Skip to main content

EPL: Manchester United defeated by Swansea on opening day

August 16, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on August 16, 2014.
Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on August 16, 2014.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester United suffer 2-1 defeat to Swansea City on EPL opening day
  • Goals from Ki Sung Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson ensure victory for Swans
  • Wayne Rooney scores overhead kick but United fail to inspire

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- It was billed as a bright new beginning.

But in the end Manchester United's opening day fixture of the EPL season bore all the hallmarks of its recent troubled past as Swansea City upset Louis Van Gaal's side to win 2-1 at Old Trafford Saturday.

Goals from Ki Sung Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson either side of a spectacular Wayne Rooney overhead kick ensured the Swans were full value for the three points.

Apart from a Rooney free-kick that cracked the post midway through the second half, United rarely threatened or looked like a side capable of getting its league campaign off to a winning start.

"It is very disappointing that we have lost our first home match," Van Gaal told BT Sport in his post game interview.

Lampard: Leaving Chelsea now feels right
Lampard determined to make mark on MLS
Germany's rebuilt team may win World Cup

"We didn't reach the level we can play at. That is disappointing because we have done it much better and when you cannot do it in your first home match that is disappointing, especially for the fans."

The feelgood factor had seemed to have returned to United since Van Gaal's appointment earlier in the summer.

A busy pre-season witnessed promising victories over Liverpool, Roma, Valencia and Real Madrid.

But Saturday's performance had more in common with last year's disastrous campaign under David Moyes which saw the Red Devils finish seventh, their lowest placing in Premier League history.

"We were very nervous in first half, made the wrong choices and that is a pity. In the second half we never played as a team, therefore I'm responsible," Van Gaal continued.

"We had more chances than Swansea but that shall say nothing about the result. It is the goals that count.

"I thought we would win (when the scores were tied at 1-1 in the second half) but because we are not playing as a team in the second half we made the wrong decisions going forward."

Van Gaal intimated later in an interview with MUTV that there would be further signings arriving at Old Trafford before the transfer window slams shut at the end of August.

Judging by this performance, the prospective new arrivals can't arrive soon enough.

United began with a 3-5-2 system similar to that employed by Van Gaal's Dutch side at the World Cup earlier this summer before switching to a 4-4-1-1 as the game progressed.

There were competitive debuts to new $48 million midfield signing Ander Herrera and 20-year-old center half Tyler Blackett.

Newly installed captain Wayne Rooney led the line alongside Javier Hernandez with Robin Van Persie still missing after he was given extended holiday to recover from his World Cup exertions.

Like many a visitor to Old Trafford, Swansea sat in deep and attempted to play on the break.

It was a tactic that would work to perfection as United pressed and dominated possession but produced few goal-scoring opportunities.

Ki was a standout in midfield for Swansea while Ashley Williams was his usual commanding self at the back, organizing when required and reading the game exceptionally well.

"We have been working hard in pre-season on defensive shape and we can get even better at that but there were pleasing signs in the way we stuck together and the goals we scored against a side of Manchester United's resources," said Swansea manager Gary Monk.

"We have worked on the mentality side of things so that even when things go against us we continue to believe in what we are doing."

Having lost a raft of key players over the summer, including Chico Flores, Michel Worm and Ben Davies, many observers had questioned whether Swansea would be relegation candidates.

With more solid, mature performances like this over the coming season such predictions will be made to look badly placed.

Read: Who will win the English Premier League?

Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.