Swansea 1 Manchester United 4 match report: Flying Dutchman Robin van Persie sets David Moyes on fast track to glory
Two goals from RVP and Danny Welbeck's double lift new manager as Wayne Rooney returns to the fold
There was a new anthem – “So come on David Moyes, play like Fergie's boys” – revealing that Manchester United are happy to call on Noddy Holder when they need to – and you imagine that some messages daubed in red on bedsheets will follow in time. Moyes willingly agreed to “give us a wave” and it was his own “red and white army” they sang about by the end.
There was no real sense United are on the precipice of something new and exciting. No new players, no new team and Moyes will certainly have taken the quiet walk to victory because he wants it that way. He's become a bit embarrassed by all the noise.
Whether the Wayne Rooney noise was a little closer to abating remained hard to tell. There was a poignancy about the way Moyes sent him on for Ryan Giggs as the hour mark had passed and assigned him the place behind the striker which his No 10 jersey carries, with Danny Welbeck pushed aside to make way. None of the central midfield marginalisation of the Ferguson era.
There were also unambiguous chants of "Rooney", revealing what has always been suspected: that the supporters will respect him. There was also a reminder of what all the fuss was about when he laid through the ball which the imperious Robin van Persie thumped home, drawing two defenders away to create the space. He also sent Welbeck in to lift in the fourth goal which made these beginnings so emphatic for Moyes. And yet... Rooney was conspicuous by his absence amid the celebrations of the second goal – United's third – by Van Persie.
In the first public discussion of his fitness, the 27-year-old has made no attempt to add to the agitation to leave which he has allowed others to make for him this summer. "I haven't had that many training sessions with the first team because they have been away," he said.
"I might be lacking that bit of sharpness but hopefully that will come. I need to try and get a few more games in. Hopefully in the next few weeks I will be playing, [getting] those games in."
Moyes said of Rooney that it is "very difficult when you cross the white line not to be committed because people are judging you" and that Rooney's had contributed strongly to the team effort. "The supporters recognise good players at United," he said.
It's hard to be sunny, perhaps, when the rain is sheeting in from Swansea Bay but Rooney's body language in the warm-up suggested that Moyes has a job to do – even though the player's competitive soul made him argue the toss with Anderson about which of them should take the bib and go into the circle.
It was United who then looked the more sluggish as Swansea set the pace and found a way to knock the ball around in a rainstorm. After the summer of talk about £40m strikers, Michu's £2m price looked as ridiculous as ever. He almost turned a weak Phil Jones back pass into a calamity – David de Gea cannoned his clearance into the Spaniard – and was soon forcing De Gea to palm around the post and soaring to deposit his head onto the ensuing corner.
Michael Laudrup's £5m spend on Jonjo Shelvey looked equally smart as the home side threatened around the edge of the area. Ivorian Wilfried Bony will score goals too. His first was despatched well, with a first-time finish.
But then United did what the song had asked: score goals when they look indifferently second best.
Two strikes in two minutes after the half-hour effectively put the game away. Ryan Giggs, who had just spurned two chances, lifted the ball high over the Swansea defence to locate Van Persie in a pocket of space, with the technical acumen to lever in the high bouncing ball, right footed. Two clinched fists from Moyes displayed the relief and he was punching the air when a cross from the left reached Antonio Valencia who slid it back across the area for Welbeck to tap in. "If I had to say one difference today it was the finishing and the fact they scored two goals in less than two minutes," Laudrup lamented.
It was a stroll, thereafter. It was with 20 minutes to play that Van Persie stepped inside Ashley Williams and blasted home the left-footed finish which suggested that not that much has changed for the champions. Pablo Hernandez seized on carelessness from Welbeck, anticipating the Englishman's backheel and picking out Bony who steered home. But Welbeck atoned to finished things, in a fashion befitting one of Fergie's boys.
Swansea (4-2-5-1): Vorm; Rangel, Flores, Williams, Davies; Canas (Ki Sung-Yeung, 77), Britton (Bony, 46); Dyer, Shelvey, Routledge (Pablo, 46); Michu.
Manchester Utd (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Cleverley; Valencia, Welbeck, Giggs (Rooney, 62); Van Persie (Anderson, 86).
Referee Phil Dowd.
Man of the match Van Persie (United)
Match rating 7/10.
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