Last season Manchester United unveiled a new manager in David Moyes and in his first Premier League match in charge of the Red Devils he say his side thump Swansea 4-1 i South Wales.
Fast forward 12 months United unveil another new manager and once again Swansea were his first opponents as Swansea travelled to Old Trafford for Louis van Gaal’s first competitive game in charge.
But LVG was left with the same feeling that Moyes had last season as his new side exhibited many of the same failings from last season, as they lost 2-1 at home to Swansea.
“It is very disappointing that we have lost our first home match,” said Van Gaal, who handed competitive debuts to 20-year-old Tyler Blackett and 21-year-old Jesse Lingard. “We were very nervous in the 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.”
Gylfi Sigurdsson, back at Swansea after two years at Tottenham Hotspur, gave his side victory by squeezing a shot past United goalkeeper David de Gea in the 72nd minute after Wayne Routledge miscued a volley. Sigurdsson had earlier teed up Korea Republic midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng to stroke home a 28th-minute opener, before new United captain Wayne Rooney hooked in an equaliser for the injury-ravaged hosts.
“We have been working hard in pre-season on defensive shape and we can get even better at that,” Swansea manager Garry Monk told BT Sport. “But there were pleasing signs in the way we stuck together and the goals we scored against a side of Manchester United’s resources.”
New signing Brede Hangeland gave Palace a 35th-minute lead, shrugging off the attentions of Arsenal star signing Alexis Sanchez to meet Jason Puncheon’s in-swinging corner with a glancing header. Laurent Koscielny was caught napping by Hangeland’s dart to the near post, but the Arsenal centre-back atoned in first-half injury time by ghosting in to head home a teasing free-kick from Sanchez.
Palace had Jason Puncheon sent off for two bookable offences and Arsenal capitalised in the 91st minute when Ramsey notched from close range after Julian Speroni had saved from Mathieu Debuchy.
Ramsey was not the only one scoring late on the opening day of the new season. Chris Wood came off the bench to earn promoted Leicester City a dramatic 2-2 draw at home to Everton in their first top-flight game since 2004. After Leicester’s summer signing Leonardo Ulloa had cancelled out Aiden McGeady’s precise 20th-minute opener, Steven Naismith looked to have given Everton victory, only for Wood to fire home four minutes from time.
Eric Dier enjoyed a dream debut for Tottenham by scoring a 93rd-minute winner at West Ham United in manager Mauricio Pochettino’s first game at the Spurs helm. After Spurs full-back Kyle Naughton and West Ham centre-back James Collins had both been sent off, substitute Dier coolly rounded goalkeeper Adrian in stoppage time before rolling home the game’s only goal.
At The Hawthorns, meanwhile, new West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Irvine was denied victory against Sunderland by an 85th-minute goal from Sebastian Larsson. West Brom led 2-1 after Saido Berahino replied to Lee Cattermole’s early 25-yard strike with a brace, but Larsson earned Sunderland a 2-2 draw by sweeping home a cut-back from debutant Patrick van Aanholt.
James Chester’s 52nd-minute header gave Hull City a 1-0 win at promoted Queens Park Rangers, while Andreas Weimann earned Aston Villa a 1-0 victory at Stoke City.