Manchester City put down an early marker of their ambitions for the season by beating Blackburn Rovers away from home as title favourites Chelsea left it late to overcome Hull City on the opening day of the Premier League season.
Arsenal fired a warning to any critics doubting their title credentials with an emphatic 6-1 victory at a woeful Everton.
New boys Wolves and Burnley suffered 2-0 defeats against West Ham and Stoke City respectively, while Aston Villa surprisingly lost by the same scoreline against Wigan Athletic.
Portsmouth look set for a difficult season after losing at home to Fulham and Sunderland's campaign got off to a winning start after a narrow success at Bolton Wanderers.
Didier Drogba scored a lucky injury-time winner as Chelsea overcame stubborn resistance from Hull City to secure a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.
Stephen Hunt marked his debut by putting the Tigers in front on 28 minutes, but Drogba fired home a free-kick to equalise before half-time and the Ivory Coast striker's attempted cross crept inside the far post to claim the points at the death.
Arsenal enjoyed a dream start to the new season as Cesc Fabregas ran the show in a brilliant 6-1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park.
Denilson opened the scoring for the Gunners on 26 minutes before Thomas Vermaelan and William Gallas were both left unmarked to head home free-kicks.
Fabregas made it 4-0 to Arsenal just three minutes after half-time and the Spaniard added another on 69 minutes with a low shot from 25 yards before Eduardo tapped home a late sixth. Louis Saha scored a late consolation.
Mark Hughes enjoyed a happy return to Ewood Park as Manchester City scored at the start and end of the match to beat Blackburn Rovers 2-0.
City's goal after just three minutes arrived on the back of some desperate defending on their own line with the visitors then breaking upfield before debutant Emmanuel Adebayor smacked a thumping effort past Paul Robinson.
With Rovers pressing for an equaliser, City broke in the final minute and, after taking his time, Stephen Ireland eventually slipped the ball inside the post.
Burnley were given an early warning of the difference between the Championship and the Premier League following a 2-0 defeat by Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.
Ryan Shawcross headed the Potters in front on 19 minutes and a trademark Rory Delap throw-in provided the second on 33 minutes as Burnley defender Stephen Jordan nodded the ball past his own keeper.
Wolves endured a disappointing return to the Premier League as West Ham scored a goal in each half in a 2-0 victory at Molineux.
Mark Noble curled home a sublime opening goal for the Hammers midway through the first half and Matthew Upson made sure of the points with a 69th minute header.
Aston Villa were booed off at the end of their first game of the season after crashing to a 2-0 defeat at home to Wigan.
Wigan twice came close to taking the lead when Charles N'Zogbia struck the post and Hugo Rodallega's header was cleared off the line by James Milner in an incident likely to spark the technology debate again.
There were no doubts over the Latics' opener on 31 minutes, though, as Rodallega beat Brad Friedel with a stunning volley and Jason Koumas slotted home the second 11 minutes after half-time.
Darren Bent made an instant repayment on his club record transfer fee by scoring the only goal as Sunderland beat Bolton 1-0 at the Reebok Stadium.
Bent, signed from Tottenham Hotspur, rose at the far post to head home a deep cross after just five minutes to give Steve Bruce a winning start to his reign as Black Cats manager.
Fulham ensured there will not be such a long wait for an away win this season as Roy Hodgson's men posted a 1-0 win at troubled Portsmouth.
The only goal came after just 13 minutes when Clint Dempsey's drive from 25 yards took a wicked deflection off Bobby Zamora and left Pompey keeper David James with no chance.