Manchester United vs. Swansea City: Preview and TV schedule

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Louis van Gaal era begins as United welcomes Swansea City to Old Trafford for both team's season opener.

A new era for Manchester United begins on Saturday as Louis van Gaal leads the Red Devils into their first competitive match since taking over earlier this summer from David Moyes. This will be Wayne Rooney's first official match as the team's new captain, so there will be a new level of pressure on the 28-year-old to both perform on the pitch and be a leader for his teammates. Meanwhile, Swansea would love nothing more than to ruin van Gaal's EPL debut and hand United their first opening day loss at Old Trafford in the Premier League era.

Key player - Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

With Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck expected to miss the match, there will be plenty of extra pressure on Rooney to help lead United's attack. This will also be his first competitive match wearing the captain's armband, which gives him a an additional level of responsibility on the pitch. Van Gaal is putting a lot of trust in Rooney, especially considering his history of petulant behavior.

Key matchup - Swansea's attack vs. United's patchwork defense

Thanks to injuries, United's defense isn't in the best shape at the moment with Luke Shaw, Jonny Evans and Antonio Valencia all expected out. That leaves either Ashley Young or Reece James as the only available options at the left wingback position. Another youngster, Tyler Blackett, will likely play in the center with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. This isn't the ideal situation for van Gaal, and it could open the door for the Swans to exploit the Red Devils' defense.

Manchester United injuries and suspensions

Out: Luke Shaw (hamstring), Michael Carrick (foot), Anderson (fitness), Rafael (fitness), Antonio Valencia (fitness). In doubt: Jonny Evans (fitness), Robin van Persie (fitness), Danny Welbeck (fitness).

Swansea City injuries and suspensions

Out: Leon Britton (knee), Marvin Emnes (knee), Jay Fulton (knee).

Louis van Gaal has a fair number of injury and fitness issues ahead of United's season opener on Saturday. Luke Shaw could miss a month with a hamstring injury and Michael Carrick is sidelined for an extended period of time with a foot injury. Anderson, Rafael and Valencia are all not fit enough to play. The trio of Evans, van Persie and Welbeck will be assessed ahead of the match, but are not expected to play.

Swansea will be without Britton, Emnes and Fulton thanks to knee injuries. Garry Monk will have Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge back after they both missed the team's final preseason friendly.

Match Date/Time: Saturday, 12:45 p.m. local, 7:45 a.m. ET

Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, England

TV: NBCSN, Mun2 (U.S.), Sportsnet Regional (Canada), BT Sport 1 (U.K.)

Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S. - English), Deportes Telemundo En Vivo (U.S. - Spanish)

Listings via LiveSoccerTV.

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