The Liberty Stadium plays host to a travelling Manchester United on Saturday afternoon, as the home side look to get back to winning ways the visitors have proven difficult to put away as of late and will be looking to keep it that way. Garry Monk’s side don’t seem to have quite come to grips with the big money loss of their talismanic striker Wilfried Bony, having only picked up one win in the new year. The Welsh side may not be expected to cause many problems to a Manchester United side that just seem to be picking up results as of late with no noticeably impressive performances. However, it was Garry Monk’s men that upset Louis Van Gaal in maiden voyage as leader of United on the opening day of the season. As such you can expect that Van Gaal hasn’t forgotten that and will have done plenty of due diligence on his welsh opposition so as to exact some revenge on the team that spoiled his big welcoming party. Neither team has been overly impressive in recent weeks but one has been picking up positive result while the other one seems to be going through its rough patch of the season. Will the status quo be followed? Or can Swansea once again through a wrench in Van Gaal and United’s season?
In terms of injuries Swansea only have the absence of Modou Barrow and Marvin Emnes to deal with. However, in recent weeks the biggest loss has been the departure of Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony to Man City, which was then compounded by star playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson picking up a n3 match ban last month after a red card against Blackburn in the FA cup. Much to the delight of the Swansea fans Sigurdsson has now served out his suspension and will be available for the visit of Manchester United.
Michael Carrick’s extended absence aside, Manchester United should be looking at near full complement for the trip to Wales on Saturday. Both Robin Van Persie and Phil Jones had to sit out the trip to Preston on Monday after picking up knocks against Burnley in the match prior. However, it is likely that they will be able to play some role if not start in the away fixture on Saturday afternoon
Manchester United have conceded the highest percentage of goals from set pieces in the Premier League this season (46%). However, Swansea have scored the fewest goals from set pieces with only 4
Only Chelsea have put more a higher percentage of their chances (18.6%) than Manchester United (18%)
Swansea have only netted 9 times in their last 11 Premier League matches. During that run they haven’t scored more than once in a game. Meanwhile, United have scored 10 in their last 6 only failing to score in a game once in that run.
Swansea beat Manchester United in Louis Van Gaal’s first Premier League match on the opening day of the season at Old Trafford
The last time the two sides met in Wales, Man United ran out 4-1 winners in then Manager David Moyes first Premier League game in charge of the club in August 2013
3 of the goals in that game were scored by players no longer associated with either club. Danny Welbeck netted twice for United and Wilfried Bony scored Swansea’s consolation
Swansea City: Ki Sung-Yeung
The South Korean was missed by his club side during his time at the Asian cup with his national team. It would’ve been upsetting for Swansea fans that his side managed to go the distance to the final of the tournament. Much to their delight the midfielder is back and has back on form since his return, already finding the net once in his first two performances since the trip to Australia. He has proven his quality in the midfield throughout the season as the man Swansea can depend on to recycle the ball them and allow them to attempt spells of possession, he is the player they are confident they can give it to and he won’t lose it. With an average pass accuracy of 90% in the league this season you can see his importance to the team. He has found his time to contribute with 4 goals as well, his quality has also been recognized reportedly by Arsenal who have monitored the player. In a game where there could be long spells of toothless Man United possession they will need to be careful with the ball when they do have it Swansea, Ki Sung-Yeung is the man in the middle of the park they will look to for setting the tempo of their possession .
Manchester United: Marouane Fellaini
The big Belgian has had quite a turn-around in fortune this season. Spending the whole of last season at the butt of every Premier League fans jokes after his 27 million pound deadline day move to Manchester United. As Moyes is only notable signing he became the scapegoat for much of Man United’s poor performances. Admittedly, he wasn’t helping his cause as his performances in the red shirt were let’s say disappointing. However, he has had resurgence in Louis Van Gaal’s new set up. With the confident Dutchman not afraid to play Fellaini to his strengths, like he was at Everton, there has been a meteoric rise in his level of performances and general contribution to the season. Against Preston world superstar striker Falcao was substituted for Ashley Young and Fellaini took his place up top, he looked ten times the player Falcao did during that game. His physical presence and aggressive style makes him a handful for any team when he is played correctly. If used to his best potential again against Swansea their centre could prove too soft to handle the gangly Belgian.
Swansea have struggled in the new year. Although they still occupy a top half position in 9th place, the Welsh sides have only managed one win in 2015. Their 1-0 away at Southampton helping to keep them in the top half of the table. The departure of striker Wilfried Bony has hurt them as now they seem impotent up front without their main goal scoring threat, especially with Baftembi Gomis yet showcase his wroth to the Swans as a first choice striker. Manchester United meanwhile, although unconvincing for the most part have managed to grind out results like the United of old. With the side back into 3rd in the league table and securing safe passage to the FA cup quarter final you can expect Van Gaal to expect his side to be unrelenting in their approach to games to help his first season with the club to be as successful a possible. Although Swansea don’t appear much of a threat, in fact they come across as that team that is already on its summer holiday. They are going to cause any ripples and break into a European spot and they are in a comfortable enough position so they aren’t going to get relegated. However, as Southampton learned you cannot write them off. They have plenty of talent capable of turning a game on its head, even Van Gaal will be wary of that. It may not be a comfortable visit to Wales for the Red Devils but I expect them to have enough in the tank to come away with the 3 points they will seek.
2-0 Man United win