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Swansea 1 – Manchester United 4: A brace apiece from Van Persie and Welbeck (Video)

Aug 17, 2013, 2:34 PM EDT

(Watch full replay of the game above)

Manchester United just may have quelled the fears of the majority of its fanbase with an emphatic 4-1 victory against Swansea in their opening match of the season. Robin Van Persie and Danny Welbeck each scored a brace, while Wayne Rooney was instrumental in the two second half goals. Meanwhile the hosts had to be content with a consolation goal from new boy Wilfried Bony.

Manchester United may have been the ones defending the title, but for the majority of the first half, Swansea looked the better side. The Swans had more of the possession and their passing was crisper and more accurate. Yet it was the visitors that went into the break with a 2-0 lead, thanks to two goals inside two minutes.

A pass up the middle from Ryan Giggs found Van Persie lurking in front of goal. The Dutchman chested the ball down toward his right foot before volleying past Michel Vorm and into the top right corner. It was a beautiful goal and a magnificent start to Van Persie’s second season with United, but it’s quite possible David Moyes was even more ecstatic than the goalscorer.

The new Manchester United manager was even more thrilled, then, when two minutes later Welbeck scored his side’s second. Van Persie couldn’t quite direct his header toward goal, but was successful in knocking it down for Antonio Valencia. The winger sent the ball across the face of goal, where Welbeck was waiting to tap in from close range.

Despite a sudden downpour, Swansea got off to a bright start after play resumed. Record signing Wilfried Bony came on at the start of the second half, as did Pablo Hernandez, while Leon Britton and Wayne Routledge gave way. Just five minutes after the restart, Michu set about troubling the United defense, with a sharp kick forcing De Gea into a save. The United keeper managed to recover the spilled shot before Nathan Dyer could latch on to the ball.

(WATCH: Highlights of Manchester United’s win over Swansea)

With around 30 minutes to play, it was time for Wayne Rooney to step on to the pitch, replacing the venerable Giggs. A few boos rang out around Liberty Stadium, but there’s no telling, really, if any of those were emanating from the away support. But just a few minutes after Rooney stepped on to the pitch, the United supporters may have been justified in throwing a few insults at the forward. Welbeck broke free with plenty of space in the Swansea area, and had the option of picking out Van Persie or Rooney with his pass. Alas, he choose Rooney, who’d put his head into the clouds and drifted into a clearly offside position.

But Rooney redeemed himself in the 72nd minute. Van Persie picked up the ball near the halfway line and took it toward goal himself, picking his way through the Swans players. Yet it was Rooney’s crucial run, which pulled away the Swansea defense, that allowed Van Persie plenty of space to snap a left-footed shot into the top left corner, giving United the 3-0 lead. That move stopped the snide remarks and had the away support chanting Rooney’s name.

Swansea did manage to pick up a consolation prize in the 82nd minute when Wilfried Bony scored in his league debut. Pablo Hernandez, on at halftime, took advantage of some confusion in the United defense, slipping through the red shirts to steal the ball. Hernanez slid his pass over to Bony, who slotted it neatly past David de Gea to put the Swans on the board.

Yet Manchester United refused to stop until they claimed the spot at the top of the table. Danny Welbeck scored his second in extra time, with the help of Wayne Rooney once again. Rooney executed a lovely little turn before slipping the ball toward Welbeck, who was racing up the right. Welbeck almost made it look too easy, dinking the ball over the head of Vorm and into the back of the net for a 4-1 United win.

Lineups

Swansea: Michel Vorm, Ben Davies, Ashley Williams, Chico Flores, Angel Rangel, Leon Britton (Wilfried Bony 46), Jose Canas (Ki Sung-Yueng 77), Wayne Routledge (Pablo Hernández 46), Jonjo Shelvey, Nathan Dyer, Michu

Substitutes not used: Gerhard Tremmel, Jordi Amat, Neil Taylor, Alejandro Pozuelo

Manchester United: David de Gea, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Ryan Giggs (Wayne Rooney 62), Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Robin van Persie (Anderson 86), Antonio Valencia

Substitutes not used: Anders Lindegaard, Chris Smalling, Fabio, Shinji Kagawa, Wilfried Zaha

  1. drewvt6 - Aug 17, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    RVP and Wellbeck are fantastic, BUT I just wanna say Ryan Giggs is older than some of the Premier League managers. While his former teammates are on the sidelines at places like Stoke, he’s setting up game winners ON the field.

  2. footballer4ever - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    Ryan Giggs is an iron footballer who keeps excelling at a demanding football club like Man United. I wonder if he missed out on the chance to retire on a championship year like Scholes and Ferguson did. Let’s hope he leaves the game gracefully as he’s been nothing but a class act and great worlwide known and respected footballer.

  3. bman0921 - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    What else can be said about Giggs that hasn’t been said before? The dude is world class, without a doubt among the best to ever wear a Man Utd uniform. But with that said, he was careless in possession and gave the ball away far too easily today, at one point even forgoing a breakaway and a shot on goal, instead choosing to slow the ball up, then attempting to thread a pass through 3 defenders. A younger Giggs would have had the goalie fishing the ball out of the back of the net. Hopefully we don’t see him in that 10 spot behind the striker very much this season, because, for one, he wasn’t very good at it, and for two, that would mean Wayne Rooney isn’t on the team. In any case, it is a crime that, without Rooney starting, Kagawa didn’t get the nod ahead of Giggs, since that is Kagawa’s natural position, and doesn’t seem to bode well for his chances under Moyes.

    I also wonder about Chicharito’s status with the team; I have a hunch he might get sold before the transfer window closes. I have no reason to believe this besides circumstantial evidence: he didn’t feature at all during the preseason and didn’t even make the bench in today’s game. I know he’s been “hurt” but so has everyone else linked with a transfer, not to mention, that’s the longest hamstring injury I’ve ever heard of. He only started 9 league games last year and can’t expect to feature much more this term. He’s waay too good to be sitting on the bench, especially with so many teams needing strikers and him needing playing time ahead of the 2014 World Cup (assuming Mexico makes it). Oh and the same goes for Nani for all the same reasons.

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