Rio Ferdinand scores against Swansea in what was Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game in charge at home
Manchester United welcome Swansea City for the second time in under a week and are hoping for a better result than last Sunday. Monday 6th January is generally considered the most depressing day of the year, when the majority of people head back to work following the Christmas break – this of course was made even worse by the fact that United had lost both opening 2014 fixtures and were set to lose again mid week to Sunderland in the League Cup.
David Moyes is under an excruciating amount of pressure and is again missing both Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, who have scored 22 goals between them so far this season. Centre half Jonny Evans is a doubt having picked up a back injury midweek against Sunderland whilst Pablo Hernandez and Roland Lamah are missing for Swansea City due to hamstring and abductor problems respectively.
Many United fans were disheartened to learn that the club are unlikely to purchase any new players in the January transfer window despite being linked to the industrious Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund, who has missed most of the season so far through injury.
We have a great view from the opposition for you with Jules from from swansfc.com, where we discuss last weekend’s FA Cup fixture, Wilfried Bony and who really did start the “forever blowing bubbles” chant. You can follow the guys on Twitter @swansfc.
1) What did you make of last weekend’s FA Cup match?
It was a typical Swansea display in the fact they had most of the overall possession and continued to pass the ball from defence through the midfield and then wide. One thing that was noticeable was the Swans whipped in more crosses than they usually due, and most of these came from the right-back Tiendalli. Before the game, many Swans fans had been talking about the fact that Wilfried Bony is not getting the service he deserves and I think we saw more opportunities come his way during this game from the crosses etc. He is also looking fitter by the game. Man Utd play well enough but it was difficult to see where the goals were going to come from.
2) Has David Moyes lost the dressing room? Do you think United will stick by him?
Up until a few days ago I would have said Moyes still had the dressing room but after the press have reported about a possible reduction in wages should the team fail to land a Champions League spot it seems he has some disgruntled players on his hands. I think the Board will stick by him for a good while yet but he certainly won;t have the time or opportunity that Ferguson had all those years ago. It seems unthinkable that United won’t qualify for a Champions League position but that seems a real possibility. But in Moyes they chose a manager who hadn’t won anything at Everton so are people’s expectations of him too high?
3) How good a manager is Michael Laudrup and will he be there next season?
Undoubtedly a legend in hos own right and as fans we were thrilled to have him at Swansea. However, there have been rumours of unrest between him and the players due mainly to his coaching methods and laid back approach but I guess this can be said of a lot of clubs. He has signed a year’s extension taking him to 2015 but I think he may go in the Summer. Mnay were touting Solksjaer as a possible replacement but of course that will never happen now.
4) Bony looks a really good player, what have you made of him so far and how many goals can he get?
I like Bony but he has attracted a fair amount of criticism amongst some Swansea fans. Without doubt he wasn’t fit when he arrived at Swansea. He looked slow and over weight. However, this has improved game-by-game and his performance at Old Trafford last weekend was one of his best yet. He cost the club £12million which was a huge investment for the Swans. I don’t think we have seen enough to warrant that amount of money, however I think he is definitely getting there. He was prolific in the Dutch League and I’m sure with a better service from the wide players we will see him score more goals consistently. I’m confident he will score at least 20 this season in all competitions.
5) United look very ordinary without Rooney and van Persie, confident that you can get another win Saturday?
United are not the team they were. I think this is a combination of the change of manager and a team that is showing its age a little: Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra. However, I still believe Van Persie is one of the best strikers in the World and Rooney on his day can be an outstanding talent. I doubt very much United will keep hold of either of those players if the club doesn’t achieve a top four spot in the league. I think the Swans would do well to get a draw. I think we will see a more determined and attacking side in United this coming Saturday, so a draw would be a fantastic result for us.
6) What have you made of season so far and where will you finish?
This is the third season for us in the Premier League and I think this is the hardest season yet. From bottom to mid table the points are so close and which the change of managers and lower clubs looking to invest heavily during January i.e. West Ham, Cardiff, Fulham and WBA it’s going to be a tough last few months. Our season of course has been occupied with the Europa League too but I personally don’t fee it has been a distraction although many would disagree with me. Napoli in the next round will be extremely difficult but if we could beat them who knows what we could achieve as European football suits our style much better.
I think we will finish lower than last year around 12th position.
7) Who has been your best and worst player this season?
Best player for me is Jordi Amat. He is a Spanish Under 21 central defender who the Swans signed in the Summer. He hasn’t played every game but I think we have uncovered a real gem and should Chico or Ashley Williams leave, he is more than a capable (if not better) long term replacement. Worst player is a difficult one. Certainly not the worst but I have been disappointed by recent performances of Pozuelo. He is a young Spanish Midfielder who the Swans signed during the summer. Pre-season and during the beginning of the campaign I thought we had signed someone very special but he has been a disappointment of late with losing possession and misplaced passes. However, he has been played out of position on the left or right wing but he prefers a more central role. It was his through ball that set up Routledge’s goal last weekend against United.
8) Have you been linked without anyone in the transfer window? If so, who? In which areas do you need to strengthen?
The only link has been Tom Ince. Most Swans fans would like to see him at the Liberty Stadium but it has been on-going saga. Only today our Chairman Huw Jenkins has seemingly distanced himself from the rumours. We need another striker as the back up Bony is Vazquez who is yet to score for the Swans and hasn’t impressed so far.
9) Have you any decent youngsters coming through?
Daniel Alfei, a young central defender is a local lad who is well thought of at the club. He has only a played a few minutes in the league. He has been loaned out to Wrexham previously but only this week it was announced he has been loaned to Portsmouth for a month. We wish him well and hope we will see a lot more of him in a Swansea City shirt. Another player is young striker Rory Donnelly. Signed by Brendan Rodgers, he has scored for fun in the reserves but has had little opportunities under Laudrup. He did make the bench against United last weekend.
10) Give us a prediction and a little known fact about Swansea City.
Apparently, the West Ham United song ‘forever blowing bubbles’ was originally sung by Swansea City fans.
We’ve also been sent this nice infographic highlighting the results between both clubs since 1981. Many thanks to Live football for providing.