What was supposed to be a swansong for Manchester United’s new manager Louis van Gaal turned out to be a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Swansea in their opening match of the Barclays Premier League 2014-15 at Old Trafford. Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the winner after Ki Sung-Yeung opened the scoring and Wayne Rooney equalized with a brilliant bicycle kick.
Goals: Manchester United 1-2 Swansea City
(Rooney 53′) (Ki 28′, Sigurdsson 72′)
Nobody really dominated the match. If any tea came close to dominating proceedings it was Manchester United with the passing game. Here are some statistics. Manchester United dominated possession with 60% of the ball taking 14 shots with five on target while earning five corners compared to Swansea’s 40%, five, four and zero respectively. Yet, it was Swansea whose shots on target mattered with two going past a hapless De Gea. It was a sad reminder, or rather replay, of the way Manchester United played in last season’s dismal campaign.
Making matters worse was Mata’s lacklustre performance who failed to trouble the defense or the Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski with his free-kicks and corners. The only free-kick that troubled the Polish goalkeeper was that of the Manchester United captain, Wayne Rooney.
Swansea, on the other hand, defended brilliantly to keep the Manchester United attack at bay. Louis van Gaal who started the game with a 3-4-1-2 formation had to shift to the 4-4-1-1 formation in the second half after Hernandez proved ineffective and almost invisible throughout the half.
The Red Devil fans will hope that their team will not repeat their abysmal performance and rather mimic or do better than Arsenal’s performances last season when they lost their opening match 3-1 against Aston Villa but bounced back to go top of the table during Christmas. Of course, they will have to sustain their performances over the entire season, unlike Arsenal who collapsed almost spectacularly in the second half of the tournament. Regardless of that, Manchester United have some soul searching to do.
Possession: Manchester United 60%-40% Swansea
Shots: Manchester United 14-5 Swansea
Shots on Target: Manchester United 5-4 Swansea
Yellow Cards: Manchester United (Blackett, Young) 2-4 Swansea (Taylor, Dyer, Shelvey, Ki)