Manchester United have not beaten Swansea City away since August 2013
Manchester United travel to Swansea City looking to capitalise on another defeat for Chelsea and keeping ground on league leaders Manchester City. A win will put United second as we enter the international break and Louis van Gaal’s men are yet to concede a goal in the league. Swansea started the season well with a draw and Stamford Bridge, which was of course overshadowed by the Eva Carneiro incident, before beating Newcastle United and drawing with Sunderland.
United fans will remember the optimism around the club before Louis van Gaal’s first game as United boss, which came crashing down when Swansea won 2-1, with goals from Ki Sung-yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson. United also lost 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium in the return fixture with Bafetimbi Gomis hitting the winner.
The next 48 hours will be a busy period for all clubs as we enter transfer deadline day and United fans will be hoping there will be resolution to the David De Gea saga, who will not feature for the club, again, today.
- The fixture will mark the 26th clash between the two clubs in history
- Wayne Rooney will enter the top 10 top appearances with 485 – level with Arthur Albiston
- United are yet to concede a goal by an opposing player this season
United Team News
United are without Adnan Januzaj after picking up an injury midweek, however – Marcos Rojo could be back in contention following his run out for the Under 21s against Ajax on Thursday. Both Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera, who starred in the 4-0 victory over Club Brugge in the week, are in line to replace the youngster in United’s starting Xi. Phil Jones isn’t available as he is still suffering from mild thrombosis.
View from the opposition
We have a great view from the opposition with Josh, who blogs over at The Swansea Way. We caught up over how well Garry Monk has done, a potential captain in Jonjo Shelvey and whether United have got value for money with regards to their transfers so far this season. You can follow the lads on Twitter @TheSwanseaWay
1) How would you sum up your start to the season and what did you make of Mourinho’s attempt to move attention away from the 2-2 result in your opening fixture?
Two draws and a win doesn’t seem all that spectacular, but when you consider that one of those draws was at Stamford Bridge and the win such a convincing one over Newcastle, I’d say we’ve had a really solid start.
As for the whole Mourinho situation, I didn’t expect anything other than his failure to give us any sort of recognition whatsoever. Not only did he revert attention from what was an extra-ordinary result for us, but he made himself look a bit of an idiot in the process.
My first match was against Swansea and we lost. Now I have my 50th and I hope we can show we have improved,”
– Louis van Gaal in press conference
2) Jefferson Montero is an exciting player, just how many goals and assists can he notch up this season and can you hang on to him?
We saw in glimpses last season what Montero was capable of, but his dodgy hamstring coupled with his explosive turn of pace meant that he was used as more of an impact player from the bench, and that was only when he was actually in the squad. It seems that he’s been well looked after over the course of the summer though, and he’s thriving off the general positivity we have in our attacking third at the moment.
Last season he managed a combined total of twenty key passes, assisting from seven of them finding the net himself once. This season he already has seven key passes and the one assist under his belt, I’d say he can definitely double his tally from last season in both goals, and assists.
3) When Michael Laudrup left, I felt that Swansea would struggle – which has been the total opposite. Does Garry Monk get the credit he deserves?
I can’t say you were alone in thinking that, because even the most optimistic Swansea fans were a bit wary when Monk was given the job on a stand-in basis. To say he’s proved a lot of people wrong during his time in charge here would be a massive understatement, and there aren’t many people outside of the Swansea area who have given him the recognition he deserves.
I say that, but he’s come into the limelight of late in the press and the national media seem to have taken a liking to him and his ways of work, and rightly so. From a Swansea fan’s point of view, the man can never get enough praise for what he’s done with us both as a player and now a manager.
4) United look to be back scoring again following the 4-0 victory in the Champions League qualifiers, are you confident that you can limit Wayne Rooney and co up top?
I won’t say that I’m confident that we will be able to stop them, but we certainly can. With the exception of a few dodgy decisions on the ball from Fernandez from time to time, I’d say our back line is up there with the best in the Premier League. We have two solid full-backs in Naughton and Taylor, while Williams and Fernandez compliment one-another excellently. One thing for sure is that our defence is significantly better than that of Club Brugge, so don’t get too excited over that Rooney hat-trick.
5) What have you made of United’s transfers this summer – value for money?
I’m not entirely sure what to make of your summer so far to be honest. Memphis, Darmian, Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger are all real top class signings, but it’s almost like your summer will be criticised on what you haven’t done. After being so heavily linked with the likes of Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, Neymar and Thomas Muller (any of who of course, could still join), it’ll be disappointing to see your transfer activity end where it stands at the moment.
Not only that, but your positive transfer activity has been overshadowed by the De Gea saga, which needs to come to an end sooner rather than later for the sake of both parties. But anyway, as for value for money, I think you’ve paid about the right price for the talent you’ve brought in. £31m for Memphis could turn out to be a steal in the coming years though, especially with the market escalating as rapidly as it is now.
6) Where do you think Swansea and United will finish this season?
I answered a similar question for the Liverpool Echo the other day, and I think we’ve got a real job on our hands if we’re to even match our eighth place finish of last season. That’s not to say it can’t be done though. We haven’t even come close to losing any of our big names this season, and we’ve strengthened massively with the signing of Andre Ayew. I think it’ll be more difficult this season as so many teams around us have strengthened, I’m predicting us to finish ninth.
As for you, I think your fate lies in what happens in your camp in the coming week or so. I don’t think you’ve got enough up front at the moment to even challenge for the title, but even with van Gaal seemingly ruling out the signing of another striker, I wouldn’t bet against it. I think you’ll finish third.
7) Who would be the most likely player to leave or to join the club on transfer deadline day?
For the first time in years, I can safely say I have no worries about any of our current squad jumping ship before the window shuts. If there was one it’d probably be Michu, who hasn’t trained with us since coming back from his loan at Napoli last season. The same goes for incoming players, as apart from perhaps someone to strengthen our already solid Under 21 side, I don’t see anyone else coming in – and I don’t think we need it.
8) Where do you think United need to strengthen and what did you make of the whole Neymar link?
I mentioned earlier that I think you’re a bit thin on the ground up front, so if you were to improve anywhere I’d probably say you need a world-class striker. Not that Rooney isn’t one, but I don’t think you can win the title relying on him solely. Though I think if you could sign just one player, I think it’d have to be a centre-back. I haven’t been convinced by Daley Blind there yet, and I can think of many a forward in this league that can exploit his weaknesses – Gomis one of them.
I thought the Neymar link was a bit of a silly one and unless he’s being made next in line to the throne, I don’t think he’d even consider leaving Barcelona. Then again, the same was said about Di Maria last season when he left Madrid, so it’s definitely not a complete impossibility.
9) What went wrong with Michu?
Playing on a dodgy ankle instead of being rested is what went wrong with Michu. Even with a fully fit Wilfried Bony on the bench, Laudrup insisted on playing Michu who certainly was not ready to play every week. He hasn’t recovered from his ankle injuries since and there’s no way he’ll ever be back to his best again and if I’m being completely honest, it absolutely kills me. He doesn’t seem to have the desire to play anymore, and he certainly doesn’t want to play in a Swansea shirt.
10) Will Jonjo Shelvey one day be Swansea captain? Will he break into the England side this year?
Jonjo for captain? Now that’s something I don’t think many people have even considered! It’s not a bad shout though. If he continues to mature at the rate he has done over the last year or so, I’ll be happy if he stays put whatever his place in the squad hierarchy.
Shelvey has played very much in what from an England perspective what would be called the ‘Jack Wilshere role’, and with the Arsenal man out injured for the upcoming internationals I don’t see anyone currently playing to a higher standard in that position than Shelvey. Will he get into the squad? I think so. Will he be given as much of a chance as he deserves? He plays for the Swans, so I doubt it.