Swansea v Manchester United: Lukaku can join exclusive club as Swans target seventh game unbeaten


Manchester United top the Premier League and are seeking another victory to kick off their season in style. But they come up against a Swansea side still on a high from last season.

  

Romelu Lukaku is the fourth Manchester United player to bag a double on his Premier League debut for the club 

Romelu Lukaku joined Manchester United this summer with plenty of expectation on his shoulders. He is there to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored 28 goals across all competitions last season. Lukaku has begun well and joins Ruud van Nistelrooy, Marcus Rashford and James Wilson in scoring twice on their league debuts. He could now become the fifth player — after Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial, Federico Macheda and Louis Saha — to score in his first two Premier League outings for the Red Devils. Lukaku is the match favourite to score first at the Liberty Stadium. 

 

Both teams have scored in each of Manchester United’s last five trips to Swansea

Manchester United’s recent record at Swansea reads W2 D1 L2. The Red Devils beat Swansea 3-1 last season, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring twice after Paul Pogba’s opener. United have scored first in all five of those recent trips to the Liberty Stadium. But defensively they’ve been well tested. Swansea have twice come back to secure 2-1 wins over United — in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 campaigns. United scored four in their league opener last weekend, while Swansea were held to a 0-0 draw at Southampton. Will this clash buck the scoring trend? Looking at United’s defence it certainly seems so.


 


 

Swansea unbeaten in six Premier League games (W4 D2)

It’s maybe the most looked-over form stat in the Premier League right now but Swansea’s end-of-season high last term could stretch to a seventh game unbeaten this weekend. Swansea manager Paul Clement oversaw an excellent end to the 2016/17 campaign to steer the south Wales club away from relegation. Defensively they have impressed, conceding just two goals now in six outings. One of those was in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in May, where Wayne Rooney scored a penalty. The other was also from a set piece. Earning a clean sheet against this United side may be tricky but the Swans can expect to keep it tight nevertheless. 

 

Anthony Martial is the first United player to score and provide an assist after coming off the bench in a league game since Nani in March 2008

Plenty has been made about Anthony Martial’s future this summer, with rumours he may have been sold if Jose Mourinho had found a new winger to bring in. Frenchman Martial has not met the hype his big-money arrival at Old Trafford two years ago created. However, he is turning into a dependable forward for Mourinho and proved that when coming off the bench to score and also setting up Paul Pogba for his finish. Nani was the last player to do that in a Red Devils shirt when he set up Cristiano Ronaldo and then scored himself in a 3-0 home win over Liverpool. Martial may have played himself into contention for a starting spot but if he is on the bench expect him to come on in the second half. 

 

Swansea and Manchester United have earned a combined 34 yellow cards and one red from their last nine meetings 

Swansea v Manchester United is not one of the big rivalries in the Premier League. In fact, it’s not a rivalry at all. Yet their last nine meetings in all competitions have produced on average 3.77 yellow cards per game. That is just over the average for yellows per Premier League match last season. Cards are therefore worth a look at. But it’s not always the usual suspects who get booked. Only 13 of the 34 yellows over this nine-year period have gone to defenders of either side. The battle for midfield is evidently where the cards lie.