(The opening match of the Barclays Premier League 2014-15 begins with Manchester United taking on Swansea City at Old Trafford. Catch all the live updates here.)
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s winner made sure that United started their Barclays Premier League campaign under Louis van Gaal on a bad note. Wayne Rooney scored a brilliant goal to equalize the score 1-1 but Gylfi’s goal made sure that the first match ended in a shock. Ki Sung-Yeung scored the opening goal of the Premier League as it turned out to be a day of shock at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s homes stadium.
Full-Time: Scoreline MANCHESTER UNITED 1-2 SWANSEA CITY Manchester United gave a dismal performance,. barring the Rooney goal watering down all expectations that fans had of the van Gaal era. Unfortunately, their poor defense and offense proved to be their undoing. Can van Gaal do a Arsene Wenger of last season where after a dismal opening Arsenal bounced back to go top of the table? Of course, he has to sustain it throughout the year then unlike the “specialist of failure.”
94′: United make a last ditch effort as there is a flurry of activity in the Swansea penalty area. But Swansea’s great defense is holding up great. There is a minor scare as Rangel’s hand is hit.
90′: Four minutes added to Stoppage Time. Will that be enough? They need to do better. Long shots by Fellaini and an ineffective Mata isn’t the answer to United’s question. Rather, it is disappointing for United fans and neutrals alike, a far cry from the Alex Ferguson era.
89′: Full Time is fast approaching but United hardly look threatening. Instead they look more frustrated, going by their long range shots and fouls. Young has just been booked now for a foul on Routledge. Manchester United have put in a disappointing performance after Rooney’s goal and till half time. But they need one magic moment to turn the tides.
83′: Manchester United are finding it difficult to penetrate the Swansea defense but they now have a corner which mishit by Fellaini. Later Blackett is booked for a foul on Swansea’s Gomis. There are quite a few bookings in this match. United need to get their act together. Their slow passing doesn’t justify the urgency of getting a good result. Now Young is booked.
72′: Swansea score a GOALLLL!!!! against all odds as Gylfi Sigurdsson cores in a crowded box to put the ball past De Gea as a cross from substitute Montero is all over the box and finally goes to Gylfi who calmly puts it past the keeper. Swansea are back in contention for a surprise win, leaving van Gaal upset.
64′: Rooney is fouled by Amat as Mata and Rooney prepare to take the free-kick. Rooney takes the kick and shoots the ball into the left top corner of Fabianski’s goal but it hits the post and goes out for a corner. What a brilliant free kick but it deserved more. Rooney is getting into the groove. The corner is nothing special. After play stops again Swansea make a substitution as Montero comes in for Dyer. Fellaini replaces Herrera for Manchester United.
61′: Januzaj does another greta dribble but is a bit selfish as he tries to shoot the ball with three defenders on him. The ball goes out for a goal-kick and play resumes. Garry Monk meanwhile is planning to make a substitution. The ball is in the middle of the pitch with United in possession, strutting it around from the right to left flank..
54′: Shelvey is booked for a foul on Mata. The crowd is raucous after the goal by Rooney. This match is taking an interesting turn as United is getting their rhythm in passing. United should pass the ball to Januzaj more often. The Belgium has brilliant at times, with another good dribble.
53′: GOOAAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!! by Rooney. Wayne meets a cross by an overhead free-kick. What a brilliant goal, second only to the one against Manchester City. This is an explosive start to the season. It is Manchester United 1-1 Swansea City.After play resumes Taylor is substitued by Swansea.
49′: van Gaal has dumped his 3-4-1-2 formation in favour of 4-4-1-1 formation with Nani as left winger, Nata behind Rooney and Januzaj as right winger but will it work. It doesn’t seem like that for now. Januzaj is the chief attack
46′: Play resumes as Nani is substituted for Hernandez. Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands made some good comebacks in the World Cup. Can Manchester United repeat that? Adnan Januzaj takes a selfish shot at goal from the right but the ball is wide off the post. Manchester United have to do better than that.
HT: It is Half-Time as Ki’s first goal is the difference between the two sides. Manchester United’s first match under their new manager Luis van Gaal cannot be worse. Can United bounce back? We hope so that it happens. Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata will real show their magic spark to get United into action but that is easier said than done. Swansea’s defense has been workmen-like, thwarting all attempts towards their goal. Manchester United have had only three shots on target till now.
45′: Three minutes of extra-stoppage time before the teams go down the tunnel. Sigurrdson is fouled by Jones as the free kick is passed back by Swansea into their own half. After a few passes here and there the ball is near Manchester United’s half.
39′: Januzaj tries to run Taylor on the outside. He gets into the box but then Taylor concedes a corner with a good sliding tackle by pushing Januzaj to the right and using his left foot to tackle. Januzaj looks United’s sharpest attacker. Mata on the other hand is looking off colour for Manchester United as his free kicks and corner have hardly given opposition any nightmares.
35′: Shelvey fouls Januzaj as Mata takes the free kick. Again the free-kick fails to trouble Swansea and play is back. Manchester United are desperately missing some creativity in offense. Mata, Rooney, Januzaj and Hernandez. 34′: Rooney and Herrera try a 1-2 but the ball is off for a corner. If the score doesn’t change now this may be a nightmare of a start for Louis van Gaal and Wayne Rooney as coach and captain of United. Manchester United are back to their passing game though but will it be enough? The Swansea team have an answer to it: Play Physical!
29′: Ki Sung-Yong scores the GOAL against Manchester United against the run of play and the score is now ManUtd 0-1 Swansea. The expression on van Gaal’s face is shock. 25′: Phil Jones tries t cross but is fouled by Williams. Mata takes the free kick which is punched by Fabianski. The ball falls in front of Herrera. But he is fouled by Dyer who receives a yellow.
23′: Lingard is substitutes by Adnan Janujaz. Suddenly his debut is spoiled. 21′: Smalling is fouled and the resultant penalty is taken by Juan Mata. But the free kick does not scare the Swansea defense. 19′: Lingard goes flying into a tackle on Williams but hurts himself. He is currently recieveing treatment on the sidelines. The injury is not serious and he’s back on. He’s had a good debut till now.
17′: Manchester United are trying their best to find spaces to penetrate but Swansea are denying them that. How long can the Swansea defense hold it? 14′: Lingard fouls Taylor and it’s a free kick for Swansea. The effort is headed off by Manchester United defenders. It is still 0-0.
12′: Rooney shoots again but its an easy save for Fabianski. He can do that all without breaking a sweat. Rooney can definitely do better. United fans will agree. 11′: Nathan Dyer shoots towards goal but De Gea is there to save it. So far so good from both side with attacking play.
8′: Lingard crosses the ball from the left flank but it goes straight intoFabianski’s gloves. Lingard does that again after a minute. The right flank might be very active today. 5′: Routledge is on-side as he tries to hit an over head cross but just misses it. But Swansea are back defending as the ball goes into Swansea’s half with Manchester United’s quick passing.
2′: Wayne Rooney almost takes a shot at goal. United are playing a passing-attacking game, true to van Gaal’s style which he used at Netherlands and Barcelona. Swansea are a little more physical. 1′: It’s kick-off and Manchester United start attacking straight away. Swansea City’s Jonjo Shelvey fouls Ander Herrera. United are passing the ball well. Is David Moyes watching?
0′: The teams are training on the pitch. It is time for kick-off. Manchester United are in red with Wayne Rooney leading the line-up and David De Gea as goalkeeper. Swansea City have Ashley Williams as captain with former Arsenal goalkeeper Luckasz Fabianski wearing the gloves.
Manchester United have included three debutants, Tyler Blackett, Jesse Lingard and Ander Herrera in the starting line-up while following a 3-4-2-1 formation. It can be a masterstroke or harkiri for United in this season’s opening match against Swansea City.
Manchester United: De Gea; Jones, Smalling, Blackett; Lingard, Fletcher, Herrera, Young; Mata, Hernandez, Rooney.
Subs: Amos, M Keane, Nani, Januzaj, Fellaini, Kagawa, James.
Swansea Fabianski; Rangel, Amat, Williams, Taylor; Shelvey, Ki; Dyer, Sigurdsson, Routledge; Bony.
Subs: Gomis, Tremmel, Tiendalli, Montero, Bartley, Richards, Sheehan
The English Premier League is back and it couldn’t be more open. This will probably be the most competitive season in Premier League history, especially if all the teams can consistently perform at the highest level throughout the season. The season opener pits one of the most followed teams in the world against probably the most followed team in Wales, Manchester United and Swansea City.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had said in a press conference, “”Why I like the Premier League so much is that at this moment, nobody knows who is going to win the title.” He added, “At this moment, I think between us, Liverpool, Arsenal, Man United, Man City — who is going to be first, who is going to play in the Europa League, I don’t know.” Only the foolish will disagree with him. Manchester United will have their task cut out.
Under Louis van Gaal, Manchester United will aim to win the title and reclaim some of the glory they lost last season. Optimism about it would reach great levels if they manage to that spectacularly. van Gaal, new skipper Wayne Rooney and assistant manager Ryan Giggs can start a new era today, August 16, 2014. Over to the match.