Friday 30 March 2018

Match preview: United v Swansea City

Just like our blog, the Premier League returns after an enforced absence through other commitments afar, as we finally resume the business of 'proper' English football after the latest mind numbingly dull international break. It feels like an age since United were last in action, but it is in fact a mere 13 days since our 2-0 win over Brighton that sent us through to the FA Cup semi - finals.

The Manchester derby may be looming large in the rear view mirror, but first the Reds need to take care of business against opponents at the opposite end of the Premier League table in the shape of lowly but improving Swansea. Eyebrows were raised when Carlos Carvalhal was appointed as Paul Clement's successor in the south Wales side's hotseat in December - but it's proved to be an inspired move as Jose's fellow countryman has overseen a remarkable reversal of fortunes for the Swans, having lost only two league ties so far including back-to-back home wins over heavyweight duo Liverpool and Arsenal since the turn of the year. The Swans looked doomed to the drop before the Portuguese's arrival but ahead of their trip to Old Trafford, whilst not safe yet, they sit in the relatively lofty heights of 14th, albeit only three points above the drop zone in the compelling and captivating fight for survival. United have faced the Swans twice at the Liberty Stadium this term in league and cup, winning 4-0 and 2-0, but the visitors are a completely rejuvenated proposition this time around.

Jose expects a difficult encounter against his compatriot's in-form side, and said: "We face a team that is very well organised, especially from the defensive point of view. They are dangerous on the counter-attack with fast people and they are dangerous in the set pieces because they have big, strong players in the aerial football. They are difficult team.
"They have improved a lot, they had a difficult situation but since Carlos has come it is different. They were below the last-three line for weeks and weeks and weeks, but with Carlos it has been point after point and now they are in good position, so we know it will be tough. Carlos is a good guy, my friend, but of course I hope he is not so happy tomorrow."

There is mixed injury news for United with Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones having regained full fitness, and both are available for selection. Ander Herrera is also back in contention. Sergio Romero is set for a few weeks on the sidelines having picked up an injury on international duty, and Ashley Young is also a doubt after he sustained a knee problem late on against Italy. Leroy Fer, Wilfried Bony and Angel Rangel are all doutbful for the visitors, but Bayern Munich loanee Renato Sanches could return. Striker Jordan Ayew serves the second of a three-match ban after being sent off at Huddersfield.

Form guide: United D W W W L W Swansea City D L W W D L
Match odds: United 2/9 Draw 5/1 Swansea City 13/8
Referee: Bobby Madley (Wakefield)

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