Odds: Swansea 10/3 Draw 13/5 Man United 20/19
Last season: 1-1
The first game of a very tough start for David Moyes in his first season in charge as he takes his new side to the Liberty Stadium to face Michael Laudrup’s Swansea.
Both sides have had some form of competitive action with Swansea progressing to a Europa League play-off after a 4-0 aggregate win over Malmo whilst Manchester United picked up the Community Shield with a 2-0 win over FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic.
New signing Wilfried Bony has made an immediate impact on the club after notching a brace in the Europa League as he and Michu look as though they have the foundations to strike up an effective partnership - and Robin Van Persie doesn't seem to have misplaced his scoring boots if his performance in the Community Shield was anything to go by.
Swansea are without Jonathan de Guzman after he sustained mild concussion by clashing heads with Dirk Kuyt during a training session ahead of Holland’s international friendly with Portugal whilst United right-back Rafael Da Silva – who pulled a hamstring in the Community Shield – is suspended.
Pablo Hernandez is likely to be fit after recently having a groin problem.
Wingers Ashley Young and Nani are likely to miss out on the trip to South Wales as they recover from ankle and groin injuries respectively, along with striker Javier Hernandez who has a hamstring problem.
The big battle in this game is likely to be who wants to control the ball more, with Michael Carrick - who is trying to shake off an eye infection - and Tom Cleverley trying to dictate much of the game for United, whilst Jonjo Shelvey and Leon Britton will be trying to pull the strings for the Swans.
Another area of the field which will be interesting to watch is to see how much the wide players get into the game. United are notorious for playing with width, but Swansea’s pacey wingers gave them a degree of trouble in both games last season – if they feature heavily in the game this could be end-to-end.
One aspect that we don’t expect to see or hear from last season is claims that a footballer could’ve killed another on the field by kicking a ball – at least we hope not, anyway.
Expect it to be a relatively tight affair and a tough game for both sides but David Moyes will be disappointed if he doesn’t leave the Liberty Stadium with all three points.
Last time the sides met:
Manchester United 2-1 Swansea
It was one of the more emotional days at Old Trafford as Sir Alex Ferguson bowed out after nearly 27 years in the Old Trafford dugout the game itself was more of a sideshow. Javier Hernandez but Manchester United in front before half-time only for Michu to equalise as Swansea threatened to spoil Ferguson’s farewell. But Rio Ferdinand swept home the typically late winner five minutes from time to give United victory on the day they lifted their Premier League crown.
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image: © Jason Gulledge