Opener shock as Manchester United loses to Swansea
Arsenal and Tottenham register stoppage time victories on first day of the Premier League
New season, new manager — same misery at Manchester United.
Louis van Gaal failed to usher in the bright new era expected at United on Saturday, watching in frustration as the team opened the season with a home loss for the first time in 42 years.
The 20-time champions slumped to a 2-1 loss against Swansea, a team even David Moyes managed to beat comfortably a year earlier at the start of his short-lived reign.
But the hosts lacked organisation in defence at Old Trafford, allowing Gylfi Sigurdsson to score the winner from close range in the 72nd minute after United captain Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick canceled out Ki Sung-yeung’s opener.
In Van Gaal, United hired a proven manager who has won titles at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. But the Dutch coach was given a clear indication of just how difficult it will be to turn a team that finished seventh in May into top-four finishers again.
“It’s a very bad day for us ... we didn’t play as a team,” Van Gaal said. “I saw a lot of players looking very nervous, making the wrong choices and that is a pity.”
Meanwhile, managerless Crystal Palace’s week took another turn for the worse when they conceded a stoppage-time goal in a 2-1 defeat at Arsenal.
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey pounced as the clock moved past 90 minutes to complete a comeback win for the Gunners who had trailed after 35 minutes to a Brede Hangeland header.
It was a victorious opening day in a new job for Mauricio Pochettino, whose Tottenham side won 1-0 at West Ham after debutant Eric Dier scored in stoppage time.
There were mixed fortunes for the Premier League newcomers. Queens Park Rangers, which made an instant return to the topflight, lost 1-0 at home to Hull. But Leicester, which has been away from the elite for a decade, earned a point by drawing 2-2 with Everton. Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion, who both flirted with relegation last season, opened the new campaign by drawing 2-2. Aston Villa, whose owner Randy Lerner is trying to sell the club, began with a 1-0 win at Stoke.
Van Gaal said his team had felt tense in the first half, feeling the pressure to deliver. But Rooney dragged the hosts back into the game, hooking the ball over his head from Phil Jones’ flick-on in the 53rd.
United couldn’t produce a second, with Rooney sending a free kick against the goal frame, and Sigurdsson was able to bundle the ball over the line after Jefferson Montero’s cross wasn’t cleared.