News, updates, features and opinions on football and motor sport
Manchester United 1 – 2 Swansea
The 20-time champions kicked off the Premier League today with a home match against last season’s 12th place team, Swansea. With Van Gaal in charge, United fans were hopeful that the misery of last season would soon be forgotten and that the winning feeling around Old Trafford would return once again. Things did not get off to a good start for United, with Ki Sung-Yung scoring in the 28th minute to give Swansea the lead. The midfielder was unmarked as he converted Nathan Dyer’s pass from the edge of the box. Van Gaal made a tactical switch at half-time by bringing on Nani in-place of Javier Hernandez. The decision seemed to pay off when Wayne Rooney equalised for United with a close-range overhead-kick early in the second-half. Rooney then came close to giving the home-side the lead moments later, but his free-kick hit the outside of the post. Swansea were not finished however and yet another defensive howler allowed Gylfi Sigurdsson to slot the ball past David De Gea and condemn United to their first opening day defeat at Old Trafford since 1972.
Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace
Arsenal left it very late at the Emirates Stadium as they got their Premier League campaign off to a winning start against manager-less Crystal Palace. All of the talk before the match had been about the shock departure of Tony Pulis as manager of Palace and everybody expected this match to be a walk-over by Arsenal. This was the case though as the away side sat-back and soaked up the Arsenal pressure from the get-go. The away side took a shock-lead in the 35th minute despite all of the Arsenal dominance. New signing, Brede Hangeland, was on hand to head in Puncheon’s corner after some poor defending by Alexis Sanchez. Arsenal pilled on the pressure once more after the re-start and were rewarded first half stoppage time when Sanchez’s free-kick was met by the unmarked Laurent Koscielny, who nodded the ball into the back of the net. The second-half was much like the first, with Arsenal in complete control of the ball. They were unable to create many chance on goal though and the crowd were becoming more and more frustrate. With only minutes remaining, Palace were reduced to ten-men after Puncheon was shown a second-yellow for a late challenge on Nacho Monreal. This allowed Arsenal to attack even more and they finally found the back of the net in added-time when Mathieu Debuchy’s shot was parried by Julian Speroni into the path of Aaron Ramsey, who tapped the ball in from close range.
West Brom 2-2 Sunderland
Saido Berahino was the saviour for West Brom at the Hawthorns as they came from behind to earn themselves a point against Sunderland in an entertaining match. The away side took the lead after just five minutes when some poor defending allowed Wes Brown to head the ball into the path of Lee Cattermole, who smashed the ball into the back of the net from 25 yards. Sunderland should have doubled their lead in the 31st minute, but Valentin Roberge’s header went just wide. West Brom levelled the match thanks to a controversial penalty decision in the 42nd minute after Roberge pulled down Victor Anichebe, who appeared to go down despite their being little contact. Both teams had goals disallowed early in the second-half, with Craig Dawson and Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher both having headed efforts ruled-out. Dawson’s goal wasn’t initially given anyway but the goal-line technology system confirmed that if a foul had not been given, the goal would have stood. The Baggies continued to push and they were rewarded in the 74th minute when Craig Gardner’s cross was volleyed into the net by Berahino. Gus Poyet’s men refused to be beaten though as scored a late equaliser when Patrick Van Aanholt’s pull-back was superbly placed into the bottom corner by Sebastian Larsson.
Leicester 2-2 Everton
QPR 0-1 Hull
Stoke 0-1 Aston Villa
West Ham 0-1 Tottenham
Tomorrows games are set to be just as exciting as todays as the top two teams from last season play their first games of the Premier League 2014/15. Liverpool take on Southampton at Anfield before Manchester City travel to St.James’ Park to play Newcastle.