By Andrew Embling
- Manchester United open Premier League campaign with 1-0 over Tottenham
- Goal came after 22 minutes thanks to Kyle Walker own goal
Venue: Old Trafford Attendance: 75,261
Manchester United started their Premier League season win a win as Kyle Walker’s own goal after 22 minutes gave them victory against Tottenham.
United boss Louis van Gaal was as good as his word with David de Gea left out of the squad, new signing Romero taking the goalkeeping jersey. Van Gaal also chose to give full debuts for Morgan Schneiderlin, Matteo Darmian and Memphis Depay as United employed an attacking thrust to their line-up.
It was Tottenham, though, who had the chance to score the first goal of the Premier League this season as United lost possession inside their own half and Kane found Eriksen. It looked like the Dane would find the back of the net as he got behind the United defence, but the midfielder lifted the ball over the advancing Romero and the bar.
Tottenham looked dangerous on the counter attack as they tried to take advantage of any hesitation in the United ranks with a new goalkeeper on show. And United could have found themselves behind if Kane had seen an unmarked Chadli at the back post instead of shooting for goal himself as Schneiderlin was caught in possession just outside his own penalty area.
The Londoners were in control, United still finding their feet as they struggled to get into the game in the first 15 minutes. Walker was the next Tottenham player to spurn an opportunity as he got behind Shaw, only to see Romero come out to narrow the angle and smother his effort.
But out of nowhere United took the lead. Mata intercepted the ball and found Depay in space. The Dutchman played an intelligent ball to Young who crossed for to an unmarked Rooney. The England captain had almost too much time as he took a touch, only for Walker to close him down and inadvertently roll the ball beyond Vorm into the back of the net.
The goal seemed to settle United down, some nice interplay between Depay and Rooney finding Young on the left, but the winger didn’t make the most of the opportunity. United were starting to turn the screw, Mata snatching wide at the second attempt after good work initially by Schneiderlin to break up Tottenham possession.
But United had to maintain concentration with only a slim advantage, Alderweireld stinging the hands of Romero right on the half time whistle as United went to the break leading 1-0. Tottenham made the better start after the break, Romero handling well from a dipping free kick into the box from Eriksen.
Van Gaal replaced the dependable Carrick with new signing Bastien Schweinsteiger on the hour to the acclaim of the Old Trafford faithful as the pace of the game dropped in the Manchester sunshine. Vorm was tested as United threatened to score a second, Schweinsteiger starting a move with a fine pass to Rooney, the ball eventually landing at the feet of Young who’s effort was seen late by the Tottenham stopper.
Rooney almost connected with a spectacular effort from Darmian’s cross as the Red Devils cut their opponents apart with some swift passing, but chances were at a premium as both sides dropped the tempo.
Tottenham came closest late on as Kane saw his deflected header saved by Romero, with the United keeper saving Eriksen’s shot shortly after to keep a clean sheet on debut.
It may not have been full throttle, but van Gaal will be delighted with three points on the opening day of the season.
Manchester United: Romero, Darmian (Valencia 80), Smalling, Blind, Shaw, Carrick (Schweinsteiger 60), Schneiderlin, Memphis (Herrera 68), Young, Mata, Rooney Subs: Johnstone, McNair, Pereira, Hernandez
Man of the Match: Darmian