Match points: Man United v Swansea

Wayne Rooney
Wayne RooneyPHOTO: REUTERS
Ashley Williams
Ashley WilliamsPHOTO: REUTERS
Ander Herrera
Ander HerreraPHOTO: ACTION IMAGES
Leon Britton
Leon BrittonPHOTO: ACTION IMAGES
Daley Blind
Daley BlindPHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Andre Ayew
Andre AyewPHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Key battles

Ander Herrera v Leon Britton

Britton is a stalwart of Swansea's days in the lower leagues and Alan Curtis has recalled the unflustered holding midfielder. He will be charged with giving Swansea control in an area where Herrera, United's No. 10, is set to roam. The Spaniard is an elusive opponent but a rare United central midfielder with an eye for goal.

Daley Blind v Andre Ayew

A match-up that could come in either of two roles. Perhaps Ayew will start on the right wing and Blind at left-back. Or maybe, as happened midway through Swansea's August win, the Ghanaian will be shifted to a striker's role, pitting him against centre-back Blind. Either way, Ayew's pace means he could exploit the Dutchman's slowness.

  • Key statistics

    United in retro-grade

    1988 - The last time United went nine games without a win.

    They have not won in their last eight games, a run which has not happened since 1989-90.

    Devils shot-shy...

    Swansea - 11.7

    Manchester United - 11.2

    Swansea have averaged more shots per game than United this season. United have had only nine shots on target in their last ve home league games.

    ...and goal-shy

    10 - United’s last 14 games

    6 - Rooney’s 33 EPL games in 2015

    Favourite scorelines

    2-1

    Swansea have won all three games they have played against Louis van Gaal’s United, all 2-1. But they have won only two of their last 15 league games – since beating United in August.

    0-0

    Five of the last eight games at Old Trafford have nished 0-0. United have not scored a first-half goal in any of them – their last one was by Juan Mata against Wolfsburg on Sept 30.

Wayne Rooney v Ashley Williams

Rooney is fortunate to be eligible for this. He should have been sent off for an injury-time lunge at Chelsea's Oscar on Monday. Instead, he has the chance to build on a brighter display and hope that, after just six league goals in 2015, this year is more productive. The in-form Swansea skipper Williams was outstanding at Crystal Palace on Monday.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2016, with the headline 'Match points: Man United v Swansea'. Print Edition | Subscribe