Manchester United comfortably saw off Carlos Carvahal’s Swansea City side with a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford.
The visitors have recently enjoyed a period of rejuvenation under new manager Carlos Carvalhal and found themselves in 14th place ahead of kickoff. With not much to lose in this one, Swansea would’ve been happy to walk away with one point. Manchester United looked to keep up their lead in second place and carry some form into next weekend’s derby with their not so friendly neighbours. With much criticism in recent weeks, a strong and professional win has set them up well for the season’s run in.
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Manchester United – 4231 – De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Young, Matic, Pogba, Mata (McTominay 90’), Sanchez (Herrera 75’), Lingard (Rashford 75’), Lukaku
Swansea City – 541 – Fabianski, Naugton, Van Der Hoon, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Dyer (Abraham 46’), King, Ki (Carrol 46’), Clucas (Routledge 56’), A. Ayew
Manchester United were on the front foot from the first whistle. They showed great tempo in their passing and desire off the ball. Swansea City came out of the gate lethargic, second best in every challenge. Swansea have been resolute in their defending recently and Manchester United knew if the game wore on without a goal it would be tough to get the breakthrough.
In the first five minutes of the match they continued to push the envelope and after some neat interplay on the left side, Matic with an incisive pass picked out Lingard. He easily found Alexis to set up Lukaku just inside the area and he made no mistake giving United the lead.
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Just minutes later, Lingard again found himself in ample room in the center and played in Lukaku who was smartly denied his second by Fabianski. Manchester United were firing on all cylinders and it looked a long night for Swansea City. Continuing their aggression, Manchester United doubled their lead after a penetrating through ball from Lingard found Sanchez in on goal and he smartly tucked it away.
Sharp play from the Red Devils, with Lingard heavily involved, carved up the Swansea City defense with ease in the opening half an hour. The next 15 were tame, with United wasting a couple quasi chances leading up to the half and Swansea struggling to get any foothold in the match.
Swansea City started the second half with two positive changes and shortly later were forced into a third through injury. Right away United came out firing again, with Mata narrowly missing the chance to truly put the match to bed after a delightful dinked ball in from Pogba found him wide open in front of goal. After some fortune, Swansea City woke up and started to find themselves in the game. Abraham did well to create some space out of nothing in the United box and force a brilliant save from De Gea and not even a minute later Abraham would be agonisingly denied again. De Gea’s first action in almost an hour and he proved once again why he is the best in the world.
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Manchester United clearly took their foot off the gas and were happy to close out the game. Lukaku would have one more chance for his brace but Fabianski was equal to the task. Swansea City continued their inspired second half performance but with little success in the final third. A professional job from United to finish out the match and secure three more points, keeping them two points ahead of Liverpool with a match in hand. Swansea City will be disappointed to not get atleast one back in the second half but they will have left Old Trafford with plenty of pride going forward as they look to ensure their relegation battle is a success.
MOTM: There were plenty of strong performances from Manchester United in the opening 45’ and likewise from Swansea City in the second 45’. However, for me one man stood out above the rest. Jesse Lingard was a vital aspect of any United move going forward as he kept them ticking playing between the lines and bridging the midfield and the forwards.
Written by Ammar Nazarali.
22. Currently living in the great state of Texas. Manchester United Team Correspondent for 90MAAT. #ILoveThisGame (@AmmarNazarali)