Kyle Walker own goal hands Manchester United EPL opening fixture win against Tottenham
Old Trafford provided a scintillating start to the 2015-16 EPL season as Manchester United hosted Tottenham Hotspurs to kick off the season in style. The first game of the much-anticipated season ended 1-0 in favour of the home side as they edged out the victors thanks to a Kyle Walker own goal. It created history as the first time ever in Premier League history that the first goal in an EPl season was an own goal.
Before this game, the two teams had faced each other 156 times in the Premier League with United coming out with the better result 77 times and losing only 34 times to the Spurs, while 42 games ended in a draw between the two. Even last season Tottenham drew at White Hart Lane against the Red Devils and lost 3-0 playing away against United in continuation of their record against the Manchester giants. In fact, Tottenham have lost more matches in the Premier League era at Old Trafford than any other ground.
They added one more to that tally as they suffered a narrow loss despite putting up a brave fight against Louis van Gaal’s men. Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane looked the most threatening for Spurs but they were unable to make the most of their chances.
Van Gaal’s side looked more assured in defence during these 90 minutes than they did all of last season, as Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian put in solid performances. Even going forward Juan Mata seemed to have carried over some of his good form from last season. While the team as a whole did not put in a convincing performance, they got the job done on the day.
The game started off with good tempo, Spurs marginally on top passing the ball around making the United players chase them around. They had an early chance that fell to Christian Eriksen when Harry Kane played the ball over the top to the Dane who lobbed his shot over Sergio Romero and unfortunately for him, over even the goal.
Spurs would rue that miss as within the next few minutes Wayne Rooney found himself at the end of an Ashley Young cross but before he could get the shot away, Kyle Walker put in a challenge. Unfortunately for the English right-back his tackle pushed the ball past Vorm into the net and it would be the goal that would separate the two sides at the end.
Despite a fair amount of last-minute resistance from Tottenham, the Red Devils held out for a win in their own backyard. Romero was called upon a couple of times in the final few minutes as he made sure that his clean sheet was safe.
The result bodes well for Manchester United even if the performance does not. Louis van Gaal will seek to improve their fluidity as a team but the signs are there for them to have a great season this time around. By virtue of this being the first game of the season, Manchester United will temporarily sit atop the standings in the Premier League, they will hope to be there at the end of this season.
It’s back to the drawing board for Tottenham though having started on a sour note, they can take positives from a couple of players but will need to address issues in midfield and defence if they are to mount any sort of challenge for European qualification.