Scorers: Memphis ‘45+4, Rooney ’46, Mata ‘90 | 26 September 2015 | Old Trafford
Manchester United went top of the Barclays Premier League after dispatching a stubborn Sunderland outfit by three goals to nil with strikes from Memphis, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata.
Memphis put United in front deep into first-half injury time following a tricky opening period, before captain Rooney doubled the Reds’ advantage shortly after the break. The hosts then enjoyed a comfortable second half, with Juan Mata wrapping up the result in the 90th minute, as United leapfrogged rivals City to take pole position for the first time under Louis van Gaal.
The boss made five changes to the team that started against Ipswich Town in midweek, with Matteo Darmian, Michael Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis and Anthony Martial all given the nod to start. It was a strong, attacking XI, and the Reds began the game very much on the front foot.
Two of the players reinstated to the line-up - Memphis and Martial - were heavily involved early on, linking up well with Rooney and Mata, the other half of United’s attacking quartet. The fine opening from the home side yielded its first opportunity on six minutes when a Matteo Darmian cross into the box skimmed the head of Anthony Martial, who was on the hunt for his fifth goal in five matches. A further half-chance followed only minutes later, but Memphis could not bring Carrick’s arrowed reverse ball under control.
Sunderland responded well to United’s bright start, as the Black Cats – wearing their bright green away strip – began to assert themselves on the match. Still, a John O’Shea header aside, chances remained at a minimum for the visitors as van Gaal’s men continued to probe for a break through.
The Reds were almost given an enormous helping hand midway through the opening period when a breakdown in communication between Black Cats stopper Costel Pantilimon and defender Younes Kaboul resulted in the giant keeper handling the ball outside of his area having hoofed the ball aloft and away from the prying Martial. A free-kick was awarded just outside the 18-yard box, but Juan Mata could only fire into the wall.
Frustration had begun to seep in around Old Trafford, just as Jermaine Lens caused a fright at the Stretford End as the forward forced David De Gea into a stop with his feet at the near post. A tepid free-kick from Memphis did little to ease the growing sense of tension in the stands, but the no. 7 went on to redeem himself with only seconds remaining of the first half.
United responded to a colossal roar from the Stretford End to launch one last assault on the Sunderland rearguard, as Blind picked out Mata with a pin-point ball into the box who - in turn - cushioned the ball to the Dutchman to tap home. The noise that greeted his first domestic strike highlighted the importance of the strike, with the Reds now sat in the box seat as they headed to the changing rooms for the interval.
Possession: United 61% Sunderland 39%
Shots at goal: United 6 Sunderland 3
Shots on target: United 3 Sunderland 2
Corners: United 3 Sunderland 0
Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat brought Steven Fletcher on for Adam Johnson at the start of the second half, seemingly with the hope of giving the visitors an improved goal threat. It was United, however, who were again much quicker out of the traps and were rewarded for such tenacity with a second goal only a minute after the restart.
The ever-threatening Martial received the ball from Mata on the right flank, before proceeding to outfox Younes Kaboul, allowing him to fire a pass across goal. The direct cross hit the on-rushing Wayne Rooney, directing the ball – via a slight deflection off Pantilimon – into the back of the net.
Unsurprisingly, the goal prompted a response from Sunderland who began to press United for the first time in the game. The Black Cats won a succession of corners which briefly caused the Reds some hassle, but thankfully were able to clear their lines after a Jeremain Lens free-kick landed dangerously at the far post. Another chance soon followed, but Patrick van Aanholt found De Gea in the way once again after fashioning an opportunity on the left side of United’s area.
Thereafter, it was the home side who were undisputedly in control and should have wrapped up the three points on 67 minutes. The excellent Martial evaded his marker to rush through on goal with only O’Shea and Pantilimon to beat as Memphis sprinted to join him in support. The Frenchman played in his team-mate, but the Dutchman could only aim his shot straight at the keeper.
As the game neared its conclusion, van Gaal replaced Carrick, Blind and Memphis with Schweinsteiger, Jones and Young over a ten-minute period, freshening up his side whilst also guarding against any late Sunderland threat.
That said, it was United that continued to push and Mata's effort was expertly tipped round the post by Pantilimon. Undeterred, van Gaal’s men continued to throw men forward and Juan eventually got his name on the scoresheet in the 90th minute, firing into the roof of the net from an Ashley Young cross to set the seal on a fine day at the office for the new leaders of the Barclays Premier League.
Possession: United 66% Sunderland 34%
Shots at goal: United 12 Sunderland 8
Shots on target: United 7 Sunderland 4
Corners: United 5 Sunderland 2
United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Blind (Jones 73’), Darmian, Schneiderlin, Carrick (Schweinsteiger 68’), Mata, Rooney, Memphis (Young 77’), Martial.
Subs not used: Romero, Herrera, Fellaini, Pereira.
Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, van Aanholt, O’Shea, Kaboul, Cattermole, M’Vila, Johnson (Fletcher 45’), Toivonen (Larsson 70’), Lens, Borini.
Subs not used: Mannone, Gomez, Defoe, M’Vila, Coates, Yedlin.
Booked: Johnson, Jones, Cattermole.
*Taken from Manutd.com
Goals: Rooney 23, Pereira 60, Martial 92
23 September 2015 | Old Trafford | Capital One Cup Third Round
Manchester United cruised into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup after seeing off the challenge of Ipswich Town at Old Trafford with a 3-0 victory.
After falling at the second-round hurdle to MK Dons last season, the Reds, entering a stage later this term thanks to Champions League qualification, progressed with ease against the Championship outfit thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney, Andreas Pereira, who netted his first senior goal for the Reds, and substitute Anthony Martial.
Following last season’s shock exit in Buckinghamshire, van Gaal opted for a strong first XI, which included a first start for Pereira, who lined up on the left in front of stand-in left-back Ashley Young. Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy, meanwhile, rang the changes as he named a completely different side to the one that drew 1-1 at home to Birmingham last weekend.
The Reds and Pereira almost made the perfect start two minutes in when the ball dropped to the wide man from a Mata free-kick. He smashed an effort against a post but the flag had already gone up for offside against Ander Herrera. Soon after, Pereira took aim from 25 yards but Bartosz Bialkowski did well to hold on to the well-struck drive.
Backed by large travelling support, believed to be around 5,500, Ipswich seemed content to let United have the ball. Possession has not been a problem for the Reds this term, but turning that domination into goals has at times. Thankfully, 23 minutes in, United made it count as Rooney put the hosts ahead. A long ball forward from Daley Blind was brilliantly controlled by the skipper who saw off the challenge of a defender before finishing with aplomb with his left foot.
A neat link-up between Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata on the edge of the box forced Bialkowski to make a decent save from Mata’s outside-of-the-boot strike six minutes later, while the only effort of any note from the visitors came on the stroke of half-time when Tommy Oar flashed a shot just wide of David De Gea’s right-hand post.
Possession: United 75% Ipswich 25%
Shots: United 6 Ipswich 2
Shots on target: United 3 Ipswich 0
Corners: United 0 Ipswich 2
Ipswich seemed like a different team at the start of the second period, the first five minutes of which they dominated. They pressured the ball and threw a couple of dangerous crosses into the box from the off, but United’s defence were up to the job.
Indeed, it didn’t take long for the Reds to get a grip back on the game and Antonio Valencia, in at right-back in place of Matteo Darmian, blasted a low drive at Bialkowski who punched it into the air and was relieved to see one of his defenders hook it clear.
There was nothing the Ipswich stopper could do about Pereira’s superb free-kick on the hour-mark though as the youngster netted his first senior goal in sublime fashion, curling home from 25 yards in front of the Stretford End.
Mata was next to have a go from distance, letting fly with a left-foot shot from 25 yards, but Bialkowski was there to tip it over. That was to be one of Mata’s last pieces of action with the Spaniard replaced by Martial and Phil Jones also coming on, for his first appearance of the season, in place of Chris Smalling.
Martial got into the action straight away and, two minutes after coming on, fired just wide after being set up by Rooney.
Pereira went close to netting his second of the night four minutes from time when his close-range shot was well saved, but the Ipswich keeper couldn't keep out United's man of the moment as Martial took a chested pass from fellow substitute Memphis in his stride and coolly slotted home in injury-time as the Reds deservedly booked a place in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.
Possession: United 70% Ipswich 30%
Shots: United 12 Ipswich 4
Shots on target: United 8 Ipswich 0
Corners: United 3 Ipswich 3
United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling (Jones 69), Blind, Young; Schweinsteiger, Herrera; Mata (Martial 69), Fellaini, Pereira; Rooney (Memphis 81).
Subs not used: Romero, Darmian, Carrick, Schneiderlin.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski, Yorwerth, Oar, Malarczyk, Parr, Emmanuel, Coke, Tabb (Toure 75), Bru, McGoldrick (Sears 61), Murphy (Pitman 61).
Subs not used: Crowe, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Kenlock.
MAN OF THE MATCH
VAN GAAL REACTION
"The result was great. We don’t have injuries. I brought in players, I rotated players. Phil Jones has played a lot of minutes. So I’m a happy coach."
"It’s very special for me to score my first goal, a free-kick at the Stretford End as well. It’s just like a dream come true."
*Taken from Manutd.com
Scorers: Pelle 13', 86', Martial 34' , 50', Mata 68' | 20 September 2015 | St Mary's Stadium | Att: 31,588
Anthony Martial enhanced his burgeoning reputation by scoring twice in a 3-2 win over Southampton that moves Manchester United up to second in the Barclays Premier League.
The French summer signing executed two impressively composed finishes either side of the half-time break to overturn Graziano Pelle’s opener at St Mary’s. Juan Mata enhanced the lead and Italian striker Pelle bagged his second to set up a tense finale, though the Reds held on to claim an excellent result that closes the gap on leaders Manchester City to just two points following their home defeat to West Ham.
Luke Shaw was unavailable to play against his former club after breaking his leg at PSV Eindhoven and Louis van Gaal selected Marcos Rojo to fill in at left-back, allowing Daley Blind and Chris Smalling to maintain their promising partnership in the middle. Wayne Rooney and Morgan Schneiderlin were recalled to the starting XI, with Martial also making his first Premier League start.
The match began at an even pace with both teams enjoying separate spells of possession in midfield, although it was the hosts who broke the deadlock in the 13th minute when Pelle pounced on David De Gea’s parried save from a Sadio Mane effort to shoot underneath the Spanish goalkeeper. The towering Italian, who scored in this fixture last season, then hit the outside of the post with a low shot just moments later that prompted a visibly angry De Gea to berate his defenders.
Memphis saw a looping header arc over Maarten Stekelenburg’s crossbar on 24 minutes as United – wearing the black adidas third kit – attempted to restore parity on the south coast. But it was far from easy against a home side that was defending with all 11 men behind the ball, while pressing high up the pitch with an intensity that has earned plenty of praise during Ronald Koeman’s reign as boss.
Thankfully, van Gaal’s men broke through the mass ranks to equalise in the 34th minute and it was our new no.9, Martial, who did the honours, receiving the ball on the edge of the six-yard area before showing impressive composure to execute a low finish past Stekelenburg.
United almost took an unexpected lead prior to the half-time break when Memphis intelligently played in Mata from a corner kick, with the Spaniard then slipping another pass inside for Blind to shoot wide from close-range, wrapping up an intriguing and entertaining opening 45 minutes at St Mary’s.
FIRST HALF STATISTICS
Possession: Southampton 37% United 63%
Shots at goal: Southampton 8 United 4
Shots on target: Southampton 3 United 1
Corners: Southampton 2 United 3
The second half began with both managers making tactical changes as Matt Targett replaced Cuco Martina and Antonio Valencia usurped Matteo Darmian, although Martial picked up exactly where he left off by scoring his second goal of the game on 50 minutes. This time, the 19-year-old livewire latched onto a sloppy backpass from Saints defender Maya Yoshida to execute another cool finish to inspire repeated chants of “Oh Anthony Martial” from United’s ecstatic travelling fans.
The away end was quickly singing the name of De Gea as well after the Player of the Year produced an astounding one-handed save to claw Jose Fonte’s off the line ahead of the hour mark, when van Gaal made his second substitution by introducing Bastian Schweinsteiger for Michael Carrick.
Southampton appeared to tire as the clock ticked on and United took full advantage as Memphis struck the post with a powerful effort that bounced back into the direction of Mata, who guided a neat finish into the bottom corner to bag his second goal of the season following his first at Swansea City.
Although United appeared in complete control in the final stages of Sunday’s match, as several Southampton players went down to ground with cramp, the hosts did manage to hit back and set up a tense finale as Pelle rose admirably to head Mane’s cross past a helpless De Gea.
The Spanish no.1 was then required to produce another acrobatic save to repel Victor Wanyama's long-range effort, as van Gaal’s Reds kept their calm to secure an important victory that provides a welcomed confidence boost ahead of Tuesday’s Capital One Cup clash with Ipswich Town.
Possession: Southampton 41% United 59%
Shots at goal: Southampton 15 United 10
Shots on target: Southampton 8 United 3
Corner: Southampton 5 United 5
Southampton: Stekelenburg, Yoshida, Fonte, van Dijk, Targett (Martina 45'), Wanyama, Romeu (Davis 56'), Ward-Prowse (Long 76'), Tadic, Mane, Pelle.
Subs not used: Davis, Cedric, Rodriguez, Juanmi.
Booked: Van Dijk, Fonte
United: De Gea, Darmian (Valencia 45'), Smalling, Rojo (McNair 69'), Blind, Carrick (Schweinsteiger 60'), Schneiderlin, Mata, Memphis, Rooney, Martial.
Subs not used: Romero, Herrera, Young, Fellaini.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Martial was voted Man of the Match by United fans on Twitter, with 50% of the votes in @ManUtd's poll going to the Frenchman. He beat the equally impressive David De Gea (45%), who made a string of fine saves to preserve the Reds' lead. While Schneiderlin completed the voting with 5%.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Louis van Gaal: "It's a fantastic result away at Southampton and I think we have made a statement that we shall compete for the title."
Morgan Schneiderlin: "Anthony is a very intelligent guy, very calm. Today he showed great composure and great skill and power. He will be a great player for the future of Manchester United."
Juan Mata: "We are very sorry for Luke [Shaw]. Obviously what happened to him was very unlucky but he knows we are all with him and this victory is for him."
*Taken from Manutd.com
15 September 2015 | Philips Stadion | Attendance: 35,292
Manchester United’s return to the Champions League group stage ended in disappointment as hosts PSV Eindhoven came back from conceding a goal by their former player Memphis Depay to seize a hard-fought victory with headers from Hector Moreno and Luciano Narsingh.
To make matters worse for Louis van Gaal’s side, left-back Luke Shaw was stretchered off with a serious injury midway through the first half after being challenged strongly by Hector Moreno when making a trademark surge into the area.
With Marouane Fellaini feeling unwell in the build-up to the game, Anthony Martial was presented with his first United start, three days after scoring as a substitute on his debut against Liverpool. An attacking front four also featured Juan Mata in the no.10 role with Ashley Young and Memphis – on his return to PSV – operating on the flanks.
Memphis’s name was greeted with a huge roar from the home fans when it was announced over the PA system, and he also stirred a reaction from the 1,600 travelling fans by fizzing in the first menacing cross of the match. PSV goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet snapped up that low ball with Ander Herrera closing in but he had little else to do before the first half had a lengthy pause of almost 10 minutes due to Shaw’s awful injury and the need to prepare him carefully for a stretcher journey from the pitch. When the stricken left-back was eventually carried off, it was to warm applause from all sections of the crowd.
The first real incident when play resumed was a relatively routine save for David De Gea, although the shot from PSV left winger Maxime Lestienne was certainly well struck. Martial headed narrowly wide when given a half-chance to open the scoring but the deadlock would soon be broken by that man Memphis.
Fed by Daley Blind, United’s no.7 shrugged off Arias and skipped past a second defender before beating Zoet with an emphatic finish. It was a tremendous goal by the 21-year-old and he almost scored a second from a similar angle in the very next attack, a three-on-three break led by Juan Mata and comprising Martial too, but this time his shot whistled the wrong side of the far post.
At that stage it seemed like the floodgates might open for van Gaal’s men, especially when centre-back Chris Smalling fleetingly became a centre-forward and had a fierce strike pushed brilliantly aside by Zoet. But after twice threatening to double the advantage, the Reds surrendered it just before the interval when Lestienne’s corner was met with conviction by Moreno and his downward header was inadvertently diverted beyond De Gea by Blind to make the half-time score 1-1.
With Martial leading the line confidently and holding the ball up well with his back to goal, United fashioned the first notable shot after the break when the Frenchman teed up Memphis and the Dutchman drilled one into the keeper’s clutches.
The quick tempo continued to the visitors’ cost in the 57th minute, however, when Lestienne broke free down the left. His first-time cross just eluded Rojo and was buried at the far post by Narsingh’s diving header to put PSV in front. The Reds spurned a great opportunity to get quickly back on level terms, with Mata’s control uncharacteristically letting him down when Bastian Schweinsteiger picked him out with a sublime ball into the six-yard box.
Martial was another player who felt he should have done better, when he planted a shot across the face of goal after being played in by Memphis. His frustrated reaction reflected the growing sense that this wasn’t to be United’s night and so it proved with PSV defending stoutly to protect their three points, and occasionally counter-attacking with Luuk de Jong firing high and wide.
The home fans and players lapped up the taste of victory while the United squad were left to lick their wounds, with one of those wounds - to Shaw - being particularly painful and serious.
Possession: PSV 33% United 67%
Shots: PSV 6 United 17
Shots on target: PSV 4 United 5
Corners: PSV 3 United 9
PSV Eindhoven: Zoet; Arias, Bruma, Moreno, Brenet; Hendrix; Propper, Guardado (Schaars 72); Narsingh, De Jong, Lestienne (Locadia 86). Substitutes not used: Pasveer, Pereiro, Poulsen, Vloet, De Wijs.
Booked: Arias, Moreno, Bruma.
United: De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw (Rojo 24); Schweinsteiger, Herrera (Fellaini 75); Young (Valencia 86), Mata, Memphis; Martial. Substitutes not used: Romero, McNair, Carrick, Schneiderlin.
*Taken from Manutd.com
Scorers: Blind 48, Herrera 70pen, Martial 86; Benteke 84 | 12 September 2015 | Old Trafford | Att: 75,347
Manchester United earned another victory to savour against Liverpool with Anthony Martial scoring on a dream debut to ensure a 3-1 triumph at Old Trafford.
The visitors looked to have set up a nervous finale when Christian Benteke's spectacular strike replied to earlier goals by Daley Blind and Ander Herrera. However, Martial took centre stage by announcing his arrival with a superb solo third.
David De Gea made his return in goal but was a bystander for much of the first half as United dominated possession but, without injured skipper Wayne Rooney, failed to test Simon Mignolet.
The visiting keeper still looked edgy with Juan Mata intercepting an early clearance and presenting a great chance to lone striker Marouane Fellaini, who lifted it well off target. Unfortunately, that proved to be the only opening of the half with the Merseysiders content to hold United at bay.
Nathaniel Clyne mustered a rare attempt from long range on 19 minutes and a Memphis Depay cross was diverted behind Mignolet's goal but there was little in the way of genuine excitement. For all the Reds' dominance of the play, there was a sigh of relief when Benteke broke clear on goal and the offside flag was raised, even if the striker screwed his finish wide in any case.
Possession: United 61% Liverpool 39%
Shots: United 2 Liverpool 1
Shots on target: United 0 Liverpool 0
Corners: United 3 Liverpool 0
As in the last game at Swansea City, the Reds started the second period with a goal. Half-time substitute Ashley Young, on for Memphis, was fouled by Clyne on the edge of the box and Mata rolled the free-kick to an unmarked Blind. The Dutch defender directed an unerring finish into the top corner of the net with Mignolet well beaten.
The crowd erupted and the players responded with a spell of concerted pressure but Bastian Schweinsteiger was unable to control the ball when in a dangerous position. Back came Liverpool and De Gea's poor clearance eventually led to a Roberto Firmino cross that was well cleared by Chris Smalling. De Gea made a superb stop when clawing away a Danny Ings effort at the far post, following great chest control by the ex-Burnley striker, and, after Young sent a free-kick over the bar, Blind had to clear off the line when Martin Skrtel's header bounced goalwards off Firmino.
Martial was introduced for his debut in place of Mata and the hosts soon went further ahead when Michael Carrick's astute pass fed Herrera inside the box. The no.21 was felled by a reckless sliding tackle by Joe Gomez and referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot. With his friend Mata off the pitch, up stepped Herrera to smash the ball past Mignolet.
Benteke headed over as Brendan Rodgers' men tried to find a route back into the match and substitute Jordon Ibe worked his way past Shaw only to find a diving De Gea equal to his powerful drive. It did not stop Liverpool pulling one back as Benteke launched into an acrobatic volley that ensured he scored in his third successive match against United following his exploits with Aston Villa.
Thankfully, any tension was soon lifted by the majestic Martial who danced through the Liverpool defence and planted the calmest of finishes wide of Mignolet to spark wild celebrations in front of the adoring Stretford End. It was a moment of sheer genius and promises much for the future, instantly affording him hero status with the fans.
The manager left the field to the cries of "Louis van Gaal's red-and-white army" at the end after a day to remember at the Theatre of Dreams.
Possession: United 56% Liverpool 44%
Shots: United 9 Liverpool 8
Shots on target: United 3 Liverpool 4
Corners: United 4 Liverpool 4
United: De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Carrick (Schneiderlin 71), Schweinsteiger; Mata (Martial 65), Herrera, Memphis (Young 46); Fellaini. Substitutes: Romero, McNair, Rojo, Valencia.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Skrtel, Lovren, Gomez; Can, Lucas (Moreno 87), Milner; Ings (Origi 74), Benteke, Firmino (Ibe 65). Substitutes: Bogdan, Toure, Sakho, Rossiter.
Booked: Clyne, Milner.
Louis van Gaal: "We controlled the match until the first goal, and after that we brought Liverpool again into a match. But we have scored wonderful goals and then the entrance of our player, Anthony Martial, only 19 years old, and he scored with his second or third touch and the way he did it was fantastic."
Brendan Rodgers: "We were back in the game at 2-1 and looking like we could get maybe get something but we then conceded within a minute or so, and so the game is dead. There was plenty of effort and plenty of commitment but we need to be better with the ball."
MAN OF THE MATCH VOTE
Daley Blind 58%, Anthony Martial 29%, Ashley Young 13%.
*Taken from Manutd.com
Manchester United is delighted to announce that Anthony Martial has completed his transfer from AS Monaco. Anthony joins on a four-year contract with the option to extend for a further year.
Martial, 19, has made 70 appearances for AS Monaco since joining in 2013 and has scored 15 goals. The forward has represented his country from Under-16 level right through to Under-21, and was called up to France's senior national squad for the first time on 28 August.
Anthony Martial said: "I am so excited to be joining Manchester United. I have enjoyed my time at AS Monaco and I would like to thank them and the fans for everything they have done for me.
"I have always wanted to play in the Premier League and to join the biggest club in the world is what every young footballer dreams of. I am looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and working with Louis van Gaal who has achieved so much in his career."
Louis van Gaal commented: "Anthony is a naturally talented, young, multi-functional forward with great potential. We have been watching him for a while now and he has developed immensely during his time at AS Monaco.
"I am delighted he has joined Manchester United as I believe this is the right club for him to continue his development as a young player. He has all the attributes to become a top football player; however we need to give him time to adjust to his new environment and the rhythm of the Premier League."
*Taken from Manutd.com
Scorers: Ayew 61, Gomis 66; Mata 49 | 30 August 2015 | Liberty Stadium | Att: 20,828
Manchester United tasted defeat once again at the Liberty Stadium as Swansea City recorded a second successive 2-1 win over the Reds in South Wales.
It was Swansea's fourth win in five league and cup matches over United in what turned out to be a disappointing 50th match in charge for Louis van Gaal.
After a goalless first half, the Reds started the second period on top and went ahead through Juan Mata's close-range finish. The advantage was shortlived, however, when Garry Monk's side drew level 12 minutes later through Andre Ayew's header. The Swans took the lead five minutes later when Ayew set up Bafetimbi Gomis to slot home.
Ander Herrera kept his place in the starting XI after his goalscoring exploits in midweek against Club Brugge and began just behind Wayne Rooney in the no.10 role. Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger were also back in the XI in two deep-lying midfield positions.
The Reds had a score to settle with Swansea having lost three of the last four league and cup meetings, including two defeats last term. And, two minutes in, United drew the first save of the match from Lukasz Fabianski who dived low to his left to push away Memphis Depay’s well-struck free-kick. Seconds later, Mata flashed an effort over the bar after some more positive play from United.
It took a while before the Reds’ next sight of goal came – on 19 minutes – and Swansea had their captain Ashley Williams to thank after he got across to steal the ball off Rooney’s toe after a sublime pass from Luke Shaw. Two minutes later, Memphis cut inside from the left, found Herrera who turned well inside the box and immediately found Mata who, under pressure from defenders, fired an effort just wide of Fabianski’s left-hand post.
Having offered very little in attack up to that point, Swansea suddenly had three opportunities in as many minutes. Jonjo Shelvey free-kick was flicked on by Gomis to Gylfi Sigurdsson who flashed a low drive inches wide of the post with Sergio Romero beaten. The Argentinian stopper then presented possession to Shelvey 25 yards out. He pinged an effort immediately towards goal but Romero managed to get back in position to claim. The Swans then went even closer through Gomis who turned and cut in from the right before striking a shot with the outside of his boot off the far post.
Herrera, who had scored in United’s 2-1 defeat at the Liberty Stadium last season, tried his luck from 25 yards as half-time approached, but he dragged it off target.
Possession: Swansea 37% United 63%
Shots: Swansea 5 United 7
Shots on target: Swansea 1 United 2
Corners: Swansea 0 United 1
United got off to the best possible start at the beginning of the second period when Mata netted his 50th goal in English football and put the Reds 1-0 up on 49 minutes. It came after another excellent run and cross from Shaw down the left. Rooney let the centre go through to the back post where Mata got in ahead of Williams to smash the ball into the roof of the net.
The Reds almost got a fortuitous second soon after when Memphis’ cross was sliced towards goal by Williams and only a superb fingertip save from Fabianski prevented the goal. The Swans keeper was called up on again on the hour when Herrera slipped a lovely ball in to Mata but his shot was kept out.
Another United attack was broken up by Williams a minute later as Swansea set off on the break. The ball found its way out to Sigurdsson on the right and his cross was headed home by the unmarked Ayew to level proceedings.
Things got worse for the Reds five minutes later when Gomis put the hosts in front. Ayew turned provider this time as his outside-of-the-foot pass found the Swansea striker who calmly slotted under Romero.
Carrick and Ashley Young replaced Schneiderlin and Mata, before Marouane Fellaini came on for Herrera as the Reds went in search of an equaliser.
United had possession and Young found space for some decent crosses into the box, but the Swansea defence stood firm. With three minutes left, Rooney headed towards goal, but an extra touch allowed Williams to get in and clear the danger.
That proved to be the last opening for the Reds who, once again, left South Wales frustrated and point-less.
Possession: Swansea 36% United 64%
Shots: Swansea 9 United 11
Shots on target: Swansea 4 United 4
Corners: Swansea 0 United 1
United: Romero; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Schneiderlin (Carrick 70), Schweinsteiger; Mata (Young 70), Herrera (Fellaini 76), Memphis; Rooney (C).
Subs not used: Johnstone, McNair, Valencia, Chicharito.
Booked: Schneiderlin, Depay
Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams (C), Taylor, Cork, Shelvey (Bartley 89), Sigurdsson, Ayew, Routledge (Ki Sung-Yueng 58), Gomis (Eder 81).
Subs not used: Nordfeldt, Rangel, Tabanou, Dyer.
Booked: Routledge, Shelvey
"I think we were in control for 85 minutes - that's what I have seen. The result was 2-1 to them and that cannot happen. We gave the game away in five minutes and that cannot happen. We must learn from it." - Louis van Gaal
"The perfect end to this good run of results would have been a win, but we couldn’t get it and we have to rest, to think about our national teams now and to know that we have to learn our lesson again." - Juan Mata
*Taken from Manutd.com
Download Manchester United Premier League Fixtures 2010/2011 here.
Download Manchester United Premier League Fixtures 2012/2013 here.
Manchester United have announced an agreement with Toshiba Medical Systems, who will become an official partner of the club. United hav...
To download UEFA Champions League Group Stage Draw 2009/2010, click here . *Taken from UEFA.com
Manchester United Squad 2009-2010 Click on a player for full profile Team Lineup 1 Van der Sar 2 Neville 3 Evra 4 Hargreaves 5 Ferdin...
All of United's players from the first-team through to the Academy are eligible to play in the Premier League this season after the Reds...
Download Manchester United Premier League Fixtures 2011/2012 here.