Barclays Premier League
Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Saturday, 8 August 2015
Kick-off: 12:45 BST
Manchester United kicked off the Premier League campaign and their own campaign with a 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
A narrow victory, won courtesy of an own goal by England right-back Kyle Walker midway through the first half, but three points nonetheless.
United, sporting their new kit for the first time since the Adidas deal kicked in last Saturday began slowly, and Christian Eriksen should have put the visitors ahead on five minutes, but he lobbed over the bar after meeting the end of Harry Kane’s through ball.
Matteo Darmian, arguably the most impressive of United’s new signings on the day, saw his cross held by Michel Vorm, deputising for Hugo Lloris, who was only fit for the bench due to a wrist injury.
Just minutes before his own goal, Walker found his way around the back of the United defence, but Sergio Romero made a good block as he ventured off his line to deny the Spurs number two.
It was Nabil Bentaleb who gifted possession to Juan Mata, who fed Ashley Young, fresh from signing his new contract, and the latter’s cross found Wayne Rooney, but in an attempt to prevent him from scoring, Walker stabbed the ball into the back of the net.
Jan Vertonghen was booked for a foul on Mata, and the Spaniard’s resulting free-kick struck the wall, before the ball ended up at the feet of Memphis Depay, but his effort was blocked.
Mata against saw an attempt blocked, before his bouncing shot on the rebound fell wide of Vorm’s post, as United regained control of the game after taking the lead, and headed into half-time one up.
Memphis saw a speculative effort on his weaker left foot fly over the bar from 25 yards after a neat move, whilst Darmian made a vital intervention to thwart a promising Spurs attack.
Mata’s cross from the right fell to Young, who cut inside onto his right foot, but his low drive was held by Vorm.
Eric Dier was booked for a foul on Young, only for Rooney to curl the resulting effort over the bar without troubling before Chris Smalling, who looked reassured throughout the game, made a vital challenge on Nacer Chadli.
A Spurs free-kick saw Kane claim highest to win the header, as Romero had to stretch to turn the ball away low to his right, before Eriksen’s powerful shot was also well saved by the Argentine, as the Old Trafford faithful bellowed out the Debutant’s name, as the final whistle brought an end to the opening game of the season.
You can’t ask for more than three points from any game, although the performance was a little shaky, but Louis van Gaal will know that.
A grinder of a win whilst keeping a clean sheet with two new signings in the back five and Daley Blind playing out of position at centre-halve is a good sign for now, but there is much to ponder going forward.
A trip to the Midlands awaits next, with Aston Villa away on Friday at 19:45 BST United’s next league fixture.
An unusual time for a game, but an EDL march next Saturday and United’s Champions League play-off game a week on Tuesday has dictated this, where Van Gaal will be looking for another maximum points, this time from Villa Park.
Manchester United: Romero; Darmian (Valencia 81), Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Carrick (Schweinsteiger 60), Schneiderlin; Mata, Memphis (Herrera 68), Young; Rooney.
Subs not used: Johnstone, Hernandez, McNair, Pereira.
Manager: Louis van Gaal.
Tottenham Hotspur: Vorm; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier (Ali 77), Bentaleb (Mason 53) ; Chadli, Eriksen, Dembele (Lamela 68); Kane.
Subs not used: Lloris, Trippier, Wimmer, Carroll.
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino.