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Preview: Swansea City v United

August 17, 2013 Tags: , Matches 3 comments
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So here it is: the search for glory starts all over again a mere 91 days since Manchester United concluded the 2012/13 Premier League season with a bizarre 5-5 draw against West Bromwich Albion. The summer’s frustrations, both on and off the field, are now forgotten and for the time being at a least there are points to gain. New manager, new era, new challenges; 38 games to go.

It could hardly start in more challenging fashion for David Moyes, with United’s Saturday afternoon trip to Swansea City followed in quick succession by matches against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. The run, spread over the next six weeks, won’t break United’s new man, but they could certainly make him.

The focus for now is on Saturday’s game, with United facing a difficult trip to Wales without several senior squad members. Wayne Rooney, so much at the centre of attention this summer, is unlikely to feature despite playing for more than an hour in England’s friendly during the week. How Moyes must be sick of the name already, even if the new man has pushed hard to retain the 27-year-old at Old Trafford.

But it is also a proud day for Moyes. The Scot may not be everybody’s first choice to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson, but he is a manager who will enjoy universal support from the Untied faithful nonetheless. Moyes as an underwhelming choice has oft been aired, but to paraphrase, he’s United’s’ underwhelming manager now. One of the family, to be protected.

Yet, there is little doubt about the task ahead, not only in following Sir Alex’ substantial legacy, but continuing the perpetual hunt for silverware. The smart money is on a transitional season.

“To be called Manchester United manager is probably the biggest thrill,” said the 50-year-old.

“It’s a real privilege to be in that position and I’m going to do everything I possibly can to make it as good as I can and work hard to make sure the club continues to have success.

“It might take me 18 months to two years to get things changed around. I don’t know how long Sir Alex thought it took him to get it the way that he wanted. At a club like Manchester United I will get the opportunity to do that.

“We know where we are going and how we work. We don’t work in a way that every time there is a defeat there is a panic on. Obviously I am aware of the job and the job is to continue the success of the club.”

Swansea City v Manchester UnitedWith City having finally made a sensible managerial appointment, and José Mourinho back at Chelsea, there will surely be a more sustained challenge to United’s supremacy this season. Moyes may not yet feel the weight of expectation, but he surely will in time.

No better time to start the season in positive fashion then; not only for the new manager’s state-of-mind, but to ensure that United doesn’t begin the new campaign as champions under pressure.

Swansea, meanwhile, welcome Ivorian William Bony to Michael Laudrup’s impressive side. The Welsh outfit finished last season in ninth, building on Brendan Rodgers’ progressive tactics to consolidate in the Premier League. Bony will add considerable firepower to compliment the outstanding Michu who has remained in Wales despite a flurry of offers from elsewhere.

Jonathan de Guzman is absent with a head injury sustained up on international duty, although new signing Jonjo Shelvey should start and Pablo Hernandez is available.

And there is little doubt in the United squad about the challenge ahead, with the Swans having lost just five at home last season, and Laudrup’s side already a little match sharper than most having featured in two Europa League qualifiers this summer.

“The Swansea game has been in our minds for a while,” said defender Chris Smalling.

“We know that when we step out onto the pitch we’re seen as the best but we know we need to show that we are, and we’re all determined to do that.

“We’ve got some big fixtures at the start of the season but if we can put on some really good performances then it’s going to give us a big boost if we can pick up a few points and possibly set us apart from our rivals. I don’t think there is any better time to play those big games to be honest and in one sense it’s good to get them out of the way.”

Meanwhile, Moyes is without defenders Rafael da Silva and Jonny Evans, together with Javier Hernández and Ashley Young. Michael Carrick is still suffering from the eye infection that kept the Geordie out of England’s game in mid-week, although he should start in Wales.

The absentees leave Moyes potentially short in midfield, although Ryan Giggs is a sure starter in his homeland. Nani is still not fully fit, while new recruit Wilfried Zaha may start on the bench.

“It’s a very tough away fixture,” said Moyes

“Michael Laudrup has done a really good job there and strengthened the team a lot this summer. I would expect Swansea to have another season as good as last year and they’ve already had a couple of European games as well which gives them the feeling they are a little more match-ready.

“We know it will be a hard game but we feel we’re getting ready as well and getting everybody back fit. Because of that, hopefully we’ll go there and give ourselves a good chance of winning.”

Victory would proffer just the boost to confidence Moyes is looking for. The supporters too, Rant suspects.

 

Swansea City v Manchester United, Premier League, Liberty Stadium, 5.30pm 17 August 2013

Teams
Swansea (4-4-1-1): Vorm; Taylor, Chico, Williams, Rangel; Britton, Canas, Dyer, Shelvey; Michu; Bony. Subs from: Tremmel, Zabret, Amat, Shelvey, Hernández, Lamah, Monk, Lita, Moore, Cañas, Situ, Pozuelo, Obeng, Richards, Davies, Donnelly

United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Carrick, Cleverley; Valencia, Welbeck, Giggs; van Persie. Subs from: Lindegaard, Buttner, F da Silva, Smalling, Anderson, Zaha, Henríquez, Rooney, Januzaj, Lingard, Varela, Macheda, Wootton, Bébé, Keane

Head-to-Head
Swansea 2 – United 3 – Draw 1

Officials
Referee: Phil Dowd
Assistants: G Beswick, D Bryan
Fourth Official: L Mason

Prediction
2-2

Preview: United v Swansea

May 12, 2013 Tags: , Matches 138 comments
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There is a match at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, but few in the crowd will care for the action – not on Sir Alex Ferguson’s final home appearance in charge of United. Retiring after 27 years at the helm, Ferguson will say a last goodbye to the supporters who have cried his name for more than two decades. And emotions are sure to run high in the stands, even if the dead rubber on the pitch is of little consequence.

Ferguson has overseen the most decorated period in United’s history, securing 13 Premier League titles and two European Cups among more than 30 major trophies. It is a record without peer; one that will be celebrated as the Reds take on Swansea City in Manchester.

Sunday’s result is of little concern to many, although United’s limp end to the season has brought just two victories in seven matches, including last weekend’s home defeat to Chelsea. The Reds’ complacent performances in recent weeks are surely the result of a remarkably effortless march to this year’s title.

However, it is the big picture in focus on Sunday; United’s 20th league title honoured with the Premier League trophy presentation on the final whistle and Sir Alex’ farewell. The Scot will addresses the Old Trafford faithful for the final time at the close, while the occasion is set be marked with a ‘Champions 2013’ mosaic along the Stretford End as the teams enter the field. It is a celebration that United’s captain Nemanja Vidić is set to lead.

“I had the opportunity to lift the trophy after we won the 19th title and it is a great feeling,” said the Serbian defender.

“As a captain it is special. It is nice when you play for a club like Manchester United and you win a trophy. But it is the same feeling, whether you are captain or not. No-one has given any more or any less. We are a team and we all played a part.”

Manchester United v Swansea City - Premier League, Old Trafford - 4pm 12 May 2013On the pitch Paul Scholes will play his final game for the club before retiring for a second time. The 38-year-old midfielder hasn’t featured since January with a knee injury, but will return to the team before taking a coaching role under new manager David Moyes next season. The flame-haired veteran has appeared 716 times for the club, scoring 155 goals.

“I am finally hanging up my boots for good,” said Scholes, who could start against the Swans.

“Playing football is all I have ever wanted to do, and so to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United, under the greatest manager of all time, has been an honour.”

Ferguson could also recall veteran Rio Ferdinand for the final home game of the season, while midfielder Shinji Kagawa is also likely to feature. Rafael da Silva is suspended, but Danny Welbeck could return from injury.

Wayne Rooney, who reportedly asked for a transfer for the second time in his United career three weeks ago, will remain on the bench. He may never start a match for the club again.

Meanwhile, the visitors arrive in mixed form having won just once in the past six. However, Michael Laudrup’s side has secured 46 points this year, guaranteeing the Welsh club Premier League football next season. Indeed, the Dane’s side needs just two points more to improve on a fine 2011/12 campaign.

The visitors are without Angel Rangel and goalkeeper Michel Vorm, but top-scorer Michu, defender Chico Flores and Ki Sung-Yueng should all feature at Old Trafford.

Still, Sunday has little to do with the game. Not with two greats of the game moving on. Scholes and Ferguson have each enjoyed one ‘retirement’ a decade apart – neither will return this time around. And while Scholes’ presence will be missed, it is Ferguson’s departure that threatens to fundamentally shake up the club this summer.

Alongside Ferguson, the chief executive David Gill, scout Martin Ferguson, and potential a clutch of coaches will also depart.

Questions of the future can wait though. After all, the mood will be celebratory on Sunday, rather than one of trepidation.

“I don’t think anyone thought the day would come when Sir Alex retired,” said new United manager David Moyes.

“We all thought he was superhuman. He will be sorely missed, particularly by a lot of managers because he always spoke to them. He would always have a quiet word for anybody who was out of work or going into a job. His respect is beyond any real words. Everyone has great admiration for him. Any words I say won’t do it justice because of what the man has done.”

But if words can’t do Ferguson justice then the emotion of more than 70,000 at Old Trafford surely will. It should be quite a send off.

Match details
Manchester United v Swansea City- Premier League, Old Trafford – 4pm, 12 May 2013

Possible teams
United (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Jones, Vidić, Ferdinand, Evra; Carrick, Scholes; Valencia, Kagawa, Welbeck; van Persie. Subs from: Lindegaard, Büttner, Evans, Powell, Cleverley, Anderson, Rooney, Nani, Hernández

Swansea (4-3-3): Tremmel; Tiendalli, Williams, Chico, Davies; De Guzman, Britton, Routledge, Pablo, Michu, Shechter. Subs from: Cornell, Bartley, Taylor, Dyer, Agustien, Moore, Donnelly, Monk, Lamah, Situ

Match officials
Referee: Jon Moss
Assistants: A Halliday, P Bankes
Fourth Official: M Clattenburg

Form
United: LWDWDL
Swansea: LDDLDW

Head-to-Head
Last 10: United 6, Swansea 1, Draw 3
Overall: United 8, Swansea 6, Draw 5

Stats

  • Sir Alex takes charge of United at Old Trafford for the final time on Sunday; his 1499th game in charge of the club;
  • Ferguson’s captain, Nemanja Vidić made 24 interceptions last weekend in United’s loss to Chelsea at Old Trafford – the highest in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index during the last round of games;
  • One of Ferguson’s key demands is his players’ work either – striker Robin van Persie is not only leading the Premier League’s goal scoring charts this season, but has made more clearances than any other forward in the league with 31;
  • Patrice Evra has enjoyed a fine season, winning 64.1 per cent of 82 tackles, completing 624 passes in the opposition half, and delivering 42 crosses, notching up six assists and four goals;
  • On the opposite flank Rafael has made 111 defensive contributions including 52 interceptions, while winning 49 of 82 attempted tackles, and has also completed 531 passes in the opposition half;
  • Swansea face United shortly after holding Manchester City to a scoreless draw and then beating Wigan Athletic 3-2 with goals from Angel Rangel, Itay Schechter and Dwight Tendalli;
  • Ashley Williams garnered Sir Alex’ criticism earlier this season, but showed his value last weekend by making four crucial blocks – the joint highest by a player in the Index;
  • Williams has made 388 defensive contributions this season – tackles won, interceptions, blocks and clearances – 50 more than his nearest rival, Fulham’s Brede Hangeland;
  • Williams’ defensive partner Chico attempted his 100th tackle of the season in the last round of games – one of 22 players in the Index to have done so, and while being one of only five to have maintained a winning tackle percentage of over 60 per cent.

Prediction
3-2

Preview: Swansea City v United

December 22, 2012 Tags: , Matches 112 comments

In the week Premier League chairman voted through proposals to curb excessive spending, there is some prescience in Manchester United’s trip to face Swansea City this week. The Welsh club is, after all, a model in sustainable and organic growth. No little surprise that Manchester City was one of only two clubs to vote against the proposals – Mohammed Al Fayed’s Fulham being the other. But also much to laud in Swansea’s model – part-owned by the fans and largely debt-free.

Yet, at the beginning of another busy Christmas programme there will be little charity from United on Sunday, with the opportunity to create a decisive advantage in the Premier League over the next four matches. United faces the Swans, followed by fixtures against Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Athletic. A quartet of tough fixtures, for sure, but each that Sir Alex Ferguson believes winnable all the same.

Still, with Swansea better off in points terms than at the same stage last season, Michael Laudrup’s outfit has consolidated superbly in the top division. Indeed, while the side’s tiki-taka sensibility has become a modicum more pragmatic, Laudrup’s outfit still plays some of the best football in England’s top division.

Little wonder Sir Alex Ferguson holds much admiration for the 100-year-old club, although the septuagenarian may bristle at talk of fan ownership and financial stability.

“You’ve seen the results they have had and the progress they have made as a football club over the last years,” said the United manager, who turns 71 on New Year’s Eve. “The important thing for me is they try to play and have the courage to play their football, which is good.”

United begin the Christmas period in fine health, with only Brazilian Rafael da Silva, Nani and Shinji Kagawa likely to miss Sunday’s fixture. However, captain Nemanja Vidić is fit enough to make the bench after suffering no adverse reaction to a substitute appearance last weekend. Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand will again pair up in central defence, and Phil Jones will continue at right-back.

Swansea City v Manchester United - Premier League, Liberty Stadium - Sunday 23 December 1.30pmElsewhere, Ferguson is likely to rotate his squad through four fixtures in nine days. Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley will all feature in midfield over the next week, with similar rotation likely in forward positions too.

“At this time of year, all the games are challenges and they come thick and fast now,” adds Ferguson.

“Utilising the squad is important, as is picking the right team, but hopefully we can get through it and be in the same position as we are now.”

“Jonny has had one or two injuries but hopefully they’re behind him now. He’s fit for Sunday. Vida is doing great in training, it’s just a matter of picking the time to bring him back. It gives me options with Smalling, Jones, Ferdinand, Evans. Rafa won’t make Sunday’s game as he’s still out with a hamstring. Nani is still injured. Apart from those players, we’re all right.”

Meanwhile, the hosts welcome back goalkeeper Michel Vorm, who returns after a two-month layoff with a groin injury. Pablo Hernandez is available, but right-back Angel Rangel is again missing.

Whatever the result on Sunday, Swansea’s campaign has suffered nothing for a change of manager last summer. After all, Laudrup is now an experienced campaigner across three countries, although one that rarely seems to stay at an employer for any length of time.

Still, Laudrup can be proud both of the campaign and Swansea’s ability to buck any potential ‘second season syndrome’.

“We are coming up to the halfway point of the season and whatever happens between now and then, we will have 23 points on the board,” said the former Denmark international.

“That is three more than at the same stage last season, and we can then look back at what we have achieved and see what targets we can set for the remainder of the season. But the next six or seven weeks are crucial for us.“Of course we would like to win on Sunday, but if we do then there will be a lot of focus on the club again.

Meanwhile, title rivals City play matches against Sunderland, Norwich City and Stoke City in the same period, after fortunately beating Reading 1-0 on Saturday. In common with Ferguson’s outfit, City will be seeking maximum points from middle-ranked opposition, although games on the road in Norfolk and the north east will test Roberto Mancini’s men.

No team has managed to win all it’s matches in December since Chelsea in 2004/5. Should Ferguson’s team achieve it the Premier League title will be one step closer. Yet, few in the Scot’s camp will doubt that United faces the sternest of tests away at Swansea on Sunday.

Match Details
Swansea City v Manchester United – Premier League, Liberty Stadium – Sunday 23 December 2012, 1.30pm

Possible teams
Swansea (4-3-3): Vorm; Chico, Williams, Tiendalli, Davies; Dyer, Britton, Ki Sung-Yeung; Routledge, Michu, De Guzman; Subs from: Tremmel, Cornell, Monk, Agustien, Richards, Graham, Shechter, Moore

United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Carrick, Scholes; Valencia, Rooney, Young; van Persie. Subs from: Lindegaard, Wootton, Vidić, Smalling, Buttner, Fletcher, Cleverley, Powell, Giggs, Hernandez, Welbeck

Officials
Referee: M Oliver
Assistants: S Ledger; S Bennett
Fourth official: L Probert

Form
Swansea: DWWLWL
United: WWWLWW

Head to Head
Last 10: Swansea 2, United 6, Draw 2
Overall: Swansea 6, United 8, Draw 4

Stats

  • Michu remains joint top scorer in the league this season despite not finding the net against Tottenham last weekend – the Spaniard has garnered a goal once every 129 minutes or once every 4 shots;
  • Teenager defender Ben Davies has quietly emerged as a dominant force in the Swansea defence this season, achieving an 80 per cent tackle success rate from 35 challenges, conceding only 7 fouls;
  • Wayne Routledge is the second highest ranked English midfielder in the league for combined goals and assists with eight according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index;
  • Jonathan de Guzman has contributed the highest total completed passes in the Swansea squad with 366, also providing 24 crosses and four assists;
  • Ashley Williams has intercepted the ball 102 times this season, as well as providing 22 blocks;
  • Meanwhile for United Robin van Persie continues to settle into the side, registering six assists this season and a goal every 123 minutes this season;
  • No striker in the Premier League has completed more passes in the opponent’s half than Wayne Rooney this season, who has recorded 371;
  • Tom Cleverley has emerged as a midfielder of real quality this season, with the youngster succeeding in 68 per cent of his 22 challenges, as well as completing 240 passes in the opponent’s half;
  • Javier Hernández boasts an excellent shots to goal ratio of three to one despite few chances in the first team this season;
  • Few wingers deliver as consistently as Antonio Valencia, despite some shaky performances recently – the Ecuadorian has made more crosses, with 37, than anybody else in the United side.

Prediction
1-2

Reds welcome Swans to last chance saloon

May 6, 2012 Tags: , Matches 155 comments

Sir Alex Ferguson must pick up his battered troops for the weekend’s fixture with Swansea City at Old Trafford knowing that two victories in the next week may still not be enough to secure the Premier League title this season. Defeat to Manchester City at Eastlands last Monday means that the title race is no longer in United’s hands, with City’s superior goal difference a distinct advantage for the Blues with just two games remaining this season.

City play Newcastle United earlier in the day, meaning United’s players may well know the game is afoot before kicking off against Brendan Rodgers’ impressive Swans at Old Trafford. Either that or Ferguson’s side will be unexpectedly back in the race should Newcastle take points off City Sunday lunchtime.

United will only have one eye on St. James’ Park though, with the Reds surely needing to beat both Swansea and Sunderland to stand any chance of securing a 20th league title in just over a week’s time. Yet, there can be no conceit about United emerging victorious from those two matches, despite City manager Roberto Mancini branding the fixtures “easy”.

Indeed, United won a tight match 1-0 against Swansea in Wales last November, and Rodgers’ side has garnered significant acclaim over the season for the short passing style and attacking philosophy in a 3-4-3 formation. But away from the often patronising media coverage, Swansea has also comfortably retained its Premier League status despite the comparatively small budget.

Swansea can finish as high as eighth this season, although a fall-off in form over the past two months means that hopes of top-half conclusion of the season are now unlikely. Yet, there is enough talent in the Welsh side to believe the campaign is no one-off. In Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michel Vorm, and Joe Allen, Rodgers possesses three players that are likely to attract large bids from rivals this summer.

“The way Swansea have played this season has been admirable,” told MUTV Ferguson on Thursday.

“I went to see them last weekend. They want to play football. The manager has stuck by his principles and they’ve had a fantastic season. They look as if they are enjoying their game. They all want the ball and want to play.

“When you talk about how you pick manager of the year, there always has to be a consideration about the resources. Brendan Rodgers came out of the Championship and only brought two players in, Danny Graham from Watford and Gylfi Sigurdsson from Germany, and even that was not for a big financial outlay. He stuck by the players who got them into the Premier League and they have rewarded him.”

Meanwhile, Ferguson spent Friday complaining about City’s financial clout – once again raising the spectre of ‘value’ ahead of the transfer window. Claiming that United is after “two or three” new players this summer, the United coach admitted that City’s financial muscle is out of reach.

However, critics of the Glazer regime will point to Ferguson’s staunch support for a family that has sucked £525 million out of United in debt related payments over the past six years. It leaves Untied set to sign Shinji Kagawa the Japanese contract rebel from Borussia Dortmund, and out-of-contract Crystal Palace defender Nathaniel Clyne this summer. Whether Ferguson is given the funds to reach the top of the transfer market is highly debatable.

Manchester United versus Swansea City, Premier League, Old Trafford, 6 May 2012, 4pm.But the transfer market is for later this summer. In the short-term Ferguson will be without defender Jonny Evans and striker Danny Welbeck, in addition to long-term absentees, for the Swans’ visit. A rumoured dispute between the manager and Tom Cleverley, who was left out of United’s matchday squad for the loss at Eastlands, and Wayne Rooney’s apparent consternation with an apparent last-minute change of tactics for the derby, will also make for intrigue in the build-up to Sunday’s game.

Yet, there has been no admission from the United manager that he got both team selection and tactics incomprehensibly wrong against City on Monday. Instead, Ferguson this week blamed the players for United’s draw with Everton a fortnight ago, and the non-performance against City at Eastlands.

“It’s been quite muted and a quiet place to be,” admitted Ferguson of United’s training at Carrington this week.

“It’s to be expected when we lose a game like that. Our job is to get the players up for the game on Sunday because it’s such a big game for us. We have to analyse it [the derby] as it’s part of the game. Even when we win, it’s to see good and bad points and we’ve done all that.

“It’s over with. It’s not something we address with the players, it’s for the staff’s knowledge – myself, Mike [Phelan] and Rene [Meuelensteen]. It’s for our knowledge in terms of could we have done something different? At the end of the day, there were some fantastic footballers on that pitch and we didn’t do well enough.”

Whether that performance results in a change of personnel is open to question. Certainly Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are in contention for a recall, while Javier Hernandez is likely to replace Welbeck in attack. Ferguson must also decided whether to stick with the much criticised Chris Smalling as Rio Ferdinand’s defensive partner, and whether to recall Rafael da Silva at right-back for the ineffectual Phil Jones.

Meanwhile, Swansea manager Rodgers will be make a last-minute call on former United youth player Alan Tate who may return from a calf injury, with right-back Angel Rangel the only other injury concern. The 39-year-old Swans manager says that a strong season has given Swansea the confidence to play at Old Trafford, especially that other teams have already won at the self-styled ‘Theatre of Dreams’ this season.

“Probably over the years teams have gone to Old Trafford not believing they can win, and that’s part of the reason Manchester United’s home record is so good,” said the Swansea manager.

“They have won so many games there, and won many of them so well, that they have built that feeling up. But what’s important for us is that we play the game tomorrow. The surface will suit us — we will be able to pass the ball and open the game up. We have shown no fear at any stage of the season and I don’t expect that to change now. We have to look at teams like Blackburn and Athletic Bilbao who have won at United this season.”

Meanwhile, all eyes will turn to City versus Newcastle at St. James’ Park Sunday lunchtime – surely United’s last hope of retaining the Premier League title this season.

“Newcastle will be a hard game for City all right, but City have had six days to recover from the derby,” added Ferguson.

“Newcastle played on Wednesday night, then had to travel back from London. Losing the title on goal difference would be a nightmare, when you think of the game we lost 6-1 to City, with three goals conceded in the last three minutes. When you consider all the opportunities we get in games there’s no doubt we are frivolous at times.

“Then there was that crazy game against Everton, when we were absolutely stupid. Giving goals away like that is hard to take when you think of how long the season is and how much work we have put in over the months, but that’s what could cost us.”

‘Ifs and buts,’ critics might add of a United squad that is patently less talented than Ferguson’s greats of 1994, 1999 and 2008. Yet, with a lengthy injury record this season, and talent slowly sucked out of squad by United’s tight-fisted owners, Ferguson has done well to keep the Reds in contention at all.

By 6pm Sunday it will either be over, or the Reds will have one final chance this season.

Match Facts
Manchester United versus Swansea City, Premier League, Old Trafford, 6 May 2012, 4pm.

Potential Line-ups
United (4-4-1-1): De Gea; Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Young; Rooney; Hernández. Subs from: Amos, Lindegaard, Rafael, Fabio, Nani, Cleverley, Pogba, Giggs, Berbatov, Owen.

Swansea: (3-4-3): Vorm; Williams, Caulker, Monk; Allen, Britton, Sigurdsson, Orlandi; Dyer, Graham, Sinclair. Subs from: Tremmel, Taylor, Tate, Rangel, Routledge, McEachran, Gower, Lita, Moore.

Match Stats

  • Swansea has won only once in the last six fixtures, and will be looking to deprive United the points the Reds need to remain in contention with City for the Premier League title;
  • Jones has been the toughest United defender to beat this season. Jones has won 92 per cent of all tackles he attempted, more than any other United player (discounting any players to have made fewer than 40 tackles this season);
  • Striker, Hernández, who is likely to start against Swansea, is United’s second highest goal scorer this season behind Rooney – 56 per cent of Hernández’s total shots have been on target this season, and he’s picked
    up ten goals in the process. Hernandez has scored with 43 per cent of shots on target this season;
  • Nani is currently top of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for crosses completed this season – the winger has completed 133 cross this season in 28 appearances for United this season at five per game;
  • Swansea’s Ashley Williams has won 77 per cent of all tackles he’s attempted this season – the highest tackles won percentage of any Swansea player (who has attempted 50 tackles or more);
  • Sigurdsson has scored seven goals this season, and the young midfielder has some impressive stats in front of goal – Sigurdsson’s shots on target percentage of 68.4 per cent is higher than top goalscorer Danny Graham (58.4 per cent);
  • Scott Sinclair has completed 111 dribbles this season and is second behind Gareth Bale in the Index for dribbling;
  • Joe Allen has been crucial to Swansea’s success, having completed the most passes for Swansea this season at 813 – he’s 13th overall for passes completed this season.

Form
United: WWLWDL
Swansea: LLLWDD

Officials
Referee: Chris Foy (St. Helens)
Assistants: D Cann, R West
Fourth Official: M Clattenburg