So, immediate impressions: Despite the departure of most of their Spanish players, Swansea remain a decent side, Manchester United remain very much a work in progress and look at least three or four players short of a side worthy of a place in the top four and ... eh, that’s about it. After all the media hoopla, it’s been a fairly underwhelming beginning for Louis van Gaal, but the season is young yet. Thanks for your time and your emails, now go read clockwatch.
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeep! It’s all over, Swansea City have won their opening game of the season at Old Trafford. Practically all the focus has been on Louis van Gaal in the build-up to this match, but that’s a splendid result for Garry Monk as he begins his first full season as Swansea City manager. He can be very proud of himself and his players this afternoon.
90+5 min: There’s a shout for a penalty as the ball hits Angel Rangel’s arm in the penalty area. Referee Mike Dean says it was accidental.
90+4 min: Nani crosses from the right, Fellaini gets the knock-down at the far post and the ball bounces kindly for Januzaj in the penalty area. He shoots goalwards, but his effort hits Wayne Rooney.
90+3 min: Manchester United press forward, but Swansea keep them on the edge of the final third. The ball’s played out to Januzaj on the right wing and his floated, pace-free cross is meat and drink to Fabianski at the far post.
90 min: We’re into added time. The referee’s assistant has recommended four minutes’ worth. There’s a break in play as Gylfi Sigurdsson receives attention after a 50-50 challenge with Nani/
89 min: Adnan Januzaj attempts to pick out Marouane Fellaini on the edge of the six-yard box with a cross from deep. Fabianski is quick off his line to claim possession. Good goalkeeping.
87 min: The pitchside microphone picks up a string of potty-mouthed effing and jeffing from Wayne Rooney. Without going into the specifics, I think it’s fair to say he would like his team-mates to pass him the ball, please.
85 min: Blackett gets booked for a foul on Gomis, then moments later, Ashley Young goes in the book for a foul on Routledge. Moments previously, the Manchester United left-back (!) had brought a save out of Fabianski with a low drive from just outside the penalty area.
82 min: Shortly before that Fellaini-Ki kerfuffle, a promising looking Swansea move was undone by Phil Jones, who basically just jumped in front of Gomis after the susbtitute striker had been put through on goal by a deft flick from Sigurdsson.
81 min: Ki Sung-Yeung gets booked for - I think - dragging out of Marouane Fellaini’s shirt. By way of retaliation, Fallaini caught the South Korean with a flailing arm that looked suspiciously like an elbow. Tut-tut.
Substitution I forgot to tell you about in the 64th minute: Marouane Fellaini on for Manchester United, Ander Herrera off.
79 min: Manchester United win a free-kick, wide on the left a good way out. Ashley Young sends a dangerous cross fizzing across the corridor of uncertainty between goalkeeper and back four, where Jonjo Shelvey puts the ball out for a corner. Nothing comes of it.
78 min: Jefferson Montero goes hurtling down the left wing with the ball at his feet, but is dispossessed by a fine challenge from Phil Jones, who grabbed a fistful of the winger’s shirt in a bid to slow him down a little.
76 min: Swansea substitution: Wilfried Bony off, new man Bafetimbi Gomis on. He came from Lyon, don’tcha know?
73 min: That was another cracking goal from Swansea City. Wilfried Bony won a free-kick on halfway after another tussle with Chris Smalling. The Swansea striker quickly played the ball down to the corner for Montero to chase. The substitute did exactly that, before crossing to the far post, where a Wayne Routledge miskick bounced kindly for Sigurdsson. He picked his spot and drove the ball through a crowded penalty area. David de Gea got a hand to it, but was unable to prevent the ball crossing the line.
GOAL! Manchester United 1-2 Swansea (Sigurdsson 73)
Gylfi Sigurdsson silences Old Trafford, clipping the ball home through a thicket of legs from about 14 yards after good work down the left from Jefferson Montero.
70 min: Wilfried Bony and Chris Smalling tangle about 10 yards outside the Manchester United penalty area and the Swansea striker is penalised.
69 min: From the centre of the park, Jonjo Shelvey attempts to play the ball wide to Jefferson Montero on the touchline. Phil Jones cuts it out to concede a throw-in.
68 min: Fletcher overhits a pass through the centre, sending the ball into the warm, cuddly embrace of Fabianski in the Swansea goal.
66 min: Swansea substitution: Ecuadorian speed-merchant Jefferson Montero on, Nathan Dyer off. Wayner Routledge switches to the left wing and Montero takes up position on the right.
65 min: Manchester United win a free-kick a yard or about three yards outside the penalty area, well right of centre. It’s a great opportunity ... but Wayne Rooney hits the angle of crossbar and post. Unlucky.
63 min: Manchester United play the ball out from the back, but are pressed back by Swansea, who eventually win possession of the football. The ball’s played back to Fabianski, who hoofs it straight to Darren Fletcher on the halfway line.
61 min: Phil Jones stands firm as Wayne Routledge cuts in from the left flank and attempts to pass him and pick out Wilfried Bony. Good defending. On the Manchester United bench, Marouane Fellaini is preparing for action.
59 min: Manchester United continue to press forward, eager to capitalise on their early second-half goal. The momentum is definitely with them. Ashley Young gets penalised for a foul throw. A foul throw?!?!?!
58 min: At some point amid all the confusion, Swansea brought on Dwight Tiendalli, the full-back, as a substitute. I suspect he’s on for Neil Taylor, who was on a yellow card and having his blood twisted by Adnan Januzaj.
56 min: Darren Fletcher steals the ball from Nathan Dyer and sends Juan Mata off on a counter-attack from the halfway line. He picks out Wayne Rooney, who scuttled into the box and looked set to pull the trigger when Ashley Williams took the ball off his toe with a fine, if slightly fortunate tackle. I’m not sure he knew what was going on there, to be honest.
53 min: Jonjo Shelvey picks up a booking for kicking the ball away after being penalised for a blatant foul on Juan Mata. It was Mata who set up Manchester United with a fine delivery from the corner. Phil Jones got the flick on and Wayne Rooney fired the ball past Lukasz Fabianski with an overhead kick from no more than two yards out.
GOAL! Manchester United 1-1 Swansea City (Rooney 51)
Juan Mata floats in the corner and Wayne Rooney restores parity with a spectacular overhead kick from all of two yards out.
51 min: Januzaj skins Neil Taylor again, but is bailed out by his skipper Ashley Williams, who hacks the ball out for a corner.
50 min: Mata takes the free-kick won by Januzaj, which Swansea clear. The ball drops to Darren Fletcher on the edge of the area and he shoots horribly wide.
49 min: Having spent their entire pre-season getting used to playing with a back three, Manchester United’s defensive line now consists of a back four: Phil Jones at right-back, Chris Smalling and Tyler Blackett in the centre and Ashley Young (!) at left-back. That may not end well.
48 min: Adnan Januzaj gets around Wayne Routledge on the right touchline and is then tripped as he attempts to go past Neil Taylor. Yellow card for the Swansea full-back and it’s entirely deserved.
47 min: Januzaj beats two men with a shimmy on the right flank, advances into the penalty area and then undoes all his hard work with a weak shot from a tight angle. Wide of the near post.
Second half: Manchester United kick-off, having replaced Javier Hernandez with Nani. The Portuguese winger takes up a position on the left flank, with Manchester United having swtiched to a 4-4-1-1, with Juan Mata playing in behind Wayne Rooney.
Roy Allen is here with some punditry: “Bony did not block Big Gormless Phil as Ki scored,” he writes. “He merely ‘stood his ground’ and the big eejit ran straight into him, as is his wont.”
Pretend you’re at today’s match by reading this commentary while flicking through this gallery of the best photos from Old Trafford which the good folks on our picture desk will be updating as the game progresses.
Half-time: Mike Dean blows for the interval and after an entertaining first half, it is the visitors Swansea City who go in with a one-goal lead. Ki Sung-yueng bagged the goal to become the first goal-scorer of this Premier League campaign and get my Fantasy Football Team off to a flier. Go on my, Seung!
45+3 min: Dyer robs Herrera about five yards outside the Manchester United penalty area. He picks out Gylfi Sigurdsson, but Manchester United scramble clear.
45 min: Van Gaal-watch: the Manchester United manager has not budged from his seat at the back of the home dug-out, from where he’s been watching the match intently, pausing occasionally to chat with Ryan Giggs.
44 min: Swansea City win a free-kick on the halfway line. They’ve settled well since taking the lead, their passing is more measured amd precise and they’re looking very comfortable on the ball. It’s as if, having scored, they’ve looked at who the 11 men they’re up against and decided they’re not all that.
42 min: Darren Fletcher tries a shot from the edge of the Swansea penalty area, but his effort is blocked by Neil Taylor.
41 min: According to Ray Stubbs, who is on the touchline for BT, Nani has just had a very long and deep conversation with Louis van Gaal and is now warming up. Tactical switch ahoy?
39 min: Manchester United win a free-kick in the Swansea left-back position. Referee Mike Dean gets out his disappearing foam and tags the pitch, then Juan Mata floats the ball towards the far post, where Fabianski claims comfortably.
38 min: Adnan Januzaj takes the ball around Neil Taylor and into the Swansea penalty area from the right flank, but the full-back recovers to put the ball out for a corner. Nothing comes of it, although a clumsier challenge could have yielded a penalty for United.
37 min: Manchester United advance, with Herrera playing the ball from the left flank across the edge of the penalty area to Darren Fletcher. He moves it on to the right flank, where Neil Taylor forces Ashley Young backwards.
34 min: Manchester United win a corner, which Juan Mata takes from the right. The ball skims off Wayne Rooney’s head and out for a goal kick.
33 min: At the game for BT, pundit Paul Scholes says that Manchester United’s midfielders need to work their way into the game a bit more and get the ball to Wayne Rooney more quickly.
30 min: “Sacked in the morning! You’re getting sacked in the morning!” sing the Swansea City fans in the Old Trafford away end in the direction of Louis van Gaal. Their team has just scored a wonderful goal, with Angel Rangel, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Nathan Dyer combinging brilliantly to tee up Ki, whose finish from the edge of the box was splendidly subtle. He could have blasted the ball, but chose instead to deftly place it just out of David De Gea’s reach. I’m a big fan of Ki’s, the South Korean who was frozen out by Michael Laudrup last season. He went to Sunderland on loan and was excellent.
GOAL! Manchester United 0-1 Swansea (Ki 27)
A sweeping move down the right-hand side draws two of Manchester United’s back three out of position. The ball finds its way to Ki Sung-Yeung, who passes it into the bottom right-hand corner from just inside the penalty box, with Wilfried Bony helping him by blocking Phil Jones.
26 min: Nathan Dyer gets the first booking of the season for clattering into the back of Ander Herrera.
25 min: Phil Jones goes surprisingly close to opening the scoring in this year’s Premier League, bringing a smart save out of Lukasz Fabianski with a surface-to-air screamer that was heading for the top corner, after neat play down the right flank.
23 min: The jig is up for Jesse. Lingard is unable to continue and hobbles off to be replaced by Adnan Januzaj, who wears the No11 shirt vacated by Ryan Giggs.
22 min: Manchester United are beginning to assert their authority, enjoying the majority of the possession and creating the best in the way of what chances there have been.
20 min: Lingard limps off to the sideline, but is desperate to stay on. Courtesy of the pitch-side microphone, we hear him telling the physio he’ll “see how it goes” and play resumes with him taking a throw-in.
19 min: Jesse Lingard goes down injured after a crunching tackle from Ashley Williams. The pair were contesting a 50-50 ball and the youngster came out second best. He seems to have hurt his knee and it looks like his debut could be about to end prematurely.
17 min: Wayne Rooney picks up a pass from Javier Hernandez on the edge of the Swansea penalty area, then attempts to make room for a shot. He finally unleashes a diagonal effort, which is blocked.
15 min: Swansea win a free-kick, wide on the left, which Gylfi Sigurdsson whips in to the penalty area. Tyler Blackett sends the ball back his way courtesy of a meaty header.
14 min: Jordi Amat plays a long ball down the inside right channel, which Nathan Dyer does well to keep in play. He swings in a desperate cross before the ball goes out for a goal kick, but there’s nobody up in support. I suspect even his own team-mates didn’t think he was quick enough to reach that.
12 min: Gylfi Sigurdsson shoots from outside the penalty area. His right-footed effort fizzes and dips, then bounces just in front of David De Gea. The Spaniard gets his body behind it and makes a tricky save look comfortable.
9 min: Nathan Dyer eschews the opportunity to run at Tyler Blackett, but looks for support and plays an errant pass instead, gifting possession to David De Gea. Swansea have been giving the ball away a lot, particularly inside their own half. Their passing has been poor.
8 min: It’s been a lively start and it looks pretty even as a contest thus far. Lingard shimmies down the right and sends in a cross. Fabianski gathers eventually, having originally lost the flight of the ball.
5 min: Swansea winger Wayne Routledge gets a run on Jesse Lingard, but his failure to control a long pass from Jonjo Shelvey costs him the opportunity of a one-on-one on David De Gea. Phil Jones was anything but alert to the danger after his young defensive sidekick had been caught out there.
3 min: Under pressure from Wayne Rooney, Ashley Williams heads the ball back towards his own goal from outside the penalty area. Lukasz Fabianski rushes off his line to get down and gather the ball before Rooney can pounce and take advantage.
2 min: Jonjo Shelvey “welcomes” Ander Herrera to the Premier League, dispossessing the new Manchester United midfielder with a crunching challenge, then kneeing him in the back for afters as he gets to his feet. Herrera isn’t too impressed and the pair exchange verbals.
Premier League season 2014-15 is go. Wilfried Bony gets the ball rolling for the new Premier League season, with Swansea playing into the Stretford End for the first half. Jesse Lingaard gets his first touch of the ball as a Manchester United senior player, appealing being sent down the right flank by Javier Hernandez, but the linesman signals for a goal-kick. I’m not sure he called that correctly.
Not long now: The teams march out of the Old Trafford tunnel to a trumpeted fanfare, with Louis van Gaal walking to the home dug-out, waving and giving the thumbs up to assorted supporters. Manchester United’s players wear red shirts, white shorts and black socks with red tops. Swansea’s personnel are a collective vision in all white.
Manchester United’s manager agrees with my prediction: “LVG just interviewed on American TV,” writes Marie Meyer. “He said, and I quote: ‘I shall be very disappointed when we don’t win’.”
How they’ll line up: Expect Manchester United to play three across the back, with Phil Jones and Tyler Blackett to the right and left of Chris Smalling, with Jesse Lingaard and Ashley Young as right and left wing-backs. Ander Herrera and Darren Fletcher will be doing the grunt work in midfield, with Juan Mata in his preferred role, occupying the space between them and the front pairing of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez.
Swansea will play a 4-2-3-1, with Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-Yong screening a back four of Angel Rangel , Ashley Williams, Jordi Amat and Neil Taylor. Nathan Dyer, Gylfi Siggurdsson and Wayne Routledge will be in front of them, supporting lone striker Wilfried Bony.
Predicition time: Looking at those line-ups, I can see Swansea winning this one. Manchester 1-3 Swansea.
Team news we’ve pulled from the wires: New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal hands debuts to Jesse Lingard and Tyler Blackett as he looks to start his reign with a win over Swansea.
Wayne Rooney captains the team while Javier Hernandez starts up front in the place of Robin van Persie, who is still lacking fitness following his late return from the World Cup.
Summer signings Lukasz Fabianski and Gylfi Sigurdsson start for Swansea, but fellow new boy Bafetimbi Gomis has to settle for a place on the bench.
Man Utd: De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Blackett, Lingard, Fletcher, Ander Herrera, Young, Mata, Hernandez, Rooney.
Subs: Januzaj, Nani, Kagawa, Fellaini, Michael Keane, Amos, James.
Swansea: Fabianski, Rangel, Amat, Williams, Taylor, Ki,
Shelvey, Routledge, Sigurdsson, Dyer, Bony.
Subs: Gomis, Tiendalli, Montero, Tremmel, Bartley, Richards, Sheehan.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
For his first game as Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has handed Premier League debuts to two young lads off the conveyor belt: left-back Tyler Blackett and midfielder Jesse Lingard, who make their first senior starts for the club in any competition this afternoon.
Although Van Gaal’s been hamstrung by injuries to Luke Shaw, Michael Carrick, Robin van Persie, Jonny Evans, Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck, that Manchester United line-up does have a decidedly weak look about it and could prompt the popping of champagne corks in the Swansea dressing room, so it will be interesting to see how they get on.
How these sides will fare this season
Considering the eerie prescience of the Guardian Writers’ annual team-by-team preview of the Premier League, it’s a wonder the powers that be in Gloucester Place actually bother forcing every team in the English top flight to play each other twice, when it has already been decided here in Guardian Towers that Manchester United will finish fourth and Swansea will finish 10th. Click on the links to see how we arrived at those conclusions.
Good afternoon everybody. It’s déjà vu all over again as Manchester United and Swansea City go toe to toe on the opening weekend for the second Premier League season in a row. A year ago, David Moyes and Michael Laudrup were the managers prowling the respective technical areas, but this afternoon it’s Louis van Gaal and Garry Monk who’ll be gesticulating furiously, chewing gum and kicking water bottles around the Old Trafford touchline. We wish them well.