The Premier League title race moves closer to its conclusion this Sunday when United take on Swansea at Old Trafford and City travel to St James Park to take on an in form Newcastle United. On paper United appear to have the easier of the two tasks and United supporters will be hoping that United will be back in pole position come 18:00 hours Sunday evening.
But whilst, on paper, United`s task may look the easier of the two, it`d be dangerous to assume that Swansea will be easy opposition. Already Brendan Rodgers has defended his side after our noisy-neigbours boss, Roberto Mancini, implied that United should beat Swansea 10-1, conveniently forgetting that his own City side didn`t exactly blow Swansea away.
In fact, as we all know, games played at this stage of the season can be tight affairs and it wouldn`t surprise me if the encounter with Swansea proves to be just that.
It`s hard to believe that, not long ago, we were eight points clear and, seemingly, cruising it. But results didn`t go our way culminating in that 4-4 draw at home to Everton, a fixture that still haunts Sir Alex Ferguson with the Scot remarking ahead of the clash with Swansea,
“I think the Everton game was the killer for us.”
“It was an absolutely ridiculous performance in the last 10 minutes if the match. Just absolute carelessness.”
“Its all right saying the history of the club is to attack all the time, but it wasa stupid performance. If we lose the league we`ll have to accept it`s the Everton game that did it.”
It`s unusual for Sir Alex to dwell on such matters and there`s more of a similar tone when he continues,
“We`re on the back foot. We`re not favourites for sure.”
Let`s hope that all changes tomorrow afternoon shall we?
Manchester United Team News:
Sir Alex Ferguson has the usual list of casualties not available with Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher sidelined for the season. Also out are Michael Owen, Jonny Evans and Danny Welbeck although it is expected that Anders Lindegaard could well have recovered sufficiently from his ankle injury to take a place on the bench. With Evans out we expect Chris Smalling to partner Rio Ferdinand at the heart of the United defence.
Player to watch: Wayne Rooney
United will need Rooney to be at his best to ensure that we pick up the three points needed to keep the pressure up on Manchester City.
Swansea Team News:
Brendan Rodgers brings his attractive playing side to Old Trafford with relatively few injury concerns. Alan Tate is expected to be available again after recovering from a calf injury and Angel Rangel appears to have shaken off a calf injury.
Player to watch: Scott Sinclair
Dating the delectable Helen Flanagan the speedy winger has the ability to cruise past players and is capable of scoring from anywhere close to the penalty area.
Match Facts & Stats
The reciprocating fixture saw Manchester United eek out a narrow win with a goal from Javier Hernandez giving United a 1-0 victory.
Swansea`s record at Old Trafford isn`t the best with the Welsh side having not won any of their previous eight visits losing six and drawing two.
With two games left and with the sides equal on points but with City having a better goal difference, United can`t afford a slip up tomorrow. But with the City game finishing before ours starts two scenarios could exist.
The first would see us taking on Swansea knowing City have dropped points, thereby handing the initiative back to us or the second would see us kick-off knowing City have won and with only a hoe game against a poor Queens Park Rangers side to come, almost condemned to failure in the title race.
Either way, I can`t see us losing to Swansea but if it is scenario two, then what a flat afternoon it could turn out to be.
Our season finishes with a fixture against Sunderland, at the Stadium of Light, depending on what happens on this Sunday it could be one hell of a game or something akin to a funeral procession!