End Of An Era? Manchester United 2 Swansea City 0

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In the early kick off Manchester City had defeated Newcastle United to strengthen their position and be within touching distance of their first league title since 1968. As Swansea visited the theatre of dreams, it is safe to say that their dreams had come true. With the away fans making a lot of noise at the start of the game the atmosphere was understandably somewhat subdued.

Gunning For Goals

Manchester United dominated proceedings but it took until the 28th minute for the Reds to break the deadlock. Once again it was Valencia, who had been left on the bench for the crunch game against City, who charged up the right-wing, beating Taylor on the outside before picking out Carrick with a pull back. Carrick’s left foot shot was heading to the far corner but Scholes was in the right place once again to chop the ball with his right foot behind his left leg, into the opposite corner. Scholes was again involved in the second goal, receiving the ball from the right-wing he played it to Rooney who’s shot from just inside the box was blocked. But the ball fell kindly to Ashley Young and his low curling well placed finish to the bottom right corner put United two goals ahead. This made the east stand, near the Swansea fans, start singing ‘We’re gonna win ten nil’.

Stubborn Swans

Manchester United kept trying to force more goals in the second half but the Swansea defence along with the outstanding Vorm held firm. Dyer and Sinclair had already tested United throughout the game, before Allen’s shot was diverted on target by Graham, but De Gea held on at the second time of asking. The united keeper was once again called into action with Sigurdsson’s curling, dipping, 25 yard free kick requiring a good save.

I have to say even in the most difficult of games Sigurdsson shone out for the swans with great passing movement and sublime vision. Also Allen looked better live than he does on TV with a great work rate off the ball, and when Britton took to the field he showed his class once again. While a romantic cameo near the end of the game was afforded to Alan Tate, the former Manchester United youth team captain. Although beaten on the day Swansea City showed great resolve and put on a dignified performance.

Is It All Over?

Wayne Rooney picked up his first booking of the season for a fairly innocuous challenge – one for the referee’s record book. Also Berbatov was introduced for the last twelve minutes for what many expect will be his final appearance at Old Trafford in a United shirt.

Finally the lap of honour was led by Paul Scholes, it seemed to be a wave goodbye, but Sir Alex Ferguson will no doubt try to tempt him into playing on for another season.

Who knows what Swansea could achieve in the future having made such a great start to life in the Premier league. As for Manchester United, history demands greatness every season and with one game remaining the slight hope for a great 2012 rests largely with Queens Park Rangers.

If Manchester City win the title this season, will it spell the end of an era? Will the ‘noisy neighbours’ go on to dominate the Premier League in the forseeable future?

Match Analysis

Manchester United Chances

From the 4-4-2¬†StatsZone app we can see that United’s attacking threat came mainly from the right-wing. With most of the passes into the attacking third going into that area and the majority of chances being created from that side. Which is where both goals were created; with a pass into the centre from the right-wing, followed by a failed attempt to score, leading to the goal scoring attempt.

Swansea City Chances

The influence of Sigurdsson can again be seen by the placement of Swansea’s chances. These were mostly from a central position on the edge of the box and the graphic just confirms the impact Sigurdsson has for Swansea. He will be top of their list for a summer transfer, but his displays for Swansea have doubled if not tripled his value. Manchester United may well be one of the clubs interested in this creative attacking midfielder.

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