Manchester United suffered their ninth home defeat in 12 months as the Louis Van Gaal era got off to the worst possible start last weekend, against a bright Swansea City side who earned their first league win at Old Trafford since 1931.
Van Gaal and United weren't helped after being dealt an early-season blow of seven first team players being out injured. United were particularly short in defence, with new signing Luke Shaw ruled out for a month. Jonny Evans, Rafael and Antonio Valencia were also out,which meant Van Gaal had to play 20-year-old Tyler Blackett, who spent last season on loan at Championship Birmingham City.
Debut duo fail to make the grade
United also included Jesse Lingard, who made his debut after recent loan spells in the Championship. United's failure to sign their intended targets in time for the new season has left manager and fans frustrated and when the team sheet came out it raised many eyebrows at the lack of depth to a squad which only finished seventh last season.
One positive was £27m midfielder Ander Herrera making his debut and he looks like he will add something United didn't have last season. The game began with little action and United had the majority of the opening period, they however failed to test Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Wayne Rooney had United's best early chance but it was Swansea who took the lead after a nice flowing move lead to Ki Seung Young being found unmarked at the edge of the box. His cool finish into the bottom corner gave Swansea a shock lead and a sense of deja vu at Old Trafford returned with it.
Van Gaal switch doesn't pay off
Lingard was forced off injured after 25 minutes and was replaced by Adnan Januzaj, who looked United's brightest spark in what was a pretty drab performance. Improvements were made in the second half when United switched from 3-5-2 to 4-2-3-1 and Javier Hernandez was replaced by Nani.
United took just eight minutes to equalise through Rooney, who hooked Phil Jones' flick into the back of the net to draw United level. United then had plenty of the ball and were beginning to find a bit of rhythm, which led to a free kick which Rooney turned onto the woodwork.
Swans earn three precious points
That was as good as it got for United though Swansea frustrated for large spells, limiting United to very few openings and eventually exposing defensive frailties thanks to a quickly taken free kick by Wilfriend Bony. From there Ecuadorian winger Jefferson Montero broke through and his low cross found Wayne Routledge, who got the better of makeshift left back Ashley Young and was able to put it on a plate for Gylfi Sigurddson, who scored on his return to Swansea from close range.
Van Gaal said his players looked nervous and that he knew before the game he needs reinforcements. United should be in better shape for Sundays trip to Sunderland with Jonny Evans, Rafael, Antonio Valencia and Van Gaal's dutch counterpart, Robin Van Persie set to return.
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