Swansea City, away, at the Liberty Stadium presents a great opportunity for both teams. United will be looking at winning and making a statement to the rest of the league at a recently promoted club whilst Swansea will, I’m sure, be ready to make their own statement.
They’ve played some beautiful football throughout the early part of the season and the style that was, arguably, originated during Roberto Martinez’s reign has evolved into something worthy of Premiership status. Many fans along the M4 corridor jokingly deny that they’re the Barcelona of Wales claiming, instead, that Barcelona are the Swansea of Spain!
Whilst such comparisons are clearly made with Welsh tongues firmly planted in Welsh cheeks it cannot be ignored that they are playing an attractive brand of football that United should be relatively wary of.
Three goals this season Scott Sinclair is available again for the fixture and Brendan Rogers must decide whether or not to bring him back from an injury lay off in one of the Swans’ biggest home games of the season. Sinclair is clearly one of their stronger players but when they earned their impressive draw at Anfield Wayne Routledge appeared to be a more than able deputy.
At Anfield Neil Taylor suffered an ankle knock but should, by all accounts, be fit to reprise his role at left back but he won’t be joined by Steven Caulker, in defence, as he is still reovering from his injury sustained at fellow keep ball opponents, Arsenal. Stephen Dobbie is fit again and will be looking to gain a place on the Swans’ bench if not in their midfield.
As for United, Ashley Young looks like a starter. He hasn’t played since the humiliation but has been training all week and didn’t, obviously, get any game time during the recent international break. The hideous news that Cleverley is going to be out until Christmas was tempered, somewhat, by the performance of Phil Jones against Spain. For a man of Fabio Capello’s ilk to liken Jones to a player of Franco Baresi’s calibre is something that really can’t be ignored. Personally, I’m very tired of hearing about the new Zidane, the new Messi, the new Cryuff. However, in this instance I think Capello is heaping lavish and justified praise on Jones rather than label him a new ‘Baresi’. Jones, for me, has to start in midfield.
I saw on twitter that many fans believe that Giggs should start alongside him and I can’t, if I’m honest, disagree with that. Giggs would offer a guile and craft that has been lacking for a while. Anderson, who must count me as one of his biggest fans, misses Cleverley and lacks a certain something without him. However, in saying that, maybe he could work well with the security of the new Baresi alongside him?
De Gea is nigh on guaranteed to start in goal with Vidic and Ferdinand likely to play in front of him. At right back both Fabio and Rafael are named in the squad and could compete with each other whilst the improving Evra should start on the other flank. However, with recent issues that are ongoing, Ferguson may opt to start with either da Silva twin on each flank and rest Evra.
Up front I really hope to see Rooney reprise his traditional number ten role. It’s interesting to read, this week, that Ferguson still clearly has Berbatov in his plans as he’s labelled him ‘an outstanding footballer’ who they’d like to ‘give another year’. Much like Anderson, Berbatov can count me as one of his most loyal fans and maybe this could be a game for him?
United must look for a victory here even if it is to be their first at Swansea in history! Recent form for both teams promises a good game with Swansea unbeaten at home and United unbeaten away. United’s goals scored record significantly beats the Swans’ record though and this is something that should tell true.
Follow me at @matthew_james7