22nd December 2012
United’s five-match winning run will be put to a serious test at Liberty Stadium, never mind the fact the Swans have lost their last two Premier League games. The Red Devils will have to be at their best if they want to beat Swansea, a team that are slowly becoming a genuine top table side.
Many believed that Swansea would experience major problems after they stayed without Brendan Rodgers, Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair, but Michael Laudrup and his Spanish contingent made sure the results remain respectable. The likes of Michu, Chico, De Guzman and Pablo Hernandez quickly proved their worth in the Premier League and helped Swansea establish themselves as a side that can beat anyone on their day. While team’s home form has not been as impressive as last term, the Swans showed a considerable improvement on the road, beating QPR, Newcastle and Arsenal in the league and Liverpool in Capitol One Cup. The team did suffer a small dip in form of late, losing to both Norwich and Tottenham, and that could prove to be a problem now they are set to face red-hot Manchester United. Goalkeeper Michel Vorm could finally return from an eight-week spell on the sidelines, but Angel Rangel is out injured.
One of the things Sir Alex Ferguson is most famous for is his ability to get his team to reach top form somewhere around Christmas, which usually helps his side pip his rivals to the Premier League title. This season was no different as United were clearly struggling in the early exchanges, only to embark on a five-match winning run just before the hectic festive schedule. With the run having included the 3-2 win over Manchester City, the Red Devils created a six-point cushion at the Premiership summit and thus became hot favourites for the league title. Sir Alex Ferguson is, however, well aware that nothing is over yet, and his side should give their best in the clash against Swansea that will be followed by two home games. Captain Nemanja Vidic could start after returning into action in the 3-1 win over Sunderland, but Shinji Kagawa and Rafael remain on the sidelines.
Swansea have been far from impressive at their Liberty Stadium this season and given they are struggling for form at the moment, Michael Laudrup’s side could find it hard to match in-form Manchester United. While attack remains in perfect working order, United’s defence should look much better with the return of Vidic, and the Red Devils can, therefore, be expected to record their sixth triumph on the bounce.
Verdict: Away win Manchester United (2)
Best Odds: 7/10
Bookmaker: William Hill