Own goal hands Man United season-opening 1-0 win vs. Tottenham

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United kicked off the new Premier League season with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Saturday, after an own goal by Kyle Walker handed the points to Louis van Gaal's new-look side.

Walker prodded the ball into his own net in the 22nd minute as the Spurs defender tried to deny United captain Wayne Rooney an easy scoring opportunity at a sunlit Old Trafford.

It was one of very few chances in a scrappy game, with Spurs' hopes of an equalizer coming mainly in the closing minutes with two shots from attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen.

• BIRD: Van Gaal molds Manchester United to his liking

United started with four new signings, with Sergio Romero in goal after coach Louis van Gaal decided that Real Madrid target David de Gea was not in the right frame of mind to play.

Fullback Matteo Darmain, along with midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay all made convincing debuts and Romero improved after some early signs of nerves.

Tottenham made by far the better start and could easily have been ahead after five minutes. Striker Harry Kane sent a clever chip over the United defense but Eriksen could only send his cushioned volley over the bar from close range with Romero at his mercy.

Spurs were repeatedly caught out by the offside rule as they tried to get behind United's back four, but still looked the most likely team to score before gifting United its opener.

Planet Futbol
EPL season preview: Familiar four should compete for 2015-16 title

The visitors only had themselves to blame after a sloppy pass by Nabil Bentaleb gave the ball away in midfield. Ashley Young sped down the right flank before crossing for the unmarked Rooney, who had keeper Michel Vorm to beat. As the United striker hesitated, Walker arrived just in time to spear the ball away from Rooney's feet, past a despairing Vorm and into the corner of the Spurs net.

The goal gave a United a lift and although there were no further scoring chances before the break, Van Gaal's side began to move the ball around with more assurance.

Another of new United's new signings, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, replaced Michael Carrick on the hour mark of what was turning into a fairly scrappy encounter.

Vorm smothered a low shot from Ashley Young through a packed area, while Rooney fluffed an attempted acrobatic volley before sending a free kick over the top as United gradually turned up the pressure in search of a second goal.

Tottenham waited until the final 10 minutes before pushing with any real conviction for an equalizer.

Planet Futbol
EPL season preview: Relegation fight, bottom-half outlook for 2015-16

United defender Chris Smalling made a superb tackle to snuff out the danger from Nacer Chadli and Eriksen tried his luck with an angled drive that drew a good save from Romero.

Eriksen followed up by rifling in a powerful shot from outside the area in the 89th minute, but Romero was quick to make a block.

The final whistle came as a relief for United fans, whose club has spent more than $350 million since 2014 in building a squad that could once again challenge for top honors.

It was one of very few chances in a scrappy game at a sunlit Old Trafford, with Spurs' hopes of an equalizer coming mainly in the closing minutes with two shots from attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen.

United started with four new signings, with Sergio Romero in goal after coach Louis van Gaal decided that Real Madrid target David de Gea was not in the right frame of mind to play.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.