Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United reign got off to a false start on Saturday as Swansea City won 2-1 in the season’s opening English Premier League game at Old Trafford.
Van Gaal was taking charge of his first competitive game as United manager, but his new side exhibited many of the same failings from last season – when they finished seventh – as they slumped to a surprise defeat.
South Korea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng exploited inattentive marking to give Swansea a 28th-minute lead with a left-foot shot from the edge of the box.
United’s new captain Wayne Rooney equalised early in the second period, but Gylfi Sigurdsson earned Swansea victory in the 72nd minute with a close-range finish.
It gave Swansea back-to-back wins at Old Trafford, following their shock FA Cup success in January, and was a reversal of United’s 4-1 win at the Liberty Stadium on the first day of last season.
Injuries obliged Van Gaal to give competitive debuts to Tyler Blackett, 20, and Jesse Lingard, 21.
Lingard’s day was to last only 24 minutes, however, as he was forced off after appearing to jar his knee in a challenge with visiting captain Ashley Williams.
United bossed possession in the first half, but Swansea struck from their first sight of goal, with Ki stroking home a lay-off from Sigurdsson.
Swansea’s fans burst into a chorus of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning!’ aimed at Van Gaal, who sat impassively in his seat in the dug-out.
The Dutchman introduced Nani in place of striker Javier Hernandez at half-time, and United responded immediately.
Juan Mata’s right-wing corner was flicked on by Phil Jones and Rooney hooked home a spectacular close-range volley at the back post.
Rooney came close to putting United ahead with a free-kick that hit the outside of the post in the 66th minute.
But it was Swansea who claimed the winning goal when Icelandic midfielder Sigurdsson – back at the club after two years at Tottenham Hotspur – slammed home from Wayne Routledge’s mishit volley.
Mauricio Pochettino’s first Premier League game in charge of Tottenham Hotspur proved more memorable as defender Eric Dier grabbed an injury time winner in an incident-packed London derby at West Ham.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 29th minute when Kyle Naughton was sent off for handling a Kevin Nolan shot in the box, but Mark Noble fired the resulting penalty wide.
West Ham were also reduced to 10 men in the 63rd minute when James Collins was issued his second yellow card, and things got worse for the hosts as Harry Kane sent Dier clear to snatch the winner in added time.
Alan Irvine looked set for a debut win in charge of West Brom before a late strike from Sebastian Larsson salvaged a point for Sunderland in a feisty 2-2 draw.
Lee Cattermole’s thunderous early opener was cancelled out by a Saido Berahino penalty and the Baggies striker put his side in front with a close-range volley in the 74th minute.
But Gus Poyet’s men refused to accept defeat and grabbed a point when the impressive Patrick van Aanholt crossed from the left and set up Larsson to stroke home the equaliser.
Substitute Chris Wood gave Leicester something to celebrate on their return to the top-flight as his 86th minute effort sealed a 2-2 draw with Everton.
Aiden McGeady curled the visitors in front on 20 minutes only for Leonardo Ulloa, the Foxes’ recent capture from Brighton, to equalise almost immediately.
Steven Naismith slammed Everton back in front on the stroke of half-time but Wood was on hand to hit the leveller past Tim Howard after impressive work from Riyad Mahrez.
Hull keeper Allan McGregor saved a late Charlie Austin penalty as the Tigers hung on for a 1-0 win at QPR.
James Chester put the visitors in front with a diving header in the 52nd minute but his 83rd handball gave the home side their spot-kick chance, only for Austin to see his weak kick well saved.
Andreas Weimann hinted at brighter times ahead for Aston Villa as his 50th minute drive sealed a 1-0 win over Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.
Villa were on top for long periods of the game and could have increased their winning margin with chances for Charles N’Zogbia and Leandro Bacuna.
Follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE