Barclays Premier League
Swansea City vs. Manchester United
Venue: Liberty Stadium
Date: Sunday, 30 August 2015
Kick-off: 16:00 BST
Manchester United’s unbeaten run this season ended with a 2-1 defeat away at Swansea City.
Juan Mata’s opener early in the second half looked to give the visitors a platform to build on, but two quickfire goals from Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis midway through the half secured a comeback win for the Swans at the Liberty Stadium.
This was the third consecutive 2-1 victory for Swansea in this fixture, and the fourth in five games, rubberstamping their crown as United’s bogey team.
It was a bright start by United, and Kyle Naughton’s foul on Memphis allowed the latter to get a shot on goal from the resulting free-kick, but Lukasz Fabianski parried the effort away from harm.
Memphis then found Ander Herrera, whose flick set up fellow Spaniard Mata, but he sliced his effort high and wide.
The same combination was involved again, as Memphis’ in-field run found Herrera, whose neat footwork inside the box allowed him to set up Mata, but his shot under pressure fell wide of Fabianski’s left-hand post.
An exquisite ball with the outside of his boot by Ayew set Gomis free, but he sliced his effort wide.
A short free-kick routine then caught United out, as Jonjo Shelvey’s ball through ended up with Gylfi Sigurdsson, but his effort fell just wide.
Shelvey’s effort was held after Sergio Romero’s poor free-kick landed at the midfielder’s feet, before the former found Gomis, who made his way into the penalty area, only for his outside of the foot effort to clip the post on its way through for a goal-kick.
Chris Smalling’s forward header was volleyed over by Wayne Rooney when a fainter touch was needed, before Herrera slipped in the United skipper, but his soft dink was held with ease.
Herrera himself saw a left foot effort fall just wide, as bookings for Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis, and Swansea’s Wayne Routledge were the last notable acts of the first half.
Into the second half and Shelvey saw a free-kick held before United took the lead.
Luke Shaw’s cross from the left evaded Rooney, but there was Mata, steaming in at the back post to fire the ball into the net.
Just two minutes later and Ashley Williams sliced Memphis’ cross high into the air, with Fabianski having to tip the ball away from safety.
Memphis found Herrera who slipped in Mata, but his tame shot was comfortably saved by Fabianski, who had his near post angles covered.
United’s failure to add a second goal was ultimately their downfall, and after losing possession in a promising area, Williams broke to find Sigurdsson on the right, whose delightful cross was headed home by Ayew.
United barely composed themselves before falling behind less than five minutes later, as Ayew’s outside of the foot pass found Gomis, who slipped the ball underneath Romero, when the Argentine keeper should have done better.
Chances were few and far between for United, as the long balls and crosses commenced with the introduction of Marouane Fellaini, after he completed his three match league ban after his red card on the final day of last season.
Rooney went down under the challenge of Williams in the 88th minute, but referee Martin Atkinson deemed it no penalty, as Swansea held out for their third straight win over United.
The team from South Wales remain the only side that Louis van Gaal has yet to take at least a point off in his time in charge, a sour note to end his 50th match as boss of United.
Games don’t come bigger than the next one, when Liverpool will be the visitors to Old Trafford on Saturday 12 September, with a 17:30 BST kick-off time, after the international break.
Manchester United: Romero; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Schneiderlin (Carrick 70), Schweinsteiger; Mata (Young 70), Herrera (Fellaini 77), Memphis; Rooney.
Subs: Johnstone, McNair, Valencia, Carrick, Young, Fellaini, Hernandez.
Manager: Louis van Gaal
Swansea City: Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor; Cork, Shelvey (Bartley 89); Routledge (Ki 58), Sigurdsson, Ayew; Gomis (Eder 81).
Subs: Nordfeldt, Ki, Dyer, Tabanou, Eder, Rangel, Bartley.
Manager: Gary Monk