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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 19 June, 2018


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We’re at Old Trafford for the first game of the new Premier League season as Manchester United take on Swansea in Louis van Gaal’s first competitive game in charge of the Red Devils.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the action. tweet @thescore_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Manchester United 1-2 Swansea (Ki 28, Rooney 53, Sigurdsson 73)

Good afternoon everyone.

Yes, it’s BACK!

Welcome to our live coverage of Manchester United v Swansea.

Let’s get straight to the teams, shall we?

Utd: De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Blackett, Lingard, Fletcher, Herrera, Young, Mata, Rooney (c), Hernandez

Swansea: Fabianski, Rangel, Amat, Williams (C), Taylor, Ki, Shelvey, Dyer, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Bony

So, Tyler Blackett gets his chance to shine for Van Gaal. But perhaps the bigger surprise is Jesse Lingard being named in the starting XI. It’s expected that he’ll play as right wing-back with Blackett on the left side of a back three.




Here comes Louis…! This Is The One by The Stone Roses appropriately blares through the loudspeakers. Wayne Rooney leads United out to a deafening roar.

Any predictions, guys?


Lingard involved early on – pushing well up the field, trying to get a corner. Goes out tamely for a goal-kick.

Moments later, Shelvey flattens Ander Herrera – rather unsurprisingly.

6 mins – BIG chance for Swansea. Routledge makes a run across Lingard and behind Phil Jones and is picked out from deep, a pretty simple ball over the top. He just falls to get control but a let-off for United and an interesting development regarding their new system.

12th min – A relatively tame opening here – Lingard has a tame cross gobbled up by Fabianski at his near post. Mis-hit ball more than anything else.

Shortly after, Sigurdsson’s shot from distance is easy for De Gea.

15th min - Swansea are awarded a deep free-kick and send in a decent set-piece. Blackett is there to head it clear and out of danger. Has looked assured, the 20 year-old.

17th min - First major involvement from Rooney. Tries to engineer a few yards about 22 yards from goal, looks to get the shot in but he’s crowded out and he’s wrestled off the ball when it drops back towards him.

19th min – OUCH! Lingard has dived into a 50/50 challenge and looks like he might be in trouble. He’s walked off himself and is desperate to continue. We’ll keep an eye on it.

Just monitoring United’s new system and there’s a nice mix in midfield, with Herrera dropping deep and Mata being allowed the freedom to fall back too. One worry is the lack of service Rooney and Hernandez have received.

24th min – SUBSTITUTION! Januzaj (on) – Lingard (off)

Lingard is forced off, eventually. The Belgian, wearing number 11, will take his position at right wing-back. Interesting.

24th min – CLOSE! 

Better from United. Jones is played through in the inside right channel and sprints towards the area. Thumps a curling strike towards the near post, just before he’s clattered by a late challenge. Fabianski has to push it out for a corner – decent stop. First proper attempt on goal we’ve had.

28th min – GOAL! Ki (Manchester United 0-1 Swansea)

Well, Swansea turn party-poopers. It’s a lovely move that begins on the right side of the United area with Sigurdsson turning nicely. He feeds Bony, who evades Jones. The tee-up is perfect for Ki who side-foots a left-foot drive low inside De Gea’s far post.

Lovely finish from Ki – great work from Bony to block off Jones, by the way.

Biggest entertainment for the United fans so far has been the use of Mike Dean’s vanishing spray. Loud cheers every time he’s had to use it.

41st min - Something to strike fear into every United fan. Rumours that Nani might be introduced.

Just a few minutes to go until half-time. Easy to forget that this is a pretty traditional position for United to be in. Only one of the last eight teams to visit Old Trafford in the Premier League have failed to score.

And that’s half-time.

A disappointing opening 45 minutes for Louis van Gaal. Ki’s goal (his first for the club) close to the half-hour mark separates the sides.

United have been dull. Rooney and Hernandez have been starved of possession and despite some nice touches from Herrera and Mata, there’s been a lack of creativity. Phil Jones had their best chance, a well-struck shot pushed away by Fabianski at his near post.

One change already – Lingard replaced by Januzaj. The new formation hasn’t answered too many questions yet. And if this continues, Van Gaal may revert to a more traditional approach.

Damning analysis of Swansea’s goal during half-time. Ki was allowed to walk forward unmarked for about 10 yards before hanging out on the edge of the area and tucking away following Sigurdsson’s pass. Herrera the guilty party.

Pretty basic stuff but also communication issues. LVG will not be happy in that dressing-room.

46th min – SUBSTITUTION! Nani (on) – Hernandez (off)

We’re underway here for the 2nd half and the winger’s introduction means United have reverted to a back-four. Jones has gone to RB, Smalling and Blackett are in the centre and Ashley Young is at LB.

Seems a bit all over the place here but they’re already looking much better.

48 min – BOOKING! Neil Taylor (Swansea)

The one thing about the formation switch is that Januzaj is now hugging one flank, Nani the other. The Belgian takes on Taylor and gets past him, he’s hauled down and the left-back gets a yellow. Nothing comes of the free-kick.

Much improved from United here. Intent and energy.

Rooney is now through the middle on his own with Mata sitting in behind. Herrera and Fletcher are the midfield two.

4-2-3-1. David Moyes will be pleased.

53rd min – GOAL! Rooney! (Manchester United 1-1 Swansea)

Januzaj has been superb in the opening few minutes of the 2nd half. He charges down the right flank and wins a corner. It’s sent in dangerously by Mata, there’s a little touch at the near post and Rooney acrobatically throws himself in the air to volley home from close range.

And there’s the inevitable surge of excitement as United will surely push and push from here on.

He didn’t get a kick in the first half but Rooney’s finish was terrific. United excellent early on here. Some credit to Van Gaal for changing the system and trying to get Rooney involved more.

62 mins – Januzaj takes off on a marauding run down the right and cuts across the penalty area. His shot is wasteful and Nani has a go at him for being too selfish. That’s…impressive.

65 mins - Some good, crisp passing from United leads to Rooney being brought down on the edge of the area. Good position here. A Mata special?

66 mins – CLOSE! 

It’s not Mata – it’s Rooney and it’s almost a magnificent second. Bends it right around the wall and it catches the outside of the upright with Fabianksi beaten. Unlucky.

67 mins – SUBSTITUTION! Fellaini (on) – Herrera (off)

After his winner against Valencia recently, the much-criticised Belgian gets a chance to impress here.

67 mins – SUBSTITUTION! Montero (on) – Dyer (off)

A change for Swansea too. Montero will look to add something fresh to the visitors’ attacking nous.

20 minutes to go here.

United look the more likely to go on and win this but things have calmed somewhat in the last while. Onslaught will surely begin soon though. Swansea are struggling to keep the ball and can’t seem to give themselves a chance to catch a breath.

73 mins – GOAL! Sigurdsson (Manchester United 1-2 Swansea)

Well, that was an incisive comment, wasn’t it? I’ve been put in my place. Swansea take a free-kick quickly with Bony releasing Montero down the left side. His cross to the back post is missed by Ashley Young, Routledge sends it back across the area and there’s Sigurdsson to knock it home from close range.

United all over the place at the back – Young’s not a full-back and mis-judged the cross to the back post. Very basic stuff and United were made pay.

78 mins – SUBSTITUTION! Gomis (on) – Bony (off)

Bony played his part in both goals and may not be at the club for much longer. Gomis will offer something similar up top.

81 mins -CLOSE! 

Gomis is played in with United out-numbered. Just as he’s about to pull the trigger, Jones comes across and dives in with a superb tackle. It could’ve been 3-1. Instead, there’s still hope for the hosts.

83 mins – BOOKING! Tyler Blackett!

The youngster goes in the book and it seems a little harsh. Seems to get the ball before crashing into Gomis.

There’s going to be, AT LEAST, four minutes of injury time. But Young has just launched a cross into the area, five red shirts in there, and it’s way too long.

Outside of a ten-minute period at the start of the second-half, this has been very poor from United.

As an aside, I wouldn’t want to be Ray Stubbs right now. As the BT sideline reporter, he’ll be quizzing Van Gaal about what happened here today. Careful, now.

94 mins - Utd lay siege to the Swansea goal. Januzaj gets turned in the area and shoots towards goal but it’s blocked by Rooney and Swansea get it clear.



United lose their first game of the season and Louis van Gaal’s first foray in the Premier League is an anti-climax. It was poor and uninspiring for long periods. Outside of a ten-minute period at the start of the second half (when Rooney levelled), they lacked any real menace or creativity in attack.

At half-time, he reverted to a flat back-four, played with wingers and got Rooney more involved but it was the same slack defending we saw so many times last year that was evident again.

Credit to Swansea. It’s a first ever league win for them at Old Trafford. And take a picture, Swans fans. Your team is currently top of the league.

Thanks for staying with us.

We’ll be back with plenty more reaction and analysis shortly.


About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan