Preview: Manchester United v Swansea City

Manchester United could set a new club record for going undefeated in a top flight season when they welcome relegation-threatened Swansea to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Premier League

30 April 2017

Kickoff: 13:00

Venue: Old Trafford

Referee: N. Swarbrick

Assistants: G. Beswick, M. Wilkes

Fourth official: M. Jones

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Manchester City 28 13 5 10

Southampton 28 10 5 13

Previous encounter:

Swansea City 1-3 Manchester United (06/11/2016) Premier League

Swansea City goalscorer: M. van der Hoorn (69′)

Manchester United goalscorers: P. Pogba (15′), Z. Ibrahimovic (21′, 33′)

Players to watch:

Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho is down to the bare bones after injury has ravaged his squad of late. Marcus Rashford appeared to be hampered by a knock in the goalless derby draw against Manchester City on Thursday, although he is expected to feature at the weekend. The teenage striker was sparingly used earlier in the campaign, but has seen more action since a suspension and subsequent injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Rashford didn’t get much service against City and he will be hoping to make an impact with his searing pace when Paul Clement’s side come to town.

Eric Bailly has been a beast in defence for United and they will need another dominant performance from the Ivorian to keep the Swans at bay. Gylfi Sigurdsson will pose their main threat, the Iceland international joint-second in the top flight for assists with 12. He is good with both feet, half of his eight strikes coming from the left boot – the other four were three penalties and one free-kick. The playmaker will look to supply Fernando Llorente, who is the Welsh club’s leading scorer for the season with 12 goals, many of them headers from Sigurdsson’s crosses.

Team form and manager quotes:

The 0-0 stalemate at the Etihad Stadium extended United’s unbeaten streak in the league to 24 matches – equalling the record they set in the 2011/12 campaign, and stretches back to October when they lost 4-0 to Mourinho’s former employers, Chelsea.

The point against their neighbours did little for the Red Devils’ top-four hopes, but at least the gap to City remained just one point. Mourinho has put the impressive run down to a new-found resilience that was missing under his predecessor, Louis van Gaal.

“The group was a nice group, honestly, the group was a nice group,” he said.

“Good people, good boys, committed people, so I think Louis van Gaal left here a good group of boys with very good relations between them, and that I got in my hands.

“I think they missed happiness, they missed trust, they missed belief, they missed this extra bit that brings resilience, brings you fight, and [now] they have it.”

The Swans also have a battle on their hands at the other end of the table as they look to escape the dreaded drop, although time is running out with just four games left in the season.

A 2-0 triumph over Stoke last time out halted a worrying six-match winless streak for Clement’s men and took them within two points of safety in 18th place.

The Englishman was pleased with the performance against the Potters and believes his players have what it takes to secure their survival in the final stretch.

“The players showed against Stoke that they can perform even when the anxiety and pressure is high,” Clement said.

“We have four games to go. The players are confident and I am confident that we can go and pick up valuable points in all of them. We hadn’t been performing well before Stoke, I hope now we have turned the corner.”

Team news:

United’s injury woes deepened in the Manchester derby when Timothy Fosu-Mensah hurt his arm at the death, having been brought on after Marouane Fellaini was sent off for a headbutt on Sergio Aguero a few minutes earlier.

Fosu-Mensah joins a casualty list that includes Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo, Juan Mata, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

The visiting Swans could welcome back Jack Cork and Martin Olsson from respective ankle and hamstring injuries, while Leroy Fer is also available after shaking off a knock against Stoke.

However, Wayne Routledge will play no part after undergoing surgery on his hernia this week.

Comments