Football: Woe for Tottenham's Walker as Manchester United make winning EPL start

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (right) celebrating with teammates after Kyle Walker's own goal.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (right) celebrating with teammates after Kyle Walker's own goal. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Kyle Walker's own goal gave Manchester United a winning start to the English Premier League (EPL) season as they overcame Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday's opening day.

The England right-back put through his own net in the 22nd minute, rushing back in an attempt to prevent Wayne Rooney taking aim from Ashley Young's cross and succeeding only in scuffing the ball into his own net.

United handed competitive debuts to Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay, while Bastian Schweinsteiger came on in the second half to become the club's first German player.

"The first time you play at Old Trafford is always difficult, but I liked the performance, especially of Darmian," United manager Louis van Gaal, who was celebrating his 64th birthday, told BT Sport.

Spurs made a bright start in the Salford sunshine, Christian Eriksen volleying over from Harry Kane's scooped pass, but they retreated into their shells following Walker's moment of misfortune.

United failed to take full advantage, however, with Young the only player to muster a shot on target, and Eriksen forced Romero - deputising for Real Madrid target David de Gea - to make two sharp saves in the latter stages.

Chelsea launch their title defence at home to Swansea City later on Saturday, while promoted clubs Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City are all in action.

Arsenal host West Ham United and Liverpool travel to Stoke City on Sunday, with last season's runners-up Manchester City opening their campaign at West Bromwich Albion on Monday.