Premier League Tactical Preview: Manchester United vs Swansea


Manchester United host Swansea in the Premier League this weekend, the very side that dumped them out of the FA Cup last week.

That 2-1 loss was David Moyes's second consecutive home defeat and a third would be unthinkable for the United faithful, particularly a repeat at the hands of Swansea.

Despite that, the Swans have endured indifferent league form this season and will go into the match as huge outsiders at 7.25 for the win. United remain favourites at 1.48.

 

Possible line-ups

Wayne Rooney will have a late fitness test ahead of the game and could return for the champions. After three consecutive defeats, United will be desperate for Rooney to return and lead the line. Phil Jones could also return to the side with Robin van Persie likely to remain out.

Swansea remain without several long term absentees so could play with a similar side that won at Old Trafford, with Ashley Williams returning at the back for The Swans. The front three of Wilfred Bony, Wayne Routledge and Alex Pozuelo were fantastic and we can certainly expect them to be linking up again as Swansea will look to try and get at United.

 

The battle out wide

One of the key areas for Swansea last weekend was their superior use of width. Wayne Routledge was fantastic on the left flank, scoring once and getting an assist, whilst Alex Pozuelo was also very good on the other flank, registering an assist and causing problems all game long.

Routledge often looks to cling to the flank in a 4-3-3, rather than consistently cut inside. In this regard he is quite an old-fashioned style winger. If we observe his action-areas from the 2-3 defeat by Manchester City we can see this:

As we can see here Routledge spent over 40% of the game in the attacking part of the pitch on the right hand side. Routledge can play from either flank for Swansea and started off on the left against United, where he caused Antonio Valencia and Chris Smalling a host of problems.

Not only did he score but also managed to assist Wilfred Bony for the late winner. United look vulnerable at full-back, as they did against Sunderland in their midweek defeat. Patrice Evra hasn't been in great form at all this season and too regularly there has been space between the full-backs and centre-backs that sides can exploit. If United continue to struggle in these areas then Swansea could yet again have real joy against the Champions and come away with at least a point.


A tale of two Swanseas

Swansea have shown that they can be a formidable side this season and last. The emphatic League Cup run was a great example of this, particularly the semi-final dismantling of Chelsea. The club also performed excellently in the Premier League in Michael Laudrup's debut season, finishing 9th. Winning the League Cup though was something of a poisoned chalice as the club were drawn into Europa League, which has placed huge demands on an already relatively thin squad.Dav

As a result of this, Swansea's league form has suffered greatly with the club currently on a run of six games without a win.

They are struggling in the league, although they are still performing relatively well. Against Manchester City, who the Welsh side faced last, they gave a good account of themselves, despite losing 3-2. Careless defending and a couple of deflections worked against the side, who badly needed a break.

The form of Wilfred Bony though, who scored twice in that fixture, should fill the side with confidence given that he scored the winner against United last week. Despite a poor run of form it is clear that they will feel that they can get at United on Saturday and turn their league season around.

 

Conclusion

United are favourites but the fact remains that they have lost three games on the spin and are simply not playing well at the moment. The side are short of confidence and will desperately need to bounce back against Swansea, the side who beat them last weekend, or risk further negative attention directed at David Moyes

Swansea though have been very inconsistent in the league, but what better way to reinvigorate their league season than with a Premier League victory at Old Trafford? One thing is for sure, unless United storm into an early lead, it could be a very tense evening at Old Trafford.#

Manchester United vs Swansea kicks off at 17.30 GMT on Saturday - check the latest odds here.

Read more from Unibet columnist Amit Singh.