers showing the other trio how to settle into a new stadium. Cheikhou Kouyate was the first goalscorer in a competitive fixture and Michail Antonio was the first goalscorer in a Premier League fixture.

Gilberto equalises against Aston Villa at The Emirates Stadium (Image: Phil Cole/Getty Images)

Home form in the first season

It was a struggle for the quartet of teams in the first seasons at their respective new stadiums as they all won fewer home points than in their final season at their old ground.

West Ham and Southampton suffered the most, while City won just five of 19 home games in the 2003/04 campaign, although that include a 4-1 thrashing of bitter rivals Manchester City.

Of the four teams, three dropped a place in the league following the first season at their new ground with Arsenal the only exception as they matched their 2005/2006 fourth-placed finish.

What it could mean?

That Spurs could very well have a slow start after returning to White Hart Lane and that fans should be patient with the players as they adjust to the pitch as they atmosphere from the old site may not be replicated immediately.

They won’t want to emulate Southampton who had to wait until November 2001 to taste victory in their new stadium.

Furthermore, it’s also possible that the first goalscorer at the new stadium won’t be a Tottenham player meaning they’ll have to come from behind in order to avoid defeat at the grand opening.


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