Our Premier League campaign resumes with a trip to the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, on Saturday afternoon. Newly promoted Swansea City, managed by Brendan Rodgers; have made quite an impact in their first season in the Premier League with their flowing football winning them several admirers. This fixture has all the makings of a thrilling, free-flowing encounter, and it is definitely one I`m looking forward to.
Brendan Rodgers welcomes Sir Alex Ferguson to the Liberty Stadium having declared his utmost admiration for the Scots legend.
Speaking earlier this week, the Swansea manager had this to say,
“I want to be in this game a long time and Sir Alex epitomizes that.”
“Hunger, desire and motivation – he has all the things you need to be successful over such a long period.”
“He`s a one-off. Look at the way people think of him. He has earned all that respect.”
“I hope I am still working at 70. I want to be successful for as long as I can. Hopefully my methods will let me do that.”
“Sir Alex is an absolute genius in football management.”
“He`s a great advert for young managers and has been incredible and an inspiration for us all.”
“He`s a role model for every single manager, not just in the Premier League but all over the world.”
“Genius comes through many hours of hard work. It Is not just presented to you. He obviously had a long-term target which was to take away Liverpool`s power. That was the ultimate goal for him.”
We`re quite certain that Sir Alex won`t get lulled into a false sense of security though!
Swansea Team News:
Swansea go into this fixture without their defender Steven Caulker, he has a knee problem.
But, Brendan Rodgers is able to recall, after injury, the midfielder Stephen Dobbie and Neil Taylor.
Player to watch: Scott Sinclair
Signed from Chelsea, Sinclair was the top-scorer for Swansea in their promotion winning campaign. A former England U21 international, Scott has pace in abundance and isn`t afraid to take his man on. Capable of scoring some spectacular goals, as well as some from close range, Sinclair will be the man chosen to take the Swansea spot-kicks if our defenders are lax enough to concede any.
United Team News:
Sir Alex Ferguson will be reeling form the fact that one of his players returned from international duty injured. Danny Welbeck picked up a muscle injury and is a major doubt for the trip to the Liberty Stadium. If that is the case then we suspect that Javier Hernandez will start alongside Wayne Rooney.
Michael Owen is another injury victim. The striker is out for six weeks after picking up a thigh muscle injury.
Also out is Fabio who has picked up an injury whilst on international duty for Brazil.
But there is better news regarding Ashley Young and Tom Cleverley, both of whom were so influential during the earlier part of the season, with both set to make a welcome return.
Player to watch: Ashley Young
The winger returns to the starting eleven after missing out, in recent matches, courtesy of a toe injury picked up in training. Hopefully, Ashley will be eager to get back into the swing of things and provide that forward impetus that made him look a world beater in the first few games of the season.
Match Facts & Stats
With this being Swansea`s first season in the Premier League have paths have yet to cross but our record against the Welsh side on their own turf is poor. In eight visits we`ve yet to record a win.
This season, Swansea are unbeaten at the Liberty Stadium having won three and drawn two, but United arrive in Wales with an away record that is identical.
Returning to fixtures between the two sides, in Wales, the only two occasions we`ve mustered, at best, a draw were a 2-2 draw in 1938 and a 0-0 in 1982.
Although we`re predicting a high-scoring game, one last statistic to note is that Swansea have only conceded one goal at home all season and that was an own goal from Danny Graham!
This fixture could be a high-scoring affair. Swansea play some attractive football and last time out had Liverpool on the back-foot as they achieved a very creditable 0-0 draw at Anfield. The side may not be packed with household names but Brendan Rodgers has them working as very tight unit. If we allow Swansea the space we`ve afforded some teams this season, it could be a long afternoon. But, with the return of Vidic, we reckon the defence has tightened up considerably and I`m going for united to keep the pressure up on Manchester City by carving out a 3-1 win!
Midweek sees the resumption of our Champions League campaign when United welcome Benfica to Old Trafford. Next weekend we continue our Premier League programme with a home fixture against high-flying Newcastle United