Football: Manchester United win Moyes's league opener

Manchester United's Danny Welbeck, centre, celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game against Swansea City during the English Premier League soccer match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, England, Saturday Aug. 17, 2013. -- PHOTO: AP
Manchester United's Danny Welbeck, centre, celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game against Swansea City during the English Premier League soccer match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, England, Saturday Aug. 17, 2013. -- PHOTO: AP

SWANSEA, United Kingdom (AFP) - English champions Manchester United gave new manager David Moyes a win on the first day of the Premier League season with a 4-1 victory away to Swansea on Saturday.

Two goals apiece from strikers Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck secured United's success at the Liberty Stadium.

The forwards scored within two minutes of each other in the first half and van Persie sealed victory 18 minutes from time with a stunning second goal from 20 yards.

Welbeck added his second goal and United's fourth in stoppage time after a Wilfried Bony consolation goal for south Wales side Swansea eight minutes from time.

Moyes left Wayne Rooney out of his starting XI, amidst ongoing speculation linking the England forward with a move to Chelsea, while Swansea counterpart Michael Laudrup did the same with his £12 million (S$23.8 million) pre-season signing Bony.

Ladrup pushed Michu into an attacking role and played five across the midfield with Jose Canas playing behind Jonjo Shelvey.

United opted for a conventional 4-4-2 with Welbeck and van Persie playing in front of a four man midfield that included Michael Carrick, who missed England's 3-2 midweek win over Scotland.

Having survived one or two early scares, United should have taken the lead in the 15th minute.

Van Persie poked the ball into the path of Ryan Giggs but when the Welshman inched into the 18 yard box, he inexplicably chose to pass instead of shoot.

Ben Davies stuck out a foot and the ball trickled harmlessly back to Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm.

Minutes later Giggs fired wide of the far post after Vorm has saved smartly from Welbeck and Phil Jones had a far post volley saved by the Dutch keeper.

At the other end Michu, Swansea's leading scorer last season, did have the ball in the net after 20 minutes. However, referee Phil Dowd's whistle had long since gone for offside when the Spaniard beat David de Gea from close range.

The champions eventually went a goal in front 12 minutes before half-time.

Giggs looped a ball into van Persie who somehow managed to scoop his shot past the advancing Vorm.

Two minutes later it was 2-0. Van Persie headed Patrice Evra's cross to Antonio Valencia at the far post and the Ecuadorian crossed for Welbeck to score.

Carrick followed Valencia into the book for a late tackle on Wayne Routledge just before the break as did Evra for hauling down Angel Rangel.

Although Swansea dominated possession for long periods, they created precious little to worry Moyes.

Swansea made a double substitution at half-time with Bony replacing Routledge and Pablo Hernandez coming on for Leon Britton.

It enabled Michu to drop back into his more accustomed position at the head of the Swans' midfield. Bony latched onto a Davies cross in the 48th minute but his shot went high and wide.

The United fans certainly got behind Moyes, singing his name throughout the game.

Michu brought a decent far post save out of de Gea in the 53rd minute but the goalkeeper was injured in the process and required treatment.

Rooney's five-minute warm up near the United fans gave rise to a standing ovation from the visiting supporters and one or two boos from the home faithful who sensed a way back into the game for their side.

Swansea once again dominated possession and forced United into one or two hasty clearances. Laudrup had pushed Michu up alongside Bony with Nathan Dyer and Hernandez providing the width.

Rooney came on after an hour and immediately settled in just behind van Persie and Welbeck. With 20 minutes remaining Evra saw his header cleared off the line by Canas but two minutes later van Persie stepped inside Ashley Williams and gave Vorm no chance from 20 yards.

Bony bagged a consolation goal when he beat de Gea at his far post before Welbeck struck in stoppage time, chipping Vorm in cheeky fashion.