United keep the scoreline after Spurs’ Walker scores an while trying to head off Rooney
Manchester United lifted the curtain on the new Premier League campaign in winning fashion as they ground out a 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford yesterday. Spurs fullback Kyle Walker was the unfortunate scorer of an own goal in the first half, and the scoreline remained unchanged as United saw out the remainder of the match to claim all three points.
The Red Devils went into the Premier League opener minus the services of goalkeeper David de Gea after manager Louis van Gaal confirmed the Spaniard would be rested due to ongoing speculation linking the player with a move to Real Madrid.
As such, new signing Sergio Romero made his debut in goal for the Red Devils, with youngster Sam Johnstone handed a place on the bench.
As has often been the case in the past, United started the match sluggishly, with Spurs enjoying plenty of possession early on.
Christian Eriksen had the first chance of the contest, but was unable to capitalise as he fired a lofted effort over the bar on five minutes after being teed up by Harry Kane.
Kane and Spurs debutant Toby Alderweireld both went close a few minutes later, but the former’s shot from outside the box was deflected behind before the latter saw his header from the resulting corner kick kept out by the defence.
Spurs continued to press forward and threatened again on 18 minutes, with Walker’s stinging shot saved in the bottom-left corner by Romero.
However, Walker did his side no favours four minutes later when he nipped in front of Wayne Rooney in an attempt to steal the ball off the striker’s feet as he prepared to pull the trigger. However, Walker only succeeded in directing the ball past Michel Vorm and into the back of the net.
The goal gave the Red Devils a real lift as the pendulum swung in the opposite direction for the remainder of the first stanza.
Juan Mata and Memphis Depay had goal-bound efforts blocked as the half wore on, while at the opposite end of the pitch, Alderweireld’s shot from the edge of the area was comfortably gathered by Romero on the stroke of half-time.
While the first half had offered up a fair amount of goalmouth action, that was not the case after the break.
Depay fired over with an effort from 27 metres out five minutes into the second half as the tempo of the match slowed down.
United eventually opted to change things around on the hour mark, bringing on another new signing in the shape of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who took the place of Michael Carrick.
Vorm was finally called into action on 65 minutes, getting down low to keep out Ashley Young’s rightfooted effort from the edge of the area.
Depay was withdrawn from the action shortly thereafter, with Ander Herrera joining the fray, but other than Schweinsteiger’s yellow card on 69 minutes, there was a real lack of noteworthy action.
Spurs, who went into this match after a busy preseason schedule, were struggling to create clear-cut chances but had a glorious opportunity to draw level in the 84th minute. Alderweireld found Eriksen with a raking cross only for Romero to save the Dane’s shot from a tight angle.
There was a late flurry of chances for the Lilywhites though, as Chris Smalling’s deflected header was kept out by Romero before Eriksen saw his low shot snapped up by the Argentinian international.
Looking ahead to today’s Premier League fixtures, Steve McClaren officially begins his Newcastle United tenure at home to Southampton, while last season’s third-placed finishers, Arsenal, lock horns with Slaven Bilić’s West Ham United at the Emirates.
In the day’s final fixture, Liverpool will be aiming to avenge their humiliating defeat at the hands of Stoke City on the final day of last season when they renew hostilities with Mark Hughes’ side at the Britannia Stadium.