Van Gaal era begins with favourable home encounter with Swans
Manchester United (odds-on favourites to win at 1/3), start at home to Swansea City (8/1), having won their previous eight league matches there against them, and never lost in their history. The last time they even drew (4/1) was way back in 1934 in the old Division 2.
In each of the Red Devils’ last four top-flight games the Swans, they have scored exactly twice, and you can back them at 11/2 to win 2-0 again, or 8/1 for a 2-0 scoreline in their favour.
Even more worryingly for Swansea, they have lost seven of their last eight opening day matches, while Man Utd (5/1 title third-favourites) have never lost their first Premier League fixture of the campaign.
However, following a fantastic pre-season for United, they now find themselves potentially with a number of first team players for this matches at Old Trafford. New left back Luke Shaw is definitely out with a hamstring injury, joining Michael Carrick on the sidelines. Robin van Persie, Antonio Valencia, Jonny Evans and Rafael, meanwhile, all look set to miss out as well.
That means a start for Javier Hernandez, who has been strongly linked with a move away from Old Trafford this summer, could be on the cards. New boss Louis van Gaal has favoured a 3-4-1-2 formation throughout pre-season with United, and the Mexican could partner Wayne Rooney up front.
But that shouldn’t be a problem for the Dutch manager, as Hernandez has a fantastic record against Swansea, having scored three times in his last four starts against them. He is 5/4 to net anytime against them again, or 7/1 to bag a brace or better.
The opening Premier League match of the 2014/15 season also represents a repeat of these two side’s first game last term, although played at the Liberty Stadium last time. The score was 4-1 to United under old boss David Moyes, and that scoreline again is priced at 22/1.
Swansea did win at Old Trafford, though, last season, in the FA Cup against a similarly fairly depleted side, missing Van Persie and Carrick as well. The Welsh outfit were 2-1 victors that day, so if you fancy them to beat the Red Devils by that scoreline again, you can back them at 28/1 to spoil Van Gaal’s party.
This match represents Rooney’s first match as permanent Man Utd captain. The 28-year-old has never scored against the Swans but, now being played in his favourite role and clearly high in confidence and spirit, take odds of 3/1 for him to net first. Rooney skippered the side last term four times, getting three goals.
While Swansea have had a Spanish exodus this summer, they have snapped up more attacking talent, with the likes of Bafetimbi Gomis, Jefferson Montero and Gylfi Sigurdsson coming in. They are 5/1, 7/1 and 6/1 respectively to score anytime. One striker who they have managed to hold onto it seems, is Wilfried Bony, who netted twice against United last term. He 10/3 in the anytime market.
In terms of injuries for the away side, Leon Britton, Marvin Emnes and Jay Fulton are all out, while Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge return.