Manchester United — Swansea (Premier League)
The Swans travel to Old Trafford by the second time in a week and I bet they haven’t done it with such confidence before. Last Sunday they saw Manchester United off the FA Cup with a 1-2 victory and certainly hope to repeat the prowess. Can the defending Champions regains their mojo or will they relive the nightmare?
The two cup fixtures that were supposed to bring Man U some relief from the poor League results soon became a nightmarish turmoil. The Red Devils got sent off from both tournaments with 2-1 defeats, at the hands of Swansea and Sunderland. Old Trafford is on fire, and not in a good way.
Moyes is reported to have 200 million pounds to spend in January transfers. Isn’t that too little too late? The Glazers should now is bad for your wallet to go shopping with an empty stomach. And boy, are David Moyes and the Red Devils supporters starving for proper players! And it’s unlikely to find top players, the kind that belong in a club such as Manchester United, in the winter market. Plus, the new Manager, the standings and the recent turmoil does not make United locker-room as appealing to newcomers as it once was.
Like any good drama this pickle United find themselves in didn’t appear from nothing. It begin way in Ferguson’s time. Last season they’ve won the Premier League but let’s face it they were never an exciting team to watch. They’ve fought hard for every result and that is probably Sir Alex’s major accomplishment. Manchester United has two elite players, Wayne Rooney and Robbie van Persie, two world-class ones, de Gea and Micheal Carick, and a potential talent flourishing, Adnan Januzaj. The rest of the roster are either burnt-out veterans or average performers. David Moyes was appointed as heir, the summer market came and went, and all remained the same at Old Trafford. That was his first sign of weakness. Maybe he just wasn’t prepared for it. Or maybe, as in previous years, United’s decision-makers thought “it will do”. And it didn’t. Not when opponents invested heavily to strength their tittle claims. As before Moyes’ Manchester United are totally dependent on Rooney and the Dutchman to decide games for them. When one is out they tremble, when the two are side-lined the Red Devils become pedestrian, devoted of mind and spirit. The void turns them into a one-track-mind squad: play the wings, make the cross. And we’ve seen how well that went.
Both United stars are reported on contention for this fixture, the best possible news for Moyes. So is Jonny Evans. Fabio is suspended, Nani, Fellaini, jones and Young are all in the treatment room.
Probable line-up: De Gea — Smaling, Vidic, Evans, Evra — Cleverly, Carick — Valencia, Kagawa, Januzaj — Welbeck
Laudrup’s men put up a good show at Old Trafford. Hardly a surprise if you have been following Swans’ matches. Just ten days ago they made City work hard for the 3 points. Three former Ferguson’s boys returned to Mancherster or Sunday, playing for the other side: Captain John O’Shea, Wes Brown and Phil Bardsley. Adam Johnson’s performance was brilliant and absolutely instrumental to guarantee the win. He run the midfield at his pleasing and totally disrupted Tom Cleverly. They play a good game and know what to do with a ball. Quality and organization on a tight budget, that’s what they are. The squad’s lack of depth together with the Europa League commitments have hindered Swansea in the Premier League standings. But if they can regain a full fit roster they can aim higher.
The injury list includes Michu, Gary Monk, Nathan Dyer and Michel Vorm. Pablo Hernández and Lamah are doubtful.
Probable line-up: Tremmel — Rangel, Chico, Wiliams, Davies — Cañas, Gusmán — Hernández, Shelvey, Routledge — Bony.
A week ago Wilfred Bony’s winner forced (once) all-mighty Manchester United out of the FA Cup early round. Since it happen at the 89th minute some degree of luck was involved. But the truth is Swansea’s victory required ability, perseverance and a clear head. All the ingredients United was lacking. Can David Moyes avoid a fourth straight loss? He could use some peace of mind to go shopping.