Sportsdesk Comment with Andy Bloomfield: Opening-day loss may help United in the long term

Sportsdesk Comment with Andy Bloomfield
Sportsdesk Comment with Andy Bloomfield

The opening weekend of Barclays Premier League games threw up a few interesting results, but probably the most surprising was a shock 2-1 home defeat for Manchester United against Swansea.

With experience Dutch manager Louis van Gaal at the helm, many United fans had probably spent the summer expecting this fixture to be a breeze, especially as the former manager David Moyes achieved a 4-1 win at the Liberty Stadium on the corresponding fixture last season.

When you add in the fact United had already snapped up England left-back Luke Shaw and Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera for almost £60m, fans had high hopes of a bright start.

While many fans and pundits will be quick to slam LVG, I think this opening-day embarassment may be the best thing to happen to the Old Trafford club.

It will surely force the owners to give the Dutchman more money for players, with Argentine international defender Marcos Rojo already set to sign from Sporting Lisbon, the disappointing Nani heading in the other direction.

A few pundits believed United will win the title, but I cannot see that unless they continue their free-spending for the next couple of weeks before transfer deadline day.

I believe they could well push for a top four spot, where I think their challengers will be Liverpool and Arsenal, and possibly Everton.

I cannot see any further than champions Manchester City or Chelsea for the title as they - at present - have squads which are far superior to their rivals.

City’s 2-0 win at Newcastle United was hard-earned, but when you can bring a world-class player like Sergei Aguero off the bench to kill off a game it shows the class at your disposal.

Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas also got off to a flying start in Chelsea’s 3-1 win at new boys Burnley.

The midfield craft of Fabregas and the finishing power and strength of Costa give the Blues an extra dimension, as last year they were often accused of being rather dull.

Liverpool may have splashed the cash during the summer, but having sold Luis Suarez for £75m they have lost their talisman, so I think a top-four spot is the best they can hope for with the extra distraction of the Champions League.