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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Match Preview: Swansea City vs. Manchester United

[This post first appeared on Sportskeeda.]

The international break is finally over and it’s time for some real football action to take over our TV screens! Okay, though the past two weeks did not disappoint in terms of footballing quality (England beating Spain 1-0, Germany dominating Holland 3-0 or Uruguay thrashing Chile 4-0), one cannot help but admit that in the end, it’s club football one craves for. Nothing ever matches the excitement than watching your favourite team walk out the tunnel onto the field.

So in Saturday’s late English Premier League fixture (in India), it’s the defending champions Manchester United who visit new boys Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea City have been unbeaten at home this season so far (won 3, drawn 2) and have conceded only one goal at home, that too from an own goal. However, Manchester United are determined to make a statement after their humiliating home defeat to Manchester City, having won all their games since then. And what better way to keep doing that than grabbing all three points at a venue no other team has been able to conquer till now.

Team Form:

Swansea City: Swansea City have been sort of a neutral’s favourite this season, with their easy-on-the-eye, slick passing style of football. One might be reminded of Blackpool’s exploits last season, but the difference is the defensive discipline of the Welsh club especially at home. As mentioned before, Swansea have let in just one goal at home, from a Danny Graham own goal against Bolton. In their last league fixture, Swansea outpassed and outplayed Liverpool at Anfield but failed to score, resulting in a goalless draw.

Last five results: WLDWD

Current league position: 10th

Manchester United: Manchester United’s season till date can be divided in two halves – pre-derby defeat and post-derby defeat. The Red Devils started out in top gear, sweeping aside rivals such as Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Chelsea with relative ease but it all came to an abrupt halt with the grounding 6-1 defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford. However, United haven’t conceded a single goal in four games since then and are making a strong recovery.

Last five results: LWWWW

Current league position: 2nd

Injury Updates:

Swansea City: Midfielder Stephen Dobbie is set to return after he suffered an ankle injury last month against Norwich City. Neil Taylor is also available but defender Steven Caulker is still out with a knee injury.

Manchester United: Midfielder Tom Cleverley and striker Michael Owen have been sidelined till Christmas. Ashley Young and Ryan Giggs are back in the squad, the former being a likely starter. Fabio Da Silva is doubtful after injuring himself while on national duty.

Predicted Lineups:

Swansea City (4-3-3): Vorm; Rangel, Williams, Monk, Taylor; Britton, Gower, Allen; Sinclair, Graham, Dyer.

Manchester United (4-4-2): De Gea; Jones, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Nani, Fletcher, Carrick, Young; Rooney, Hernandez.

Scoreline Prediction: Swansea City 1 Manchester United 3.
                     
Kick-off Time: 11 pm IST on Saturday, 19 November

Coverage: Live on ESPN

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