Manchester United had a golden chance to get closer to a potential Champions League berth, but missed it. The Red Devils got on top during the first half thanks to a penalty converted by Wayne Rooney, but a free kick from Gylfi Sigurdsson evened things out and allowed Swansea City to escape with a vital draw that could be key on their quest to avoid relegation.
Here are four things we learned after this draw at Old Trafford.
The injury bug bites Manchester United again
It is not a secret Manchester United have a depleted squad due to injuries. Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are out, and the list also includes Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo. Unfortunately for Jose Mourinho, we have to add two new names into the list. Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw left the pitch with physical ailments, and both could sit Thursday’s match against Celta de Vigo.
United did have an important boost with Juan Mata’s return to the bench, but they can’t afford to suffer any more injuries. With several important games on the horizon, Mourinho must get creative to assemble a competitive defensive line. Daley Blind will certainly play at centre back for the foreseeable future, while Matteo Darmian and Antonio Valencia will handle the flanks. Who plays alongside Blind at CB is the biggest question, though.
Gylfi Sigurdsson saves Swansea
Sigurdsson has been Swansea’s best player during the current Premier League campaign. Ergo, it was only fitting he would came up big to save the Welsh side in a complicated fixture. 20 yards away from goal and midway into the second half, Sigurdsson blasted an impressive free kick over the wall that left David De Gea helpless. The goal gave Swansea a much deserved equaliser considering how the game had happened to that point.
The numbers back up Sigurdsson’s importance for the Swans. The talented playmaker has been directly involved in 21 of Swansea’s 40 Premier League goals this season (nine goals, 12 assists). And he also became the first player to score in three consecutive visits to Old Trafford since Sergio Aguero in 2015.
Record-setting season for Manchester United
Manchester United extended their undefeated streak to 25 games, thanks to 13 wins and 12 draws. This 25-game run set a new record within a single top-flight season. 12 draws is a bit high for such a talented team like Manchester United, but they should be proud of the accomplishment either way.
United have also reached double figures for home league draws for only the second time in their history. The previous occasion came in the 1980-81 season, when they drew 11 times at Old Trafford.
What’s next for both teams?
United travel to Spain for Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first leg against Celta Vigo. Their next Premier League match is at Arsenal on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Swansea have three games remaining on their quest to avoid relegation. They will face a tough test next Saturday, playing against Everton at home.
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