Sunday, 1 April 2018

Match report: United 2-0 Swansea City

Romelu Lukaku scored his 100th Premier League goal as quickfire United regained second spot in the table with an early opening salvo. Liverpool had temporarily leapfrogged the team with their win at Palace in the lunchtime tie, but - from the moment Lukaku put the Reds ahead in the fifth minute - this result never looked in doubt.

United made a fast start against Carlos Carvalhal's in-form Swansea as we answered our critics in style with a high tempo performance of pace and intensity. The slickest move reaped early rewards as Nemanja Matic picked out Jesse Lingard whom in turned flicked on to Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean spun his marker and played in Lukaku, who capped the intricate and incisive build-up with his landmark goal, albeit with the aid of a deflection off the stretching Alfie Mawson. It was the big Belgian's century of goals in the top flight and his 26th of an increasingly prolific debut season at Old Trafford. The south Wales side have been rejuvenated since the arrival of Carvalhal in December, but Jose got the better of his compatriot as a dominant and fluid United had too much for the visitors, who despite their upturn in form remain in a perilous position, three places and points above the drop zone.

By his own admission, Alexis has suffered a disappointing and underwhelming start to life in United red, but this was probably the Chilean's best performance so far - he pulled the strings in attack and was energetically involved in everything we did going forward. It was he who extended our advantage further on 20 minutes, as he scored his first 'proper' United goal from open play. Lingard - operating in the number ten role - was again at the heart of things - as he picked out Alexis with a pinpoint pass and Sanchez fired in a clinical low finish beyond ex Arsenal team-mate Lukasz Fabianski.
Alexis headed over the bar having been released by Lukaku at the culmination of another flowing move, before Juan Mata went close with an acrobatic effort shortly after the interval.
Swansea finally stirred from their slumber and David de Gea - a spectator throughout to this point - was called into action twice in quick succession as the visitors threatened a fightback. DDG saved superbly from Swans sub Tammy Abraham from distance, before lightning-quick reactions denied the same player on the rebound when he looked poised to score.

Federico Fernandez blocked well from Lukaku, and Andre Ayew fired wide at the other end but Swansea's threat had fizzled out with those two Abraham efforts as United held out in comfortable - if rather anti-climatic - fashion.

Next up, the derby...

Overall team performance: 7.5/10
United Faithful Man of the Match: Alexis Sanchez. His best performance for us since his move in January. Much needed.

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