If there are two things that can’t be ignored from Manchester United opening the season with a narrow win, is that Wayne Rooney seems a bit lonely up front without too much scoring ability around him, and Louis van Gaal has a better defense than last season.
Rooney sorta scored the opening and closing goal of the match, as Kyle Walker tried to intervene in his one on one situation and ended up knocking the ball into his own net. Besides that chance, Manchester United struggled creating and generating shots at goal, especially in the second half, as Michel Vorm had to perform just one save the entire match.
On the other side, Sergio Romero was quite busy and showed that it might have been wrong to worry so much about his abilities, even if he isn’t the goalkeeper David de Gea is. Chris Smalling is turning out to be one heck of a centre back, a healthy Luke Shaw along with Matteo Darmian make quite a difficult full back duo to deal with, and Daley Blind, while not a natural centre back, is better than the other options Van Gaal has at his disposal right now.
Tottenham did get close to scoring a few times. Harry Kane, even being held goalless, is a handful, and the combination of Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli had more than one opportunity to make this a much happier ending for Spurs in the season’s opening match. It was mostly made available by a very weak performance in the Manchester United midfield.
Memphis Depay disappointed behind the striker, Juan Mata looked slow and slightly out of shape. Michael Carrick didn’t do too badly and Morgan Schneiderlin might be the right man in the right place, but it’s still perfect. It’ll be interesting to see how Bastian Schweinsteiger fits into all of this, with a crowded scene at central and defensive midfielder being created.
Championships are won by winning on your bad days, and Manchester United seem to be consistent with last season in their boring performances, home & away. If it turns out that playing like this brings them closer to winning their first post-Ferguson era championship, no one will be complaining too much, even if it frustrating to see a team that’s been so expensive to put together struggle to get the ball even near the penalty box so many times.