It was the 22nd of November 1986, Alex Ferguson’s first home game in charge of Manchester United against Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford. Twenty seven years later and Sir Alex Ferguson will be in the home dugout for the final time as Manchester United face Swansea City in their final home game of the 2012-2013 campaign.
Sir Alex Ferguson, who started as a a bright young coach from Aberdeen, has initially become Manchester United itself, everything surrounding the club in the modern era is built in his image and to his expectations and the seventy one year old will retire at the end of this season with a thirteenth English title under his belt, leaving a gaping hole in the club and the hearts of supporters that will be impossible to fill.
The day is set for Manchester United’s twentieth title celebrations and Sir Alex Ferguson will do his utmost to make sure this occurs yet there is no getting away from the fact Sunday May 12th 2013 will be all about Sir Alex Ferguson. The match itself is of very little importance with Manchester United having secured the title and Swansea City having cemented an excellent final League position and European football for next season via the League Cup and neither clubs results have any bearing on other battles for position in the Premier League table. Up until a couple of days ago you would have been forgiven for thinking this would be a dull, emotionless affair however following the news of this week that is simply not possible.
Manchester United head into their final home game of the season as it was last season, against Swansea City with only West Bromwich Albion to come at The Hawthorns next Sunday in what will be Sir Alex’s 1500th and final game in charge of Manchester United. Swansea City will close the season in good spirits and a good position in terms of building for next season with Michael Laudrup committed to the club. Despite their disappointing final third of the season following their League Cup triumph over Bradford City, the Welsh club sit in ninth place and face Fulham at home on the final day of their season with Martin Jol’s side still not fully protected from the jaws of relegation down to the Npower Championship.
Manchester United will be once again without Ashley Young who is missing the rest of the season with an ankle injury, Paul Scholes, after missing a large proportion of the season with a knee complaint returned to the Manchester United squad last Sunday when he made the bench against Chelsea, is expected to start on Sunday against Swansea. There are no fresh injury concerns for Manchester United ahead of their final two games of the season against Swansea and West Bromwich Albion. It has also been muted that Adnan Januzaj may be called up the squad for Sunday’s fixture against Swansea with Sir Alex having praised the young Belgian in recent weeks. Rafael da Silva will miss the match through suspension following his sending off against Chelsea last Sunday.
Swansea City will continue to be without leading scorer Michu who will miss the rest of the season through injury, Ki Sung-Yeung is expected to return to the Swansea squad after missing a number of games through injury including Tuesday’s trip to Wigan Athletic. Roland Lamah continues to struggle with a hamstring injury and is unlikely to feature on Sunday against the Champions. Swansea will also be without Angel Rangel and goalkeeper Michel Vorm as a result of injuries.
- Two victories in their remaining two fixtures will see Manchester United equal their highest ever points total of 91 in the Premier League era under Sir Alex Ferguson.
- Sir Alex Ferguson has overseen 894 victories in charge of Manchester United over the course of his Old Trafford stewardship.
- A win for Swansea City would secure them a top half finish in Michael Laudrup’s first season in charge of The Swans.
- Ryan Giggs will make his 940th appearance in all competitions for Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson if he plays a part against Swansea on Sunday.
In what is likely to be Paul Scholes’ final game in Professional Football the arguably greatest midfielder ever produce in England will be looking to sign off with a good performance against Swansea. It is expected that Sir Alex Ferguson will allow Paul Scholes to start Sunday’s fixture against Swansea despite the midfielder having missed a large part of the season through injury and Scholes with the Swansea midfield and defence having the potential to take their eye of the ball so to speak with their season effectively over, could have a great deal of opportunities to spread the ball across the Old Trafford pitch one final time. Paul Scholes has made 716 appearances in all competitions for Manchester United in his career so far with positions him third behind Sir Bobby Charlton and Ryan Giggs in the clubs all time appearance records.
Jonathan de Guzman
In a game where it is likely Swansea will have very little possession of the ball and very little attacking impetus it is rather difficult to pick out a key man as such. Without their star goal scorer Michu the responsibility to drive the team forward falls upon the itshoulder of loanee Jonathan de Guzman with the Dutch international having given Swansea far greater cutting edge in midfield following the departure of Joe Allen last summer. de Guzman’s loan spell is officially due to end following the final game of the Premier League season against Fulham however it is believed that Michael Laudrup will insist on the permanent signing of de Guzman from Villarreal this summer especially with El Submarino Amarillo‘s future still up in the air.
I would like to take these final moments to congratulate Sir Alex Ferguson on all he has achieved in his footballing career from his time as a player at Rangers right through to his final season at Manchester United where he secured the club’s twentieth English title. The game as a universal whole will miss Sir Alex as will English football and I wish him well in his years of well earned retirement.
£20 wins you:
Swansea to win on Sir Alex’s last game at Old Trafford: £210
United to score 3 or more: £41
Van Persie to score a double: £56
Rooney to score: £34
Giggs to score & United win 4-0: £1620