BPL Recap: United fall in van Gaal’s Premier League managerial debut, Rambo to the rescue, more

IMAGE, MANUTD.COM

By MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

New season. New manager. Same result.

Manchester United struggled in their opener at Old Trafford against Swansea in Louis van Gaal‘s managerial debut. Some United supporters may have been having flashbacks or nightmares, yes nightmares, of David Moyes’ reign as Red Devils manager in their 2-1 loss. It was the Welsh club’s second ever victory at Old Trafford after a third round FA Cup match last season. It was also United’s first opening day home loss since 1972.

Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s 72nd minute goal was the difference. After Jefferson Montero whipped in a cross, a falling Wayne Routledge was able to play the ball into the Icelandic midfielder’s path for the finish.

Swansea took the lead just before the half hour mark through Ki Sung-Yueng. Sigurdsson played the role of provider, playing a ball through to the South Korean, who curled in a left-footed strike from 20 yards out.

Wayne Rooney scored to level the match in the 53rd minute. The United captain finished from close-range after a Phil Jones header at the near post.

While it wasn’t the start the Red Devils would have wanted, it’s not all doom and gloom. United should feel more comfortable in the new set-up the more games they play and will also look stronger when a few key players return from injury, namely Robin van Persie and Johnny Evans.

Other Premier League Results

1. Ramsey’s late goal seals victory for Arsenal– It was nervy for Arsenal, but they eventually pulled it out against Crystal Palace in a 2-1 win.

It was Aaron Ramsey‘s stoppage time winner that lifted Arsenal to the opening day victory. After a few headers in the Palace box, the ball fell to debutant Mathieu Debuchy. His effort was blocked, but Ramsey was able to put in the rebound giving Arsenal all three points.

Brede Hangeland with his first goal in 98 Premier League matches glanced a header off of the Eagles corner to give the visitors the lead. The marking from the Gunners was very poor and Palace had the lead after creating very little going forward.

Arsenal found Palace difficult to break down for most of the 90 minutes, but it was a set-piece that saw them equalize in first half stoppage time. Alexis Sanchez, also making his debut, played in a free-kick that Laurent Koscielny was able to flick home.

2. Champions start off strong– Despite a late surge by Newcastle, Manchester City were able to secure all three points with a 2-0 victory at St. James’ Park.

David Silva found the opener in the 38th minute. Edin Dzeko back-heeled a long ball into Silva’s path and the Spanish midfielder made no mistake slotting it past Tim Krul.

Coming on as a second half substitute Sergio Aguero killed the game in second half stoppage time as Newcastle was threatening to find an equalizer. After Krul stopped his initial effort, Aguero popped up quickly to finish the rebound.

While Newcastle suffer a defeat at home, their were many positives to take from the loss. None bigger than the exciting young talent starting to break through. Rolando Aarons and Ayoze Perez both troubled City after their introductions.

3. Liverpool outlast stauch Southampton test– After a summer where their main contributors are now plying their trade elsewhere, Southampton may have been picked as relegation favorites by many. However, they looked anything, but that in a 2-1 loss to Liverpool.

It took a late Daniel Sturridge goal to lift the Reds over the visitors at Anfield. With 11 minutes remaining,  Jordan Henderson‘s cross wasn’t adequately dealt with by Victor WanyamaRaheem Sterling nodded a header into Sturridge’s path, who finished from four yards out.

Sterling gave Liverpool the lead in the 23rd minute after running on to Henderson’s long, defense-splitting pass. He then coolly slotted his shot past Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

Things were level at the 56th minute mark when Nathaniel Clyne smashed a shot into the top corner. It was clever play between Clyne and new signing Saphir Taider in the build-up to the goal.

4. Leicester City earn draw in Premier League return–  In their first Premier League season in 10 years, Leicester City earned a share of the points in a 2-2 draw with Everton.

Chris Wood played the hero for the Foxes with a goal in the 86th minute. Riyad Mahrez‘s shot was blocked, but eventually the ball found Wood in space and he slotted home to equalize.

The visiting Toffees were ahead in the 20th minute through a fine finish by Aidan McGeadyLeighton Baines‘ shot from distance was blocked on the way through, but fell to Sylvain Distin and forced a save from Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel. The ball fell to McGeady who curled the ball to the far corner and in off the post for the opener.

The Foxes struck back instantly though Leonardo Ulloa. Distin’s clearance from the Leicester corner hit Ulloa, who turned and provided a cool finish to equalize.

However, Everton took a lead into halftime with Steven Naismith finding the back of the net in the 45th minute. Baines found Steven Pienaar, who picked out Naismith with a pass as he was falling to a ground. Naismith found the top corner to give the Toffees a 2-1 advantage.

5. Berahino double earns West Brom draw– West Bromwich Albion were minutes away from an opening day victory, but Sebastian Larsson struck late to equalize for Sunderland in a 2-2 draw.

It was Saido Berahino that earned the plaudits for his double. He gave the Baggies the lead in the 42nd minute from the penalty spot after Valentin Roberge hauled down Victor Anichebe.

Graham Dorran‘s long-range strike was saved by Vito Mannone, but Craig Gardener was the quickest to react. He floated a cross to the back post for an easy tap-in by Berahino in the 74th minute.

Larsson would spoil the afternoon for the Baggies tallying in the 85th minute. Patrick van Aanholt played in a low cross from the left and Larsson steered the shot in from eight yards out.

The Black Cats had the lead in the 5th minute after Lee Cattermole‘s strike from distance. Larsson’s free-kick was headed away by Jonas Olsson, but it fell right to Cattermole, who had a superb effort from 25 yards out for the opener.

6. Three of a kind; Aston Villa, Hull, Tottenham with 1-0 victories– All three clubs were able to win by the same margin with goals coming in the second half.

Aston Villa topped Stoke with a 50th minute Andreas Weimann goal. After a poor first touch almost let him down, he was able to chase down the ball after it deflected off a Stoke defender. Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was able to get a hand to the shot, but wasn’t able to keep it out.

Hull defeated newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers with a James Chester header. In the 52nd minute, Chester finished the Tigers corner at the back post after beating Rio Ferdinand to the ball.

Tottenham had the more dramatic 1-0 victory, snatching defeat in the third minute of second half stoppage time against West Ham.

Harry Kane split the West Ham defense and sent Eric Dier free on goal. West Ham keeper Adrian rushed out, but the Spurs debutant made no mistake. He pushed the ball past Adrian and then slotted home into the empty net.

Both teams were reduced to 10 men. Kyle Naughton received a red card for a handball in the box in the 30th minute. Mark Noble stepped up to take the spot-kick, but sent his shot wide. Hugo Lloris was certainly grateful as he dove the wrong way.

James Collins picked up his second yellow after a clumsy challenge on Emmanuel Adebayor in the second half.

7. Chelsea faces Burnley The final fixture of the first round of games kicks off on Monday.

Here is your Premier League table after Week 1: