All the pre match talk was of the surprising omission of David De Gea and who would replace him. Sergio Romero got the nod, with debuts for Darmian, Schneiderlin and Depay.
Spurs started the game the brighter with Eriksson having the first chance of the game after 4 minutes, Eriksson’s attempted lob over Romero landed just over the bar. Romero was called into action again after 10 minutes with another comfortable save with United struggling to get a foothold in the game.
With Blind seemingly LVG’s first choice centre back paired today with Chris Smalling the duo looked uncomfortable early on against Kane and co. It was a mistake from Bentaleb whose terrible pass allowed United to nick possession with the ball eventually falling at Rooney’s feet just outside the 6 yard box. A rusty Rooney took a terrible first touch which enabled Kyle Walker to intercept only to roll the ball into his own net on 20 minutes.
The goal seemed to settle United with Memphis slowly finding his feet and dropping into some excellent pockets of space in behind Rooney, Young and Naughton were having a great tussle all afternoon down the left wing who was well supported by Luke Shaw. Juan Mata looked lively on the right and he had an opportunity from a dangerous free kick on 26 minutes only to see his strike hit the wall. Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick seemed to be pulling the strings in midfield stringing together an array of passes albeit without no real end product. The final 10 minutes of the first half seemed to played out with both teams content for the whistle to blow at 1-0.
The second half began with a chance for Memphis on 49minutes, the crowd urging him to shoot from outside the area, United’s new number 7 obliged, but his shot went high over the bar. The biggest cheer of the game came on 50 minutes when fans got to see the sight of Bastien Schweinsteiger warming up. United were seemingly controlling the game without any conviction but the ever troublesome Eriksson called a more confident Romero into action again on 57 minutes with a free kick which he comfortably held.
Enter Schweinsteiger on 60 minutes, replacing Carrick with a rapturous reception after the second half had so far been a stop start affair, it didn’t take long for the German to be called in to action and was in the thick of it straight away earning himself a booking within 10 minutes of being on the pitch. The world cup winner spread cross field a pass to Rooney who kept the ball in play, switched the ball to Ashley Young who on 64 minutes had amazingly United’s first shot on target, saved by Vorm at the near post.
For a curtain raiser the game never really hit the heights we had hoped, it definitely had a feel of a pre season friendly, all to evident with Mata going down with cramp in the Manchester sunshine. Fatigue looked like it affected both sides with Spurs having the chances late on, inevitable with a team holding a narrow lead but United never looked particularly troubled. With all the rumours regarding Harry Kane, he had a relatively quiet game, marshalled well by Chris Smalling.
All in all United will take the 3 points and move on, comparing this performance to that of the opening day defeat to Swansea last year will fans with confidence that this United is far more equipped to make an assault at winning our title back again.
Star man – Ashley Young