Arsenal set Premier League record after another conceded goal in first minute

  • Arsenal have conceded within the opening minute of three matches in 2023
  • Fulham's Andreas Pereira gave the visitors a lead against Arsenal after 57 seconds on Saturday
  • Southampton and Bournemouth also made fast starts against the Gunners last season
Arsenal fell behind in the first minute against Fulham for the third time in 2023
Arsenal fell behind in the first minute against Fulham for the third time in 2023 / Julian Finney/GettyImages

According to James Bond: "Once is happenstance. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is enemy action."

Arsenal's enemies have made a habit of striking early. Andreas Pereira's 57-second opener for Fulham was the third goal that Arsenal have conceded in the first minute of a match in 2023. No other team in Premier League history has ever stumbled so early, so often in a single calendar year. There are still four months of 2023 left.

Mikel Arteta bounced into the 2023/24 season with the goal of keeping opposition teams on their toes. "The idea is to be more unpredictable every year," Arsenal manager declared in pre-season, "to become more difficult for the opponents to stop and nullify what we want to do. That’s what we have now, especially at the back and in the midfield."

Yet, fans making the trip to the Emirates Stadium have come to expect slow starts. Arsenal's three early concessions have arrived across the club's last nine home league matches, with opponents barely waiting for Louis Dunford's pre-match hymn, The Angel, to finish.

The alterations Arteta has made with an eye for unpredictability have seemed to befuddle his own players rather than the opposition. For the third time this season, Thomas Partey lined up at right-back.

Pep Guardiola's original aim when shifting his full-backs into midfield - a tactic that Arteta's former boss popularised with Bayern Munich before transferring it to Manchester City - was to prevent counter-attacks. Yet, when Bukayo Saka shanked a backwards pass into Pereira's stride on Saturday afternoon, Partey was lingering around in his familiar central midfield role, in no position at all to hamper Fulham's forward thrust.

Oleksandr Zinchenko, as he emphatically demonstrated after replacing Partey ten minutes into the second half, has a far greater grasp of the hybrid role. A persistent calf injury ruined pre-season for the former City player and Arteta has been reluctant to rush him back. With Jurrien Timber, a versatile defender comfortable inverting, also injured, Arteta's options have been limited.

Even with Zinchenko in the team, no formation can guard against gross negligence. Aaron Ramsdale's wayward pass - aimed towards Zinchenko - was cut out by Southampton's Carlos Alcaraz last April, who stuffed the ball he had stolen into the bottom corner after 28 seconds.

Every Premier League goal Arsenal have conceded in the first minute in 2023







Philip Billing

9 seconds



Carlos Alcaraz

28 seconds



Andreas Pereira

57 seconds

While Southampton capitalised upon an unforced error, Bournemouth arrived at the Emirates with a plan to strike early back in March.

The Cherries have a history of constructing pre-worked routines from kick off. Dominic Solanke's goal six seconds into the second half of a match against Fulham in December 2021 sparked a viral craze. The likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain copied a routine drawn up by Scott Parker but his successor, Gary O'Neil, had a scheme of his own.

In exactly 9.11 seconds, Bournemouth rattled off three passes as they swept down Arsenal's right flank. Arteta's first-choice back four began the contest but appeared to leave Dango Ouattara's cross for one another, watching it trickle into the path of a grateful Philip Billing.

Arsenal may have made a habit of falling behind, but they didn't lose any of the matches in which they trailed after 60 seconds.

It took a dramatic 97th-minute winner from Reiss Nelson to complete the comeback against Bournemouth while late goals from Martin Odegaard (88th minute) and Bukayo Saka (90th) rescued a point against Southampton.

The Gunners looked to have rectified their early misstep with time to spare in Saturday's match against Fulham. Saka converted a penalty shortly before Eddie Nketiah stabbed Arsenal in front after 72 minutes but the Gunners were punished for another lapse in concentration, leaving Joao Palhinha unmarked to sweep the ten men of Fulham level late on.

"We go 2-1 up and you have to defend for your life, you cannot concede the goal after everything we have done," Arteta lamented post-game. "We should have scored five, six, seven [goals]." Perhaps they should also consider keeping the ball out of their own net for at least the first 60 seconds.