Historically, the fixture of Swansea City vs Manchester United has been the witness of many surprises, mostly from the weaker team. But, today was a bit different, as a rejuvenated and confident United thrashed Swansea 3-1.
Jose Mourinho made several changes to his starting lineup, the most notable ones being the inclusion of Phil Jones and Ashley Young in the back four, in place of Daley Blind and Luke Shaw. Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney also started up front, along with Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And this new starting lineup reaped the fruit for the team right away. Rooney, in particular, was in a good touch with his regained confidence after scoring that screamer against Fenerbahce midweek.
Manchester United started scoring as early as in the 15th minute, when Pogba netted a screamer from 20 yards out. It was a brilliant strike to the top right corner from the Frenchman. Six minutes later, another new United signing doubled the lead, thanks to a nicely worked out pass from Rooney. The United skipper set Ibrahimovic up with a delicious ball and the striker made no mistake to go past the challenge of Sung Yeung Ki and slotted it home, well outside the reach of Lukasz Fabianski.
The Swedish forward’s second came in a similar fashion, at the stroke of 33rd minute. Rooney was the architect once again, laying a beautiful ball to Zlatan and he used his power again, to brush off the defenders’ challenges, before taking an effective shot at the target. Manchester United were 3-0 at the break and the day seemed brighter for the visitors.
Bob Bradley made two changes at the break, bringing Barrow and Jeferson Montero for out of form Routledge and Fernando Llorente. However, the situation did not change for the home side. The away team seemed to sit deep comfortably and maintain their lead, and this caused some Swansea players lose their temper. They, however, made a few chances around the hour mark, but the shots did not have the necessary firepower to beat David De Gea. But the intention was always there and they got the first break with only twenty odd minutes to go.
Swansea were always good in set pieces and it was another well worked freekick from Gylfi Sigurdsson. The wicked curl from the midfielder found Van der Hoorn inside the box and his powerful header hit the back of the nets to make it 1-3 for the home side. Minutes later, Rooney was at his best once again and laid another ball to Mata at a nice position. However, the Spaniard’s effort went inches wide, much to the dismay of the visiting fans.
The Swans, on the other hand, could have reduced the gap further at 83rd minute, as Montero got a nice through ball on the left flank. He cut inside the box defeating Rojo and lofted the ball to Barrow, but his feeble attempt never looked good enough to beat the United custodian. The last few minutes were all about passing the ball around, and the game ended in a welcome win for the Red Devils who are now at the sixth spot with 18 points, 8 behind league leaders Liverpool.
Swansea City vs Manchester United Highlights:
Swansea City (4-4-2): Fabianski; Rangel, Van der Hoorn, Mawson, Kingsley; Routledge (Barrow, 46′), Ki, Britton (Fer, 70′), Sigurdsson; Llorente (Montero, 46′), Baston.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Darmian, Jones, Rojo, Young; Carrick, Fellaini; Mata (Lingard, 81′), Pogba (Fosu-Mensah, 90’+3′), Rooney (Schneiderlin, 89′); Ibrahimovic.
Goals: Pogba (15′), Ibrahimovic (21′, 33′), Van der Hoorn (69′).
Swansea City vs Manchester United Match Statistics:
|Swansea City||Manchester United|
|Shots (on target)||6 (1)||9 (3)|
|Passes played (accuracy)||366 (82%)||695 (91%)|
|Fouls conceded (Bookings)||9||17 (2 yellow)|
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Photo by Doha Stadium Plus