Swansea City vs Manchester United | Sunday 30 August | Liberty Stadium | 17:00
Manchester United will face a daunting test as they travel to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday to take on an in-form Swansea side. The Swans did the double over United last season winning both ties by 2-1 scorelines and will be hoping to repeat that feat. For the Red Devils, this will be a chance to get back to winning ways after drawing last time out and also put the Welsh club in their place.
To Win (90mins)
Swansea City 21/10
Manchester United 13/10
Swansea come into this match with just one win and two draws from their first three games and will return to the Liberty Stadium hoping to find the same kind of form that saw them clinch a 2-0 victory over Newcastle. The Swans had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last weekend, Bafetimbi Gomis having continued his prolific start to the campaign only for Jermain Defoe to level early in the second half. Garry Monk will still be encouraged by the fact that his side are unbeaten so far but will know his team need to be more focused if they are repeat last season’s heroics against United. Swansea have a vibrant side and the influence of Jefferson Montero and Andre Ayew on the wings will cause all sorts of problems for United. Blisteringly quick, supremely skilful and possessing a thunderous right foot, Montero is a major offensive weapon for Monk’s side. Montero will look to put United to the sword with dazzling dribbles, close control and his devastating speed.
Jonjo Shelvey and Gylfi Sigurdsson have formed an excellent midfield partnership that will try to dominate possession this weekend. Shelvey is proving to be a key player in the Swansea engine room with his attacking instincts, tough tackling, range of passing and absolute cannon of a shot. In attack, Swansea will rely on Gomis to rattle United’s defence and score the goals that win the game. The Frenchman not only scores goals but is strong, makes good runs and has a powerful aerial presence, only a few qualities which have made him a real handful for Premier League defenders. Gomis will look to continue his goal-scoring form for the rest of Swansea’s campaign as they look to replicate last season’s eighth-place finish, and with a rather unique celebration to go with, this may be Gomis’ season to roar. With the creative talents of Montero and Ayew providing chances for the likes of Gomis, this is a team that will always score goals.
Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Newcastle was ultimately a game that summed up Louis van Gaal’s team at this early stage of the season: strong in defence, dominant in midfield but poor in attack. It’s been a running theme since Van Gaal took charge that United have been slow and ponderous offensively. Newcastle certainly deserve credit for the way they defended, but United simply didn’t trouble them often enough and lacked a creative spark. The backline of Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian has looked stable having kept three clean sheets between them but they could be tested far more than they have been so far with Swansea’s fast-paced attacking system. United know all too well that they’ll need to step up a few gears to secure maximum points against Monk’s side. United have won just one of their last four head-to-head encounters against the Swans having suffered defeat on three occasions.
The arrival of Memphis Depay has added a breath of fresh air to the Red Devils team which has been functional rather than fluid in their attacking forays. Gifted with lightning-quick speed, a skill set to rival any freestyler and a rocket of a shot, Memphis has the potential to dazzle the Premier League with his scintillating brand of football. He has a great burst of pace, quick feet, and very good agility, all of which allows him to breeze past opposition defenders. Bastian Schweinsteiger was handed his first start against Newcastle last weekend and should keep his place alongside the ever-reliable Morgan Schneiderlin. Juan Mata pulls the strings in midfield with his vision, technique and passing skills able to unlock any defence. When given time and space on the ball, he can produce in any given moment and Swansea will need to mark him tightly. Van Gaal will be relying on Wayne Rooney to hassle the likes of Ashley Williams and Federico Fernandez in an effort to get on the scoresheet.
VERDICT: Swansea 21/10
United have struggled to find their rhythm and haven’t been prolific in front of goal, except in Europe against inferior opposition. With a very good recent record against United and the deadly trio of Montero, Ayew and Gomis, Swansea are tipped to claim the victory at 21/10.