Manchester United get off to winning start against Spurs
Louis Van Gaal’s side sluggish at times but Kyle Walker own goal secures three points
Wayne Rooney and Memphis Depay celebrate after Kyle Walker’s own goal gave Manchester United the lead against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford. Photograph: Getty
Manchester United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0
David de Gea watched from the stands as Manchester United kicked off the Premier League season with a narrow yet comfortable win over Tottenham at Old Trafford.
Kyle Walker stabbed the ball into his own net in the 22nd minute to hand Louis van Gaal’s new-look United side a 1-0 win in the first match of the campaign.
United boss Van Gaal handed debuts to five players in all, including Sergio Romero, who started in goal after Van Gaal claimed De Gea was not able to focus on his game following interest from Real Madrid.
The Spaniard watched on from the directors’ box as Memphis Depay made an impressive debut.
The Dutchman played a key part in the counter that led to the United goal, which came when Walker accidentally prodded the ball in as Wayne Rooney prepared to shoot.
Although the margin of victory was narrow, United barely looked in trouble, thanks mainly to Tottenham’s lack of a drive in midfield, which left Harry Kane starved of service up front.
United were wearing a new kit, Old Trafford sported a new adidas logo in the stands and four new signings were named in the starting XI.
But the hosts’ performance in the opening stages was very much reminiscent of the old United side who struggled at the start of last season.
Defensively, United looked rusty and despite playing two midweek friendlies in Germany, Spurs were full of energy early on.
Romero, like his defenders, looked tense on debut. The Argentinian, who joined United on a free transfer less than two weeks ago, caused a couple of hairy moments with sloppy passes early on, but then put a crucial block in on Walker.
A few minutes later, Walker was left red-faced as he put United ahead.
United countered through Juan Mata and Depay after Nabil Bentaleb’s mis-placed pass. The Dutchman found Young and he squared to Rooney. As the captain readied himself for the shot, Walker did the job for him, nudging the ball past Michel Vorm, who was deputising for the injured Hugo Lloris in the away goal.
United dominated for the rest of the first half, but could not double their lead despite efforts from Mata and the impressive Depay.
The game hit a lull after the break. Depay twisted and turned on the edge of the box before shooting over.
Romero calmly collected a dangerous free-kick from Eriksen, but otherwise Spurs looked toothless in attack. Kane, isolated on his own up front, barely had any time on the ball.
Wayne Rooney tried — and failed — to score with an acrobatic effort 17 minutes from time and Young squirmed a low shot into Vorm’s arms as United pushed for a second.
In the dying stages Tottenham launched a series of attacks, but Romero saved their best effort from Eriksen and Van Gaal’s men held on to record a welcome home win.