Swansea go into the match with a brilliant opportunity to move out of the relegation zone as they face an injury-plagued Manchester United side on Sunday.
Manchester United achieved a point on Thursday against Manchester City to keep their undefeated Premier League run going, matching their longest streak in history. However, they did not come out unscathed, with Marouane Fellaini suspended for 3 games and Timothy Fosu Mensah also getting himself injured.
Swansea, on the other hand, have a glorious opportunity to move out of the relegation zone. Hull City failed to win on Saturday and a win at Old Trafford will lift Paul Clement’s side out of the relegation zone, with 3 matches left thereafter.
Manchester United, too, have a chance of entering the top four, if they manage to win by a margin of 3 goals – surpassing Liverpool. It will be interesting to see how Mourinho rotates his squad as we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at the fixture.
Team News & Tactics
Manchester United FC
Jose Mourinho is struggling to find player available. Defence is their worst-hit area, with Eric Bailly the only recognised centre-back option – Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are all injured.
Daley Blind has played in the central defensive position and Jose Mourinho is likely to field Axel Tuanzebe on Sunday in an attempt to give Eric Bailly or Daley Blind some much deserved rest. Luke Shaw could be handed a start while we could see Wayne Rooney return to the lineup as well.
The midfield too, is a cause for worry, with Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini both set to be absent for the tie. Michael Carrick could be rested and we may see someone like Matty Willock be brought into the lineup.
Marcus Rashford looked tired the entire game and Mourinho is likely to rest the forward, keeping in mind the Europa League semi-final tie against Celta Vigo in the midweek. Jesse Lingard, who was rested, could also return to the lineup.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Tuanzebe, Blind, Shaw; Carrick, Herrera; Mkhitaryan, Rooney, Lingard; Martial
Swansea City FC
Swansea too have their own share of injury woes. While Angel Rangel, Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge are long-term absentees, there is also doubt over the fitness of Jack Cork and Martin Olsson. Leroy Fer is doubtful as well and his availability could well prove to be vital for the Welsh side.
Veteran midfielder Leon Britton made his first appearances in four months last gameweek and the holding midfielder could be called upon again to fill up the potential void left by Jack Cork and Leroy Fer.
The onus, though, will be on the duo of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente, who have been two of the brightest sparks for the Swans this season. Lukasz Fabianski, too, will be tasked with the responsibility of guarding the Swans goal, which is likely to be threatened numerous times given the quality of Manchester United’s attack.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Kingsley; Cork, Britton, Carroll; Ayew, Llorente, Sigurdsson
1. Swansea have done well at Old Trafford in the recent past, losing just one of the last three games played at the venue (1W1D).
2. Wayne Rooney has a great record against Swansea, with 5 goals and 2 assists in 9 appearances against the side.
3. Swansea have actually scored in each of their last five meetings against Manchester United in the Premier League. However, Swansea have been in dire attacking form going into the game, finding the back of the net just thrice in their last five Premier League games – two of which came in a 2-0 win over Stoke in the last game-week.
4. Fernando Llorente will have to be at his predatory best after the veteran has found the net just once in his last five Premier League appearances. The Spaniard, though, has showed up against the top sides, with a brace against Liverpool and a goal each against Chelsea and Manchester City.
5. Swansea have won 5 of the 8 Premier League games in which Llorente has managed to get on the scoresheet this season.
Player to Watch
Jose Mourinho has all but confirmed in his pre-match conference that the academy graduate is set to play a part in the fixture. The centre-back is highly rated within the club and it will be intriguing to see if he steps up to take his chance with aplomb.
— Full Time DEVILS (@FullTimeDEVILS) April 21, 2017
A solid performance here could see him etch his name in Mourinho’s good books and who knows, this may just be the rise of the next academy graduate to being a regular part of the first-team setup come next season.
Manchester United FC 2 – 0 Swansea City FC
A 2-1 scoreline either way has been the most popular one in the meetings between the two in the recent past. We could see a similar performance from the Red Devils to what we saw against Burnley.
Jose Mourinho is likely to set up his side in a way that they seem defensively impenetrable and look to hurt the opposition on the counter or in the chances that come their way. Swansea, unlike Burnley though, are more desperate for a win, which could play into the hands of the Portuguese tactician.