Manchester United manager David Moyes picked up where Alex Ferguson left off on Saturday as the Premier League champions began their title defence by winning 4-1 at Swansea City.
It was United’s first league game with a new manager in the dug-out since Ferguson took his side to Oxford United on November 8, 1986, but a pair of braces from Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck banished any first-day nerves.
On a damp, drizzly day in south Wales, Moyes recalled Wayne Rooney to his squad after the unsettled striker proved his fitness with a 66-minute turn in England’s 3-2 win over Scotland in mid-week.
It was last season’s hero who provided the breakthrough, however, with Van Persie chesting down a high pass from Ryan Giggs and then hooking a superb volley past goalkeeper Michel Vorm in the 34th minute.
Swansea, the League Cup holders, had poked and probed intelligently until then, but they were hit with a sucker-punch two minutes later when Welbeck tapped in United’s second from Antonio Valencia’s low cross.
Rooney came on with half an hour remaining to make his first club appearance since May 5, but it was Van Persie’s day and he made it 3-0 by lashing a glorious shot into Vorm’s top-right corner from 20 yards.
Sloppy play by Welbeck allowed home debutant Wilfried Bony to pull a goal back for Swansea, but the England man atoned in injury time by racing onto Rooney’s pass and beating Vorm with an exquisite chip.
Earlier, Arsenal were booed off by their own fans at the Emirates Stadium after conceding two penalties and seeing Laurent Koscielny sent off in a calamitous 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa.