SWANSEA 1 – MANCHESTER UNITED 4
A pair of doubles by Robin Van Persie and Danny Welbeck ensured that David Moyes’ Barclays Premier League debut as Manchester United manager ended in a 4-1 victory as marksmanship and an in-form Dutchman was the only difference between the two sides on the day.
Van Persie, a deserved man of the match, was glad to get the first game out of the way.
“We’re very happy – to play against Swansea away in the first game is very tough.
“It was an important game for all of us, we don’t want to lose the first game of the season.
“They were better than us in the first 15-20 minutes but the first goal changed the game.”
Wayne Rooney, yet to complete a full game in an injury-hit pre-season, was left on the bench as David Moyes opted to field in-form Van Persie as a lone striker against Swansea at the rain-swept but very vocal Liberty Stadium.
Moyes was relieved to get through his first game as United manager.
“We limited them to very few opportunities but we could have played better at times.” he admitted.
“It’s just one game in 38 this season. There will be no big celebration today but to come here and win was good.”
Moyes praised the contribution by Wayne Rooney after he came on despite having little pre-season game time.
“The crowd gave him a cheer – everyone wants Wayne in their team.
“He got 65 minutes against Scotland the other night. I felt he could do a job if he came on today.
“He’s not ready yet physically for a full game but he did a great run for Robin’s goal and put Danny in for his goal at the end.”
The Swans were true to their principles in passing the ball from the start despite the unsavoury conditions, forcing United to press them for possession.
Despite the positive gameplan from Swansea it was United who had the early chances – Phil Jones and Ryan Giggs could have put United into an early lead but Michel Vorm saved from Jones’ dipping shot and Giggs unselfishly tried to put Welbeck in but the England international was crowded out. Welbeck had a later effort parried out by Vorm but Giggs’ followup was lashed just wide.
Michu had the ball in the back of the United net but it was ruled out once Nathan Dyer was flagged offside earlier in the move. The Spaniard tested David De Gea again later as he found the United defence lacking.
It was left to Van Persie to start David Moyes season with a volleyed goal in the 34th minute after Chico Flores failed to deal with a looping Giggs ball into the penalty area. United’s flying Dutchman was quickest to react to the loose ball and open the scoring and continue his fine pre-season form.
Welbeck doubled United’s lead two minutes later after Antonio Valencia’s sliding pass from Giggs’ cross left the striker with the easiest of tap-ins to open his Old Trafford account for the season after Van Persie had drawn Ashley Williams out of position. Surprisingly, it was the Welbeck’s first league goal since October 20 2012 and very much a confidence boost.
Wilfried Bony and Pablo Hernandez were introduced in the second half for Swansea and Nathan Dyer provided a chance for Michu to test De Gea once again but the Spaniard made another good save.
Bony’s penalty area knockdown later almost found Michu but De Gea who bravely put the ball out for a corner as Swansea were reduced to battling for scraps and taking pot shots in the second half.
There was little room for error, though, as Van Persie almost finished the Swans off when he escaped Ashley Williams but sent his effort just wide of the far post when United broke free on the counter attack.
Rooney finally got a chance to get some game time when he replaced Ryan Giggs on 62 minutes as the game started to drift. United’s travelling support cheered the arrival of the England striker who was just offside when Welbeck slid him through minutes after his introduction.
Jose Canas headed off the line with 20 minutes to go after Patrice Evra’s goalbound header looked to have sealed the points for United from a corner.
Van Persie finally put the icing on the cake for Moyes’ first game after Rooney laid the ball on to the Dutchman and drew defenders away from him with a run which allowed the Dutchman space to run at the defence and to finish the ailing Swans off in the 72nd minute.
Bony had looked a threat in the air in the second half after nodding just wide from Jojo Shelvey’s cross but he slid in a consolation for the home fans after United failed to clear through Welbeck and Hernandez laid off a golden chance for the Ivorian to lift the home fans late in the game.
There was to be no hat trick for Van Persie as he was withdrawn in the 86th minute but Welbeck made up for his earlier error and scored his second goal, doubling his meagre tally from last season, with an injury time chip over Vorm after being put through by Rooney.