Manchester United will welcome Carlos Carvalhal’s Swansea City to the Old Trafford this weekend in the Premier League.
After a two-week hiatus due to the international break, Premier League action returns this weekend and Manchester United resume their campaign with a home game against Swansea City on Saturday.
Manchester United sit second in the league table, 16 points behind leaders Manchester City and two above third-placed Liverpool. Given that they have a game in hand over the Reds, Jose Mourinho will be keen on taking advantage and widening the gap to five points. They come into the game on the back of a 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup quarterfinals.
Swansea City, on the other hand, are occupying 14th place in the Premier League standings, after having turned things around ever since Carlos Carvalhal took over the reins from Paul Clement as the manager. The Welsh outfit have lost just twice in their last six games in all competitions (2W, 2D), with their latest game against Tottenham Hotspur ending in a 3-0 defeat (FA Cup).
Team News & Tactics
Goalkeeper Sergio Romero is ruled out for a few weeks, after picking up an injury on international duty with Argentina. Utility man Ashley Young is also a doubt owing to a knock he picked up during England’s 1-1 draw against Italy. Scott McTominay, who also was injured on international duty with Scotland, is fit and available for selection.
There have been a number of boosts for the Red Devils with Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo returning to full fitness while Daley Blind is also back in training.
David De Gea has been in sensational form this term for the 20-time English champions and will continue in goal for Saturday’s game. Antonio Valencia will keep his spot at right-back but needs to perform better than he has been doing of late. With Young a doubt, Luke Shaw could get another shot at proving himself in the left-back slot. Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling will partner up in the centre of the backline.
While Jose has preferred McTominay in the middle of the park of late, the academy graduate’s recent injury, coupled with Paul Pogba’s brilliant display for France on national duty could earn him a recall for Saturday’s game. He will be partnered by Nemanja Matic, who has been in top form of late.
Juan Mata is expected to feature from the right-flank to provide the element of creativity for United, with academy graduate Jesse Lingard set to start as the No.10. On the left-flank, another academy man, Marcus Rashford is expected to line up to try and provide pace and width from the wide areas.
Romelu Lukaku is peaking towards the business end of the season and will be hoping to fire United to another win against the Swans.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw; Pogba, Matic; Mata, Lingard, Rashford; Lukaku;
Jordan Ayew will miss out for Carvalhal’s side as he serves the second of his three-match ban. On-loan midfielder Renato Sanches is a doubt for the Swans with a hamstring problem, while Angel Rangel will also miss out with a groin injury. Leroy Fer and Wilfried Bony are ruled out as well.
Carvalhal is expected to go in with a 5-4-1 setup against United, with his team likely to sit deep and try to hit the home side on the counter.
Lukasz Fabianski has been the unsung hero for the Welsh outfit this term and will once again line up between the sticks on Saturday. Kyle Naughton and Martin Olsson will take the right and the left-sided full-back slots respectively, with Mike van der Hoorn, Federico Fernandez and Alfie Mawson starting as the three centre-backs.
Andre Ayew will return to the starting line-up after missing out in the last game for Swans. He is expected to start on the right-flank, while Sam Clucas is likely to start on the left-wing. Both will be tasked with providing the width going forward for the Swans. Sung-Yeung Ki will partner up with on-loan midfielder Andy King to provide a solid base in the middle of the park.
With Jordan Ayew out of the clash, Tammy Abraham – on loan from Chelsea – is expected to spearhead the attack for the Swans on Saturday.
Probable Starting XI (5-4-1): Fabianski; Naughton, Van der Hoorn, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson; Ayew, Ki, King, Clucas; Abraham;
- Manchester United have already beaten Swansea twice this season without conceding a goal – they won 4-0 at Liberty Stadium in the Premier League in August and 2-0 in a League Cup tie in October.
- The Swans have avoided defeat in three of their last five visits to Old Trafford (W2 D1 L2) in all competitions, having lost eight of their first 10 games there against United.
- After winning their opening away league game under Carlos Carvalhal, Swansea have since failed to win any of their next four on the road (D3 L1).
- Jose Mourinho has never lost against Swansea in all competitions (P9 W7 D2 L0).
- Romelu Lukaku – currently on 99 Premier League goals – has been directly involved in 14 goals in 14 games in all competitions so far in 2018 (10 goals, 4 assists).
1. Manchester United Clean Sheet – NO @ 2.37
2. Romelu Lukaku to score anytime @ 1.95
3. Manchester United – Half Time / Full Time @ 1.72
1. Paul Pogba to score anytime @ 4.00
Player to watch
Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
The swashbuckling French midfielder has found himself warming the benches more often than not of late for Manchester United, with manager Jose Mourinho preferring to use a more conservative Scott McTominay in the middle. However, following his performance for France against Russia, wherein he scored and assisted one goal apiece, Jose will be most likely be forced to reinstate the midfielder into the playing XI.
Having been on the sidelines in recent weeks, the club record signing will be hoping to impress on his return to the side. Pogba, till date, has scored in both of his Premier League appearances against Swansea, while also providing one assist against them.
Manchester United 2-0 Swansea City
Manchester United haven’t been in the best of form, but have shown that they can get results despite not playing at their best. Swansea have grown leaps and bounds under Carvalhal and will make things difficult for the Red Devils at the Old Trafford. However, given the quality of players that United have at their disposal, we at the Hard Tackle expect Jose’s side to come out with a 2-0 triumph.