United off to a winning start

2011-08-14 19:09

London - David De Gea was spared the ignominy of ruining the start of Manchester United's title defence as the champions snatched a late 2-1 victory against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side were cruising after Wayne Rooney's opener but debutant goalkeeper De Gea - an £18.3 million summer signing from Atletico Madrid - gifted Albion an equaliser at the Hawthorns when he let Shane Long's weak shot trickle through his arms.

The 20-year-old Spaniard was criticised after his errors in last weekend's Community Shield win over Manchester City, and those question marks will loom larger for De Gea after what was an awful mistake.

However, Ashley Young - another United debutant - spared De Gea's blushes in the 81st minute when he cut in from the left and whipped over a cross that Steven Reid deflected into his own net.

While title rivals Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool were all held to draws on the opening weekend, United once again demonstrated their winning mentality to grind out a victory in the nick of time.

However, there were injury concerns for Ferguson that slightly detracted from the result.

Young Brazilian defender Rafael da Silva was already ruled out before the game for ten weeks with a dislocated shoulder.

He will be joined on the casualty list as Nemanja Vidic limped off with what appeared to be a calf injury in the first half, while Rio Ferdinand was forced off 15 minutes from time.

When Rooney made the most of Young's pass to shoot between Gabriel Tamas' legs and beyond Ben Foster for the opener, it was the culmination of 13 minutes of relentless United pressure.

United's travelling fans were ecstatic and they took great delight in waving a banner proclaiming: 'Who needs Wesley. We've got Cleverley' to mark Tom Cleverley's full debut and make their thoughts clear on Ferguson's interest in Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder.

The sense of satisfaction would have been much deeper had Nani not carelessly lifted two opportunities over the crossbar from eight yards.

United's wonderful approach work deserved far better from the Portuguese winger and those let-offs ensured Albion maintained an interest in a contest which could have been over inside the opening half-hour.

De Gea's high-profile error came in the 37th minute of a game the champions should already have put to bed.

Seconds earlier the Spanish international had punched away Paul Scharner's powerful shot but a lapse in concentration saw him gift Albion an equaliser they did not merit.

Chris Smalling allowed Long inside him in the area and while the Albion debutant's shot was accurate, it clearly lacked sufficient power.

Yet De Gea dived over the effort, allowing the ball to find the far corner of the net.

From that point on De Gea looked a nervous wreck under any high ball, but he was spared total embarrassment nine minutes from time when United had a slice of luck of their own.

Young prodded a cross into the six-yard box and Reid provided the crucial deflection to take the ball beyond Foster and into the net.


  • AjAxxxx - 2011-08-15 08:50

    And united rides their luck, again.

      Albo - 2011-08-15 09:01

      And AjAxxxx`s lip hits the floor AGAIN!! Get used to it!!

      Bandit - 2011-08-15 11:30


      AjAxxxx - 2011-08-15 12:45

      I am used to it. Amazing own goal record.

      Deon - 2011-08-15 19:07

      How long you been "supporting" Chelsea, let me guess, since Roman arrived!

      Harold - 2011-08-16 07:49

      Ajax Cape Town are in the relegation zone. talk about your own team. Or are just jax!

  • mileslogan - 2011-08-15 13:39

    So sad Ajaxxxx...just like Arsenal....afraid of heights!!

      AjAxxxx - 2011-08-15 13:46

      all im saying, with a performance like that, and a goalie like that, going to get very tough for united. And ur not going to get those deflection goals every game.

      Albo - 2011-08-15 14:12

      Strange how the non-UTD supporters actually watch all UTD games. Respect!!

      Man U - 2011-08-15 14:42

      Ajax: The fact is that we win! Who of the supposed top 4 won this weekend?

      AjAxxxx - 2011-08-15 15:24

      Strange? I watch every game, because I love the sport. Is that strange? And Man U, I agree, lucky or not, you manage to win.

      A(N)ON - 2011-08-15 15:27

      @ AjAxxxx of course the going will get tough for United. But when the going gets tough the tough get going - not so? Anyways most own goals are not flukes or freakish - they are created through pressure placed on opponents - if you don't place the pressure - you not likely to get the goal. The last time I remebered there was no comments section at the end of the season - all that counts are the 3 points - right? On a separate note - perhaps your beloved Chelski coach should don the baggies and lower the average age of the team!

      AjAxxxx - 2011-08-15 16:43

      haha, you obviously did not watch the chelsea game. WAY more pressure put on stoke than united put on WB. Way more. Sometimes you play well without a result. And sometimes you dont play well and get a result. The latter just happens more for united. Call it lucky, call it skill, but it happens.

  • RED MANC - 2011-08-15 16:41

    Well said A(N)ON and Albo ! De Gea will only get better as the season progresses - United is a long way up the ladder from Atletico Madrid for a young goalkeeper and once he adjusts to the high profile nature of being the goalkeeper at United he will be fine , the coaching staff will see to that . This is pretty much the same young team that whipped City in the Charity Shield so they will only get better with a few more games under their belts as a team . I do agree with Ajaxxx that we will not be getting those deflections EVERY game but who needs them , we will just score more goals anyway and win regardless . GGMU !

  • Psyzah - 2011-08-18 15:49

    Glory Glory Man United............on to number 20!

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