We have lift-off. United’s league season started with a good win and a performance that bodes well for the future.
With Captain Rooney, Martial and Ibrahimovic all starting, it seemed like United would have enough fire-power to overcome a side that had not improved their defensive side by much from last season where they had conceded sixty seven goals. We were still slightly apprehensive as Bournemouth won this fixture 2-1 when Van Gaal took his team there last season.
The first half wasn’t much to talk about, and United had their first shot on target just before half an hour had been played, an easy save by Boruc from Captain Wayne’s effort. Things got better five minutes before half-time when Juan Mata pounced on a mistake by Simon Francis, and though he missed with his first effort got a second bite of the cherry to make sure that United went into the break in the lead.
Fifteen minutes into the second half Rooney doubled United’s lead when a mis-hit shot by Martial landed on our captain’s head and he placed the ball beyond Boruc. Just five minutes later Zlatan Ibrahimovic took centre stage when he scored United’s third from about twenty two metres out. This meant that Ibrahimovic has now scored on his league debuts in Italy, Spain, France, England and the Champions League.
Though Smith pulled a goal back for Bournemouth with twenty minutes still to play, United’s win never looked in doubt and the 3-1 final score line was just about right as even if they weren’t dominant, they were by far the better side and Bournemouth were quite average.
Eric Bailly had another man of the match performance, and once he gets up to speed with the pace of the Premier League we should have an excellent centre-back on our books; Fellaini did very well too in his deep lying role, and though he might not be a starter once others are available, showed that there might be a place for him in Mourinho’s squad; Ander Herrera played well next to him too.
In the other games from this season’s opening weekend, everyone’s relegation favourites Hull beat Leicester 2-1, meaning this was the first time the current champions lost their first game of the season since the Premier League started in 1992 (the last time it happened was when Arsenal were beaten 4-1 by United on the opening day of the 1989-90 season); Guardiola’s City beat Moyes’ Sunderland 2-1 with the winning goal coming courtesy of ‘former United starlet’ Paddy MacNair who scored an own goal with just three minutes left to play; Conte’s Chelsea won 2-1 at home to West Ham with Diego Costa scoring a last minute winner; 4th place favourites Arsenal started their league campaign by losing 4-3 at home to L’pool, making sure their fans could boo the team on the very first day of the season; Everton drew 1-1 at home to Tottenham; Pardew’s Palace lost 1-0 against Pulis’ West Brom; Southampton and Watford shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw, as did Middlesboro and Stoke, while Swansea won 1-0 at Burnley.
Thanks to the millions of pounds that Sky TV spent on the new Premier League contract, United play their second league game on Friday the 19th (8pm UK time). The visitors will be Claude Puel’s Southampton, whose fans will hardly be thankful that they have to be in Manchester for a game that finishes just before 10pm at the start of the weekend. The clubs will probably not care so much either as the money they’re making from TV will help shut them up.
We will be hoping that this will be the start of Mourinho going on another ‘unbeaten at home’ run as he turns Old Trafford into the fortress that it used to be when Sir Alex was manager… COME ON UNITED!!!