Sunday, 30 August 16:00 BST
Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Swansea City perhaps go into this fixture being the favourites for the first time against Manchester United. Both sides are yet to taste defeat this season and will look to get a positive result before the international break.
After spending more than $320 million over the last two years, the expectation from Louis van Gaal and his Manchester United team would be to blow away most of the opposition. But football does not follow mathematics as clearly demonstrated by the Red Devils solid but unspectacular start.
Swansea on the other hand, are a club which spends within its means but which is playing a brand of football that is not only pleasing to the eye but extremely effective. On top of that is the added confidence of recording a double over Manchester United last term.
To be considered as title contenders the Red Devils will have to win games such as this, but to beat the Swans at the Liberty is easier said than done.
The attacking players that the Swans have, namely Bafetimbi Gomis, Jonjo Shelvey, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jefferson Montero & Andre Ayew can potentially give any opposition in England a thorough examination. Frenchman Gomis has been on fire this season having scored in all 3 of Swanseaa s Premier League matches so far. . Shelvey has been one of the most creative players this season and can use this match to showcase how he deserves a call up to the national side.
Out wide there is the pace of Montero who has terrorized the likes of Branislav Ivanovic earlier this month. Both he & Ayew will look to stretch United who have looked narrow of late. South Korean Ki Sung-Yueng is also available after recovering from a hamstring injury & will look to continue his fantastic run of form against United following his exploits of scoring both home & away against the same opposition last season.
Manager Garry Monk is an advocate of possession football and it will be intriguing to see whether he follows this tactic against United who follow a similar approach under Van Gaal. Monk would also like his central midfielders to get stuck into the likes of Juan Mata & Ander Herrera to deprive them of their touch & move style of play.
Possible Starting Xl (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Taylor, Williams, Fernandez, Naughton; Ki, Shelvey; Montero, Sigurdsson, Ayew; Gomis
The simple fact is that Manchester United have to improve if they are to get a favourable result in this match. They cannot expect to play like they have this season and expect to win at the The Liberty Stadium.
Van Gaal should stick to his favoured 4-2-3-1 in this game with the only change being Herrera or Marouane Fellaini coming in place of the injured Adnan Januzaj. The former Holland manager might actually start with Fellaini who offers an alternative in the air unlike his other United counterparts who are ball players.
United will come into this match in reasonably high spirits following their comfortable win over Club Brugge which allowed them to ease their way into the Champions League group stages. But they know that a win is imperative here due to the impending international break and the need to stay on the coat tails of leaders Manchester City.
Possible Starting Xl (4-2-3-1): Romero; Shaw, Blind, Smalling, Darmian; Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin; Depay, Fellaini, Mata; Rooney
Key Facts (Courtesy of BBC Sport)
- Bafetimbi Gomis has scored eight goals in his last nine Premier League games for Swansea
- Jonjo Shelvey has created 13 goal scoring chances so far this season, which is more than any other player in the Premier League
- The Red Devils have only allowed their opponents five shots on target in the Premier League this season, which is fewer than any other side
- Sergio Romero has started his Premier League career with three clean sheets – the last goalkeeper to keep four in his first four Premier League appearances was Anders Lindegaard in 2011
Player to watch out for
Bafetimbi Gomis (Swansea)
When Wilfried Bony left for Manchester City this January there must have been genuine concern amongst the Swans fans about how the prolific Ivorian would be replaced. But Gomis has stepped right in and has looked the part. On Sunday, Smalling & Blind will have to be at their best to keep the prolific Frenchman at bay.
Swansea City 1-1 Manchester United
Both teams play a similar brand of football and the most likely result does seem to be a stalemate.