16th Aug 14 – Swansea City (H): A Demoralizing 2-1 Loss

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First of all, hello everybody! I’m posting on this blog after such a long time. I had a very busy personal transition to make, and hence, I had been neglecting this blog. I used to post pre-match and post-match press transcripts on this blog but now that they are available everywhere, that practice seems futile. I have thus decided to review each of United’s matches from a fan perspective on this blog; hope you like to read what I have to write!

Report

It was a very demoralizing opening day of the Premier League for us as Louis van Gaal got off to a poor start. It was our first opening-day loss since 1972, and our defense was just not up to scratch. Ki Sung-Yeung gave Swansea the lead on 28 minutes and we went into half-time a bit confused – we were creating chances but our defensive frailties were very visible.

Within eight minutes of the start of the second half though, Rooney found the back of the net with a very agile overhead kick finish and the equalizer made the confidence rush back into Old Trafford. Wazza was in again on 56 minutes, but his free kick could only strike the post. With Nani on and Mata playing well, we were building momentum. However, Sigurdsson ruined opening day by pouncing on Routledge’s well-controlled through-ball and silence fell over Old Trafford as we fell behind again on 72 minutes. Try as we may, we just could not get back into it although I felt the handball at the end against Rangel should have been a penalty.

Reaction

It was surely disappointing for many United fans as the fantastic pre-season had built the hopes up. While van Gaal has since then reiterated on multiple occasions that one result does not dictate a season, this seems all too familiar to last season – when we were repeatedly defending our losses (when Moyes was in charge). An opening-day victory would have held us in good stead for the coming weeks, but even though we know our squad was incredibly depleted, it is hard to stomach such a shock loss.

The only major positive of this match was Wayne Rooney. That’s about it. Our new club captain was at the heart of our every attacking move, got the goal, struck the post and had multiple shots on target. Unfortunately, a football team needs an attack AND a defence, and the latter was lacking in a very major way for us. Our defence was our major negative and this showed so clearly, it hurt. Blackett may be a talented youngster, but starting him in his first Premier League match is a bit too much for him – our defence has been hurt by Vidic, Evra and Ferdinand leaving and we quite simply did not have enough fit replacements.

All is not lost though, as a new ray of hope arrives in the form of Marcos Rojo; our latest signing from Sporting Lisbon. Even though he is ineligible to play in the next match against Sunderland, as soon as he gets a work permit, he’ll certainly be a good addition to our admittedly poor defence. RvP, Evans and Valencia should be fit enough to play against Sunderland, so that will be a very big boost to our squad.

Until next time, cheers!

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