Swansea welcome Van Gaal to the Premier League
After a long three months without league football, the Premier league was back last weekend and it all kicked off at Old Trafford with Manchester United playing host to Swansea City. Once again the new season sees a new era at Manchester United, with Louis Van Gaal talking over for caretaker manager Ryan Giggs, who will now go back to a coaching role under the Dutch Coach. Van Gaal’s arrival at Manchester United meant a new system for the players to learn and adapt to.
5-3-2 or 3-5-2, formations that appear very similar but you just have to look at two instances of when Van Gaal has employed to show that they can be very different not only in the shape but in the players employed in each role. It can be used efficiently when either wingers or technically gifted wing backs are used in the wide positions but only if they are set up in a shape that fits and compliments their players with tactics to fit as well. This was something Manchester United didn’t do in Saturday’s early kick-off, they played young and Lingard in the wing back positions two players who don’t play in defensive positions, naturally, and so were not well enough equipped to deal with Swansea’s wide players.
Swansea are a team that, in my eyes, are under rated by most people. Yes they have lost a lo of their big players from last season but they have recruited very well bringing a lot of Premier League quality players. They have brought in Gylfi Sigurdsson and Gomis in attack as well as having Ki return from loan and bringing in Lukas Fabianski to replace Michel Vorm. Another player they have brought in who looks very promising is Jefferson Montero, who’s pace frightened the Manchester United defense.
This all made for a very interesting start of the season match up which would otherwise, have most likely been, a very one sided affair, in Manchester United’s favor. Swansea countered Manchester United’s formation by only playing one striker which allowed them to overflow the midfield and unlike in pre-season Gylfi Sigurdsson was played in a central role which was pivitol in Swansea’s performance. Louis Van Gaal couldn’t possibly have asked for an, seemingly easier, debut than against the youngest manager in the league’s new look side, in the form of Gary Monk’s Swansea. With new signing Luke Shaw injured and star striker Robin Van Persie Injured there were starts for Hernandez and Ashley Young.
Manchester United’s Starting XI: David De Gea, Tyler Blackett, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Steven Fletcher, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney(Captain) and Javier Hernandez.
Swansea City Starting XI; Lukas Fabianski, Neil Taylor, Ashley Williams(Captain), Jordi Amat, Angel Rangel, Jonjo Shelvey, Ki Sung-Yeung, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and Wilfried Bony.
Manchester United Bench: Adnan Januzaj, Nani, Shinji Kagawa, Marouane Fellani, Michael Keane, Ben Amos, Reece James.
Swansea City Bench: Bafetimbi Gomis, Dwight Tiendalli, Jefferson Montero, Gerhard Tremmel, Kyle Bartley, Jazz Richards, Josh sheehan.
An early dipping shot from new signing Sigurdsson was well saved by De Gea after Swansea edged out the early exchanges. Lingard injured his foot after going boot to boot with Swansea center back Ashley Williams, which resulted in him being subbed off for Adnan Januzaj just after the twenty minute mark. Good, one touch Link play, down the right hand side led to a free-kick right on the edge of the box after Williams brought down the advancing Phil Jones.
A lengthy spell of possession, in which Gylfi Sigurdsson found space to the right of the box, he then passed the ball to the oncoming Ki who was in acres of space and slotted the ball in to the back of the net from 18 yards whilst Bony held off the only Manchester United player trying to block the shot, Phil Jones. Ki who was on loan last season had a strong game and got the swans off the mark in the twenty seventh minute. That goal led to great noise from the Swansea fans who were singing “Your getting sacked in the morning” to Louis Van Gaal.
Early in the second half Januzaj got Manchester United a corner after running around the Swansea defense, the corner was converted by Captain Wayne Rooney with an over head kick which gave Fabianski no chance to save it. Belief began to grow around Old Trafford as the Red Devils searched for a second with Manchester United having the majority of the possession. Rooney nearly doubled his tally but hit the post from a cheap free kick given away by Jordi Amat.
A quick free kick taken by Wilfried Bony found Sigurdsson who sent it down the wing to Montero who;s cross found Routledge who couldn’t finish and miss kicked the ball. The ball found its way to Gylfi Sigurdsson who tapped the ball in to give the Swans the lead. It was all Manchester United from there but they couldn’t find a way to break the Swansea defense and in the end Sigurdsson’s goal gave the Swans all three points and their first league win at Old Trafford ever.
Louis Van Gaal lost his first league match as Manchester United manager but you should take nothing away from Gary Monk’s Swansea City, they were the better side. Louis Van Gaal says the reason Manchester United were beaten was that “they did not play as a team” with his opposition manager saying his team “still had things to work on.”
On further analysis Swansea’s first goal was not the fault of Manchester United’s defensive midfielders, Fletcher and Herrera who were otherwise engaged, but of Juan Mata for not tracking back and covering his team mates. The second goal can be put down to the inexperience of Blackett who gave the ball back to Swansea rather than leaving it where it was but that is no excuse for Manchester United’s poor marking and defending.
The fear factor could now have well and truly left Manchester United with this season not looking any better from the off. Are Manchester United fans getting use to poor football and poor results or do they believe they can turn it around. Can Louis Van Gaal turn their fortunes around or will Man Utd drop further who know?