One of the themes of this weekend was away teams winning. That theme did not hold true at the Liberty Stadium though as Swansea came out 2-1 victors over Manchester United. Swansea continued their recent dominance over United with their third win in a row over the Red Devils. After already getting a draw away to Chelsea, the Swans have built on their noteworthy start with this win and find themselves fourth going into the international break.
Considering some of the acquisitions they made this summer, Swansea’s success shouldn’t really be a surprise. The biggest signing Swansea made this summer was the free transfer of Andre Ayew. They signed the Ghanaian on a free from Marseille and he has made an instant impact to the side. After impressing multiple times in the first three games of the season, he did it again against United.
Ayew obviously got his goal and his assist, but he showed his fantastic defensive work rate throughout the game. He made 10 ball recoveries including six in his own half with three of them coming in his defensive third. He won two of his four attempted tackles as well as an interception. He completed 23 of his 32 attempted passes and created three chances.
Ayew’s positioning in the match was a very important point. He started the match in his normal wide right position. The way Swansea have been setting up this year has been with Ayew on the right and a more traditional winger on the left. The winger on the left providing width allows the Ghanaian to tuck inside and at times get along side striker Bafetimbi Gomis.
After going 1-0 down in the second half, Gary Monk made a change to the team. He subbed Wayne Routledge off for Ki Sung Young and changed the formation from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-1-2. Ki went into the midfield three with Shelvey and Jack Cork, while Ayew was told to go up as a second striker next to Gomis. The change worked like magic. After making the sub in the 58th minute being 1-0 down, the Swans were 2-1 up by the 66th minute with both goals involving Ayew. In his post-match interview, Monk cited the switch as a turning point in the match.
While the first Swansea goal was important, the second was the knockout punch. After conceding only five minutes earlier, United were on their heels and Swansea pounced. The move started in Swansea’s defensive third where Ki picked up the ball. He played a square ball to Jonjo Shelvey who played a beautiful line splitting pass to Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelandic international laid it off to Ayew, who had pulled off to the right. Ayew then played one of the passes if the season so far. He hit the ball with the outside of his foot to bend the pass around Chris Smalling. This allowed Gomis to run off of Daley Blind, latch onto the ball, and slot under Sergio Romero to give Swansea a deserved 2-1 lead.
Andre Ayew has already made his mark on the Premier League. The former African Footballer of the Year has so far lived up to his billing. With three goals in four games, he has been vital to Swansea’s good start and will attempt help lead them up the table this season.