Manchester: Louis van Gaal’s first Premier League game in charge of Manchester United ended in a 1-2 defeat to Swansea City on Saturday with his new team looking well short of title material.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, back at Swansea after signing from Tottenham Hotspur, fired in the 72nd minute winner from close range to stun the hosts who had drawn level through skipper Wayne Rooney shortly after halftime.
“Of course, it is very disappointing — for the players, fans, for me and my staff,” said Van Gaal after United’s first opening day home top-flight loss for 42 years.
“When you have (pre-season) preparation time and you win everything and then in your first match you lose — it cannot be worse I believe. We built up a lot of confidence and it will be smashed down because of this result,” he added.
Managerless Crystal Palace’s week took another turn for the worse when they conceded a stoppage-time goal in a 1-2 defeat at Arsenal.
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey pounced as the clock moved past 90 minutes to complete a comeback win for the Gunners who had trailed after 35 minutes to a Brede Hangeland header.
Arsenal equalised on the stroke of halftime when Laurent Koscielny headed in a free kick from new signing Alexis Sanchez. Palace, who were rocked by manager Tony Pulis’s shock exit on Thursday, seemed to have earned a point with a stubborn defensive display but Welshman Ramsey tucked in a rebound after Mathieu Debuchy’s shot was half-saved by Julian Speroni.
Palace had been reduced to 10 men shortly before Arsenal’s late winner when Jason Puncheon received a second yellow card.
Tottenham Hotspur’s 10th manager in 14 years began the club’s latest chapter with a 1-0 victory at West Ham United thanks to their new central defender Eric Dier.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side dug deep after having fullback Kyle Naughton harshly sent off in the first half for handball and rode their luck when West Ham midfielder Mark Noble wasted the resulting penalty at Upton Park.
After that encouraging pre-season there was a renewed air of confidence around Old Trafford as fans looked for a winning start from Dutchman Van Gaal and his much heralded 3-5-2 formation.
But by halftime the mood had changed with United trailing and the formation abandoned after 45 minutes of slow and shapeless football.