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Prediction: Manchester United vs Swansea

4th January 2014

Manchester United will attempt to banish their Premier League blues with FA Cup triumph over Swansea, although the Red Devils will have to make do without two key forwards. Meanwhile, their opponents are hoping to end a seven-match winless run, and having seen quite a few sides win at Old Trafford this term, the Swans have reason for optimism.

This season is clearly not going according to plan for Manchester United, and it is clear David Moyes will have to invest heavily in the January transfer window in order to save the current campaign. We can safely say the Red Devils are out of the title race in the Premiership following the home defeat to Tottenham, so domestic cups are clearly their best chance of lifting some silverware. And while David Moyes’ side have already reached Capital One Cup semi-finals where they will face struggling Sunderland, their FA Cup campaign is likely to prove much more difficult. The time has come for Manchester United to fear home games against mid table sides and it is hardly surprising they won’t be too many punters backing the Red Devils to win at 9/20. Injury problems continue to mount for David Moyes, with Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young joining Robin van Persie, Phil Jones and Marouane Fellaini in the infirmary. And even if Danny Welbeck appears to be in pretty good form at the moment, the absence of Wayne Rooney is going to seriously affect the creative department, meaning we could see another difficult home game for United.

Swansea City were always going to find it hard to repeat the season like last when they enjoyed plenty of success on all fronts and won the Capital One Cup title, with their European campaign adding an extra strain on the somewhat thin squad. The Swans did well to make it to Europa League knockout stages, but they were then pitted against star-studded Napoli side, and they don’t look capable of upsetting the odds in that encounter. Meanwhile, their league performances have left a lot to be desired, although injuries to key players Michu, Vorm and Dyer certainly played a part. Swansea have slipped in the danger zone following a six-match winless run, and no wonder Michael Laudrup is looking to ring changes for the FA Cup tie against Manchester United, with their Premier League campaign clearly a priority. That, however, does not mean that the Swans will roll over for their more illustrious opponents, but they will rather try and frustrate the hosts with a defence-minded approach. Michu, Nathan Dyer, Michel Vorm and Pablo Hernandez are out injured, whereas Leon Britton is doubtful through illness.

Conclusion

Manchester United will be struggling up front without Rooney and Van Persie and they could need quite a while to penetrate Swansea’s defence. The Red Devils remain the favourites to go through and will probably secure their place in the next round, but I believe we can pretty much rule out a big win.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 23/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

Sat 4 January, 2014
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