Well the season opener against Swansea was not the great comeback fans of the Red Devils had hoped for. We had hoped for a thumping win, which would act as a spring board for the improved season we were going to have.
However, a few records we broken at Old Trafford on Saturday… firstly, it was United’s first opening-day loss at home since 1972! Secondly, it was the Swans first ever league win at Manchester United. So much for fortress Old Trafford! Not to mention it means the Van Gaal era starts with a defeat.
Not the opening result we had hoped for. Will it be more of the same this season? Will we end up looking back to last year’s seventh place affectionately? I know people will say I need to give him time but does anyone remember a guy called David Moyes? No one gave him time either, apparently.
The new Dutch manager received an enthusiastic applause from the home fans before the game but by the end people were leaving early. However, the good feeling did not last as very early in the first half it was obvious that there were large gaps forming between Chris Smalling in the centre of the defensive three with Tyler Blackett and Phil Jones to his left and right. When the Swans had the ball the three looked vulnerable and Garry Monk’s men looked to stretch them at every opportunity.
Ki Sung-yueng put the ball past de Gea on the 28th minute as Phil Jones got in the way of Wilfried Bony and I would like to say it was undeserved but the Swans really deserved the lead. No one gave Garry Monk’s team much of a chance after selling Chico Flores and Ben Davis in the summer but they worked hard.
At half time Nani was brought on to replace Javi Hernandez and the Red Devils changed to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Ashley Young and Phil Jones were moved to full back and the team immediately looked more dangerous. United were right back in it but despite possession topping 60% it was not until the 53rd minute that Wayne Rooney, who was preferred to Robin van Persie as captain, was able to get the ball past Fabianski to make it one-all. Perhaps the half time visit of Open champion and United fan Rory McIIroy had helped to inspire the troops.
Then came the hammer blow in the 72nd minute when there was confusion in the box and new Swansea signing Gylfi Sigurdsson was able to slip in and put a second goal past the United keeper. The Red Devils besieged the Swans goal but despite 14 shots on goal (to Swansea’s 5) they held out to claim an historic win. To top off the bad result Ashley Young and Tyler Blackett were given late bookings as Manchester United desperately searched for the equaliser.
So, what can conclusions can we draw from the opening game of the season? It was a disaster as far as the result is concerned. However, it was only one game and we should remember that… one game does not make a season. Hang on… I remember thinking that last year!