Minimalist Man United maximise points return against Tottenham

Manchester United got off to a winning start but were far from impressive in beating Tottenham 1-0...

Louis van Gaal's starting line-up included four new signings – goalkeeper Sergio Romero, right-back Matteo Darmian, midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and attacker Memphis Depay – but surely nobody could have predicted that the Red Devils' first goal of the season would come from Kyle Walker.

The Tottenham right-back, whose battle with sometime England team-mate Ashley Young was easily the most fascinating facet of a disappointing match, was trying to dispossess Wayne Rooney when he unluckily poked it past stand-in Spurs goalkeeper Michel Vorm halfway through the first period. 

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It turned out to be one of the few things Vorm had to do. The teams had almost identical possession (United shaded it 50.3% to 49.7%) and passing (United completed 399 or 485 to Spurs' 387 of 481), and although the home side completed twice as many passes in the final third, they failed to find much penetration, and it took until the 65th minute for the Red Devils to get their one and only shot on target.

Tottenham troubled United's debutant shot-stopper more often, with Christian Eriksen almost beating the Argentine late on as the visitors ended strongly. Mauricio Pochettino can be reasonably pleased with how well his team played, but birthday boy Van Gaal has started with three points – unlike last season – and his team will surely improve. 

Opta facts

  • This is the first time a Premier League season's first goal has been an own goal.
  • Spurs have scored an own goal in 2 of their last 3 away Premier League games.
  • It's the second time Spurs have scored an own goal v Manchester United on opening day: Ramon Vega did it in 1997.
  • Manchester United have kept a clean sheet on opening day for the first time since 2010 (3-0 v Newcastle).
  • Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs are yet to score against Manchester United in three meetings.
  • United have lost just 1 of their last 24 opening league games of the season at Old Trafford (W17 D6).
  • Spurs have lost 3 of their last 5 games on opening day, winning the other 2.
  • Manchester United have now won back-to-back Premier League games against Spurs, after a 5-game winless run (D3 L2)

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