In the first round of matches decided on Saturday in the Barclays Premier League, Manchester United slumped to a shocking 2-1 home defeat to Swansea City, as new manager Louis van Gaal began his reign at Old Trafford on a losing note.
It was an imperfect start for the 63-year-old world famous Dutch tactician, who maintained a perfect six wins out of six during pre-season games, but suffered what looks like a hangover of David Moyes’ era to an imperfect bow yesterday afternoon.
The defeat was United’s first on home turf in the Barclays Premier League era in a season opener, and their first at the Theatre of Dreams since 1972 in a league opener.
Van Gaal started with his favourite 3-5-2 system with Chris Smalling at the heart of United’s defence, partnering Phil Jones and 20-year-old England left-back Tyler Blackett.
The Swans scored first through South Korean forward Ki Sung-Yeung in the 28th minute, United switched to a 4-4-1-1 formation in the second-half and skipper of the side Wayne Rooney equalised via an acrobatic kick from Juan Mata’s corner kick in the 58th minute.
But Rooney’s effort wasn’t enough as United fell to defeat after Gylfi
Sigurdsson scored from close range in the 72nd minute to seal a famous victory for Gary Monk’s side.
At Upton Park on Saturday, Tottenham snatched a dramatic 1-0 win against West Ham United courtesy of a goal by England defender Eric Dier on his debut after a summer move from Sporting Lisbon.
Dier netted three minutes into injury time as a game full of controversy ended in Mauricio Pochettino men’s favour. The former Southampton boss made his Spurs managerial debut on the day.
Earlier, Tottenham had Kyle Naughton harshly sent off for handball on 30 minutes, but Mark Noble missed the resulting penalty, and the game ended 10-apiece with West Ham defender James Collins also dismissed for a second bookable offence.
However, the game came to it’s hilarious climax when a fan invaded the pitch while Christian Eriksson was about taking a free-kick for Spurs in the 64th minute. The rude boy evaded stewards at the venue, shot the ball wide, game was stopped and he was later apprehended and taken into police custody.
Aston Villa also beat Stoke City 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium, with Andi Weimann’s 50th minute goal the difference as they took three points.
Hull City picked up where they left off last season with a 1-0 win over play-off winners QPR. The Tigers grabbed the only goal on 52 when defender James Chester brushed off Rio Ferdinand to head home but they were indebted to keeper Allan McGregor, who made a late penalty save from Charlie Austin, for their victory.
West Brom and Sunderland played out an exciting 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns, where Lee Cattermole got the visitors off to a quick start with a fifth minute goal.
Saido Berahino levelled from the penalty spot three minutes before half-time and put the home side in front on 74th minute, but Sebastian Larsson earned Gus Poyet’s side a point five minutes before the final whistle.
In the last duel of the day at the Emirates Stadium between FA Cup winners Arsenal and managerless Crystal Palace, it was a dramatic encounter as the Eagles endured a horrible end to a horrible week.
Keith Millen was Palace’s caretaker manager on the day after Tony Pulis’ surprise resignation on Thursday.
Palace debutant Brede Hangeland gave them the lead on the 35th minute while Laurent Koscielny equalised on the verge of half-time for the Gunners.
Jason Puncheon was shown a red card in the second-half for a second bookable felony and Aaron Ramsey sealed the maximum first three points of the season for the Gunners in the first minute of five-minute stoppage time.