In the teeming rain at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea had threatened to make a nuisance of themselves in inclement conditions, but two quick-fire first-half goals and another two in the second half set David Moyes on his way to a first league win as Reds boss, simultaneously starting the champions’ title defence with a victory and putting United top of the league.
Robin van Persie, on his 50th United appearance, continued his scoring start to the campaign with a brilliantly improvised volley on 34 minutes, and just two minutes later Danny Welbeck turned home from close range after being teed up by Antonio Valencia. It hadn’t been plain-sailing before that; Swansea started strongly – literally, with some stern challenges.
Slick conditions encouraged an open encounter, albeit lacking a little coherence at times. Michu had the ball in the back of the net in the first half but it was ruled out for offside. And with the home side showing they were a threat, that’s when United struck the afore-mentioned double blow. Michael Laudrup introduced Wilfried Bony and Pablo Hernandez at the break and the former gave his team a more positive outlook, while Michu forced a string of saves and interceptions from David De Gea.
Wayne Rooney emerged from the bench for his first Reds outing of the season, and one of his runs helped create space for van Persie as he smashed United’s third goal right into the top corner. With daylight between the two teams, United relaxed a little, but Swansea kept plugging away and when the Reds failed to clear the ball, Bony pounced and fired a shot into De Gea’s bottom left corner.
However, United had the final say and Welbeck’s sublime chip in stoppage time, laid on by Rooney, added some gloss to the scoreline in a winning start to Moyes’ managerial reign.
United: De Gea; Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Giggs (Rooney 61), Welbeck; van Persie (Anderson 86). Subs not used: Lindegaard, Fabio, Smalling, Zaha, Kagawa
Booked: Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley.
Swansea: Vorm; Rangel, Flores, Williams, Davies; Dyer, Britton (Hernandez 46), Canas (Ki 77), Shelvey, Routledge (Bony 46); Michu. Subs not used: Tremmel, Amat, Taylor, Ki, Pozuelo.
The TITLE defence has begun!