Swansea Are One The Best Things About The Premier League
Upsetting apple-carts has been a Swansea speciality ever since they first arrived in the Premier League, and they’ve done it so often now that their place amongst the division’s best teams has been secured.
After drawing at Chelsea they were fantastic here, beating United for a fourth time in five fixtures and showing that the Liberty Stadium remains one of the most difficult venues for any clubs with high aspirations to go.
In Andre Ayew they have added another character to their increasingly impressive list of them, and Garry Monk’s side really are one of the best to watch in the division.
And Ashley Williams Is One Of The Division’s Best Defenders
This time next week Ashley Williams could be leading Wales into the Euro 2016 finals, and the Swansea captain will head there having firmly established his place amongst his division’s elite.
He was excellent again here, perhaps switching off for Juan Mata’s goal but making up for it by leading the attack which lead to Ayew’s equaliser and then making a great late challenge to deny Wayne Rooney.
Leading is something he does well, and has been doing so for some time now.
Juan Mata Is Worth His Weight In Goals
It has long been decided that the reason that Jose Mourinho was happy to shift Juan Mata out of Chelsea was due to his work-rate, or rather the lack of it.
The Spaniard remains a curious player, albeit a mercurial one, but in terms of sheer numbers you really can’t criticise anything he has achieved in his short Manchester United career so far.
His goal here was his 16th in 51 Premier League games for United, a record of nearly one in three and vastly improved on his 18 in 82 for Chelsea.
He’s also scored more league goals in this calendar year than any other United player, so even if he’s not putting the work in (and he was subbed again here when things got hairy) he’s still going to be a useful man to have around.
Daley Blind Struggles Against Powerful Forwards
If, as now seems to be the case, Louis van Gaal sees Daley Blind’s long-term position in this Manchester United side as the centre-back partner to the rapidly improving Chris Smalling, then the Dutchman could find himself targeted in the manner that Bafetimbi Gomis did to him in the first half here.
Sensing his physical advantage, Gomis cleverly pulled onto Blind at every opportunity, looking to power past him and outmuscle him to the advantage of his team, as he did emphatically for the winner.
This is a division of big powerful forwards, with the likes of Diego Costa, Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku immediately coming to mind, and Gomis was essentially creating a template for them and others here, one that Blind would not have wanted to see.
Manchester United’s Midfield Is Improved, But Needs To Be More Dynamic
For years Manchester United fans bemoaned the lack of quality in the centre of their midfield, something which Van Gaal ended with his twin swoop for Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger this summer.
Both are excellent players, but against the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Jack Cork they were always going to need to be a little quicker and more dynamic on the ball than usually, something which they started to do only for it to peter out midway through the first half.
With the uncertainty behind them in both defence and in goal, they needed to be more mobile, but they appeared all too happy to allow themselves to be overrun.
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