United returned to action following the international break with a trip to new boys to the Premier League Swansea City. The south Wales side had the unusual opportunity to become the only Premier League club to have a superior head to head record against United with a victory at the Liberty stadium. The reds however have had something of a resurgence since the defeat to Manchester City, keeping 4 clean sheets in a row in all competitions. With the news that Tom Cleverley is out until Christmas, United turned to Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick to try and cure the reds midfield woes, and provide the ammunition for Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez.
Given Swansea are renowned for their attractive football, United stemmed the game early on with some good possession, particularly Rooney dropping off into good space around the Swans penalty area. With United pressuring very aggressively, it seemed a matter of time until the home side’s resistance was broken, and a sloppy pass by Angel Rangel was picked off by Ryan Giggs, who quickly squared to Hernandez to tap in in typical fashion. Having acquired the early lead, it seemed United were well set up to pick off the home side on the break, whilst remaining defensively solid courtesy of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. However, with 22 minutes on the clock, Swansea were handed a golden chance to level the game as Danny Graham’s shot was deflected into the path of Scott Sinclair, who with the open goal at his mercy fluffed his shot and allowed Jones to clear. United were unlucky not to double their lead on the stroke of half time, as Rooney engineered a break for Hernandez, however the Mexican striker smashed his shot/cross out of play, and the reds went into half time with a precarious 1 goal advantage.
Having endured a quiet evening to date, De Gea was called into action immediately in the second half, Sinclair testing the Spaniard with a powerful left footed drive which was well tipped round the post. At the other end United were failing to fully capitalise upon the space left by the more adventurous Swansea, and were thankful for some robust Nemanja Vidic defending to keep the home side at bay. Michael Carrick was enjoying a return to form, and produced a superb last ditch block from Williams’ shot as United began to look edgy in the final stages of the game. With Swansea tiring however, they failed to gather the momentum to mount a final assault on the United goal, as Vidic and co prevented a nerve biting finale for the travelling reds with a composed display. With injury time approaching, Phil Jones was agonizingly denied his first United goal by a fine save from Vorm, who diverted the England defender’s shot onto the post. United were not to be denied however, and secured their 5th successive clean sheet, and 3rd straight 1-0 league win to move back to within 5 points of City.
De Gea -6 Quiet afternoon, did what he had to do well.
Jones – 6 Caught out for Sinclair chance, unlucky to not score.
Ferdinand – 7 Defended admirably.
Vidic – 8 MOTM Always there to intervene at key moments.
Evra – 6 Defended well until being subbed in 50th minute.
Nani – 5 Frsutration personified.
Carrick – 7 Passing masterclass and timely interceptions.
Giggs – 6 Some neat touches and composed on the ball.
Park – 6 Tireless work rate as usual.
Rooney – 6 Slowly regaining early season form.
Hernandez – 6 Took goal well, needs to improve all round game.
Fabio – 6 Filled in for Evra well.
Fletcher – 5 Sured up defence in final minutes.
Valencia – 5 Brief cameo.