Romelu Lukaku struck twice on his Premier League debut for Manchester United as Jose Mourinho’s side made an emphatic start to their campaign with a 4-0 win over West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Belgian striker, who was signed from Everton in a 75-million-pound ($97.58-million) move last month, began repaying that investment with two fine finishes but it was not only his imposing presence in attack that give United a very different feel from last season.
Another close-season recruit, Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic, brought from Chelsea, made an excellent debut in the defensive midfield role, breaking up any threats from West Ham and then prompting United’s attacks with intelligence.
With Marcus Rashford’s pace and directness down the left flank and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s trickery on the right, United showed a variety and inventiveness that too often was missing last season when they drew 10 home games.
One of those home draws came against the Hammers, the fourth in a row at Old Trafford, and a frustrated Mourinho was sent to the stands.
While the United manager has too much experience and sense to get carried away with an opening-day win, he acknowledged his side had delivered a quality performance.
West Ham United's Joe Hart punches clear of Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku Action Images via Reuters