Premier League
Man UtdManchester United1SwanseaSwansea City2

Manchester United 1-2 Swansea City

By Chris BevanBBC Sport at Old Trafford
Gylfi Sigurdsson
Gylfi Sigurdsson rejoined Swansea this summer after a spell at Tottenham
  • Van Gaal's Man Utd reign starts with defeat
  • United's first opening-day loss at home since 1972
  • Swansea's first league win at Man Utd

Louis van Gaal's first competitive game as Manchester United manager ended in a historic home defeat at the hands of Swansea City.

A day that began with the Dutch manager receiving a rapturous welcome from the Old Trafford fans as he walked out before kick-off ended with his side being beaten at home on the opening day of the league season for the first time since 1972.

Not even a trademark Van Gaal tactical switch could save him from opening his Premier League account with a 2-1 loss, as his side produced a disjointed performance which underlined the scale of the job ahead of him - and the improvement needed in several areas.

Van Gaal takes responsibility for defeat

Injuries, together with a lack of summer arrivals, saw Van Gaal give debuts to two young academy products - Tyler Blackett on the left of a three-man defence and Jesse Lingard at wing-back.

Midfielder Ander Herrera was the only new signing to line up for a United side that finished seventh last season, and it showed.

Wayne Rooney's overhead kick in his first game since being named United's new captain cancelled out Ki Sung-yueng's opener for the Welsh side, but some uncertain defending allowed new Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson to score a 72nd-minute winner.

That saw the Welsh side, who also enjoyed a famous victory at Old Trafford in the FA Cup last season, ruin Van Gaal's big day by clinching their first away win over United in the league in 12 visits dating back to 1931.

Former Netherlands international Ruud Gullit on BBC Match of the Day
"Van Gaal has a big job. The Premier League is different. You can see during the game the United players were thinking about where they had to be. When he played 3-5-2 for the Netherlands it was necessity because we had bad defenders. If you were a Swansea player would you have been afraid of that line-up?"

Few people had given Garry Monk's side a chance following a summer in which they had sold defenders Chico Flores and Ben Davies and sent Michu on loan to Napoli.

United, who won all six matches of an impressive pre-season campaign, were certainly the better side early on.

Setting up in Van Gaal's favoured 3-4-1-2 formation, they had wing-backs Ashley Young and, until he was taken off injured, Lingard getting forward well to put Swansea under pressure.

Man United 1-2 Swansea: Garry Monk hails 'great day' for Swans

But the deliveries that came in from the flanks were not good enough to test the visitors and, worryingly for Van Gaal, his defensive trio and the support they were receiving was looking less than convincing.

There were alarming gaps between Chris Smalling in the centre of his back three and Blackett and Phil Jones to his left and right but, while United had the ball, it was not a huge problem.

When Swansea broke, however, it was a different matter and after a couple of scares they punished United after 28 minutes.

No-one tracked Ki and he was left free to meet Nathan Dyer's pass across the edge of the box and slot past David de Gea and into the bottom corner.

The goal brought only shocked silence from the home fans, and no visible reaction from Van Gaal. That only came with the tactical change he made at half-time.

Nani replaced Javi Hernandez and United switched to a 4-2-3-1 shape, with Young and Jones at full-back, and United instantly looked more dynamic and dangerous.

Back with a bang
Gylfi Sigurdsson has scored eight goals in 19 Premier League appearances at Swansea. He took 58 games to reach the same number at Tottenham, who he left this summer to rejoin the Swans.

Even so, Swansea will feel they could have done more to stop Rooney's equaliser after 53 minutes, with Jones allowed a crucial flick at the near post that carried the ball to the England striker.

More home goals looked most likely at that stage but the closest United would come to taking the lead was when Rooney fired a curling free-kick against the outside of the post.

Instead, after the home side's forward play reverted to aimless balls forward, it was Swansea who found the net, again, making the most of some uncertain defending.

Young failed to deal with substitute Jefferson Montero's cross at the far post and Wayne Routledge's mis-hit volley fell for Sigurdsson to bury the bouncing ball.

Van Gaal, who stayed in his seat scribbling furiously throughout the match, still had 18 minutes to salvage something from his first game but some desperate late defending saw Swansea hang on.

Check out the best photos from today's Premier League action on the BBC Sport Facebook page. external-link

Ki Sung-Yueng
Ki Sung-yueng found the net as Wilfried Bony tussled with Phil Jones
Wayne Rooney scores for Manchester United
Wayne Rooney, preferred to Robin van Persie as Louis van Gaal's captain, scores the first goal of the Dutchman's reign
Rory McIlroy at Old Trafford
Manchester United fan Rory McIlroy showed off the spoils of his Open victory at half-time
Louis van Gaal and Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs (left) has stayed on as assistant manager after finishing his playing career at the end of last season


Man Utd

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1de Gea
  • 4Jones
  • 12Smalling
  • 42BlackettBooked at 83mins
  • 35LingardSubstituted forJanuzajat 24'minutes
  • 24Fletcher
  • 21HerreraSubstituted forFellainiat 67'minutes
  • 18YoungBooked at 86mins
  • 8Mata
  • 14HernándezSubstituted forAlmeida da Cunhaat 45'minutes
  • 10Rooney


  • 11Januzaj
  • 17Almeida da Cunha
  • 26Kagawa
  • 31Fellaini
  • 38Keane
  • 40Amos
  • 41James


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Fabianski
  • 22Rangel
  • 2Amat
  • 6Williams
  • 3TaylorBooked at 48minsSubstituted forTiendalliat 53'minutes
  • 4Ki Sung-yuengBooked at 82mins
  • 8ShelveyBooked at 54mins
  • 12DyerBooked at 26minsSubstituted forMonteroat 67'minutes
  • 23G Sigurdsson
  • 15Routledge
  • 10BonySubstituted forGomisat 77'minutes


  • 18Gomis
  • 19Tiendalli
  • 20Montero
  • 25Tremmel
  • 27Bartley
  • 29Richards
  • 30Sheehan
Mike Dean

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamSwansea
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 1, Swansea City 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 1, Swansea City 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Chris Smalling (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Ashley Young with a cross.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marouane Fellaini with a headed pass.

  5. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  6. Post update

    Delay in match Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City) because of an injury.

  7. Post update

    Offside, Manchester United. Juan Mata tries a through ball, but Marouane Fellaini is caught offside.

  8. Post update

    Offside, Swansea City. Angel Rangel tries a through ball, but Bafétimbi Gomis is caught offside.

  9. Booking

    Ashley Young (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Ashley Young (Manchester United).

  11. Post update

    Wayne Routledge (Swansea City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ashley Young (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marouane Fellaini.

  13. Booking

    Tyler Blackett (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Tyler Blackett (Manchester United).

  15. Post update

    Bafétimbi Gomis (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  16. Booking

    Ki Sung-Yueng (Swansea City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  17. Post update

    Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Ki Sung-Yueng (Swansea City).

  19. Post update

    Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Wayne Routledge (Swansea City).