Saturday, September 23, 2017

Swansea 0 – 4 Manchester United: Red Devils Use Three Late Goals, Secure Second Straight Win

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Over the course of 80 minutes, Manchester United was coming out on top against Swansea City but the match was quite even. The Welsh side complicated The Red Devils and had some chances to escape with a potential draw, but Jose Mourinho’s men finished them with three goals over the past 10 minutes.

A first-half goal from Eric Bailly put United in front, but they decided everything late in the second half. Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial all scored on a five-minute span to put United on top 4-0 against Swansea. It wasn’t a fair reflection of what happened in the pitch, but it was a true statement of what The Red Devils can do this season. They only need one inch of space in the final meters to change the course of a game.

Tight First Half After An Impressive Start

The Swans got off to an impressive start and nearly scored in the third minute with a cross from Jordan Ayew that couldn’t met Tammy Abraham a few yards away from goal. However, United slowly began to settle in the pitch. Led by the creativity of Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, United nearly found the back of the net in the 10th minute when Phil Jones smashed a header in the crossbar.

It is worth noting that the pace of the game decreased a bit after that start. Neither side showed a lot of accuracy going forward, but United always showed a positive attitude. Meanwhile, Swansea opted to control the ball in midfield but lacked ideas to threaten United’s defensive line.

Marcus Rashford looked like Manchester United’s most threatening player, and his attacking runs down the left complicated the opposing defenders. However, Romelu Lukaku wasn’t sharp in the final third and overall the team struggled to show any sort of accuracy in front of goal. Swansea did not fare much better, however, and David De Gea barely had any work between the posts.

United Breaks The Deadlock Near The End

The best chance came in the 36th minute when Rashford charged the box through the middle to fact Lukasz Fabianski, but his finish was poor and went straight to the goalkeeper’s hands. It seemed the first half was about to end with a scoreless draw, but Eric Bailly had other plans.

Mata launched a corner kick into the box in the 45th minute, and Paul Pogba stood taller than everyone else to head the ball home. His effort bounced off Fabianski and the crossbar, but Bailly was there to pounce on the rebound. The Ivorian defender scored for the first time as a United player, and put The Red Devils on top seconds before the half-time whistle. It was a deserved prize for the team that wanted it more during the initial 45 minutes.

Swansea Shifted Their Approach During The Second Half

It is safe to say the Swans did not expected to concede in the first half, so they were forced to play with a more positive approach after the break. And while the Welsh side pushed their lines higher up on the pitch, they could not create many scoring opportunities. United’s defensive line limited the impact of both Abraham and Ayew, so De Gea did not have a lot of work even though the Welsh outfit constantly played near The Red Devils’ box.

Meanwhile, United did not look good in the second half. Even though they maintained the possession, they looked largely ineffectual in the final third and could not upset the opposing defensive line. Swansea’s defensive line erased Lukaku off the pitch and aside a few long-range efforts, they could not threat Fabianski on a consistent basis.

United’s Scoring Rampage In The Final Minutes

Paul Clement chose to provive a spark off the bench with the entrances of Luciano Narsingh and Wayne Routledge, and both players injected some much-needed pace to Swansea’s attacking line. Mourinho responded quickly, however, and sent both Anthony Martial and Marouane Fellaini to freshen things up in midfield.

It’s safe to say Mourinho won the duel off the bench. Fellaini’s presence was key as soon as he stepped on the pitch, and he started a sequence that led to Lukaku’s goal. The Belgian striker placed a shot past Fabianski after an assist from Mkhitaryan, and so far he looks worth the investment. The former Everton marksman already has four goals in three matches to start the campaign.

As if that wasn’t enough, United added a third goal in the following play. Pogba stole the ball in midfield, combined with Mkhitaryan and the Armenian added another assist, flicking the ball back to Pogba who chipped it over the goalkeeper. It was a magnificent goal that illustrates how confident United look on the pitch at the moment.

Martial added a goal of his own in the 84th minute with an individual effort that finished with a finesse shot that went into the bottom left corner. The French forward took advantage of Swansea’s defensive spaces to find the back of the net for the second time this season.

Final Thoughts

If one looks at the final score without watching the game, it would be easy to think Manchester United demolished Swansea. However, that can’t be further from the truth. The game was quite even through most of the contest, but Lukaku’s goal opened things up and United simply took advantage of that to bolster their lead. Swansea had a good performance, but they must improve their concentration over the final minutes because they melted down completely down the stretch.

With the win, Manchester United remain at the top of the standings with six points, eight goals scored and two clean sheets to start the season. It might be too early to start calling them a serious title contender, but there is no question they have looked impressive early on.

Match Report

Swansea City: Fabianski; Bartley (Routledge, 67′), Fernandez, Mawson; Naughton, Fer, Roque Mesa (Narsingh, 67′), Olsson; Carroll, Ayew; Abraham (McBurnie, 83′)

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind; Matic, Pogba; Mata (Fellaini 75′), Mkhitaryan (Ander Herrera 85′), Rashford (Martial 75′); Lukaku

Goals: 1-0, Bailly (45′); 2-0, Lukaku (80′), 3-0 Pogba (82′); 4-0 Martial (84′)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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