Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Swansea City
Venue: Old Trafford – Saturday, January 2 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)
Match Odds: Man United 4/7 – Draw 29/10 – Swansea 5/1
United manager Louis Van Gaal remains under intense pressure, with his job seemingly further on the line with every game that passes.
The Red Devils have not won in six Premier League outings in a row and despite looking more positive in Monday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea, they remain five points off the top four and need to improve dramatically from now.Embed from Getty Images
Failure to beat Swansea here could well cost Van Gaal his job, with back-to-back away trips to Newcastle and Liverpool coming up in the league after Saturday’s game.
The Swans travel to Old Trafford in poor form themselves and are just two points above the relegation zone in 17th.
Interim manager Alan Curtis has seen their fortunes improve slightly over Christmas and they are now unbeaten in three consecutive league outings, without conceding a goal in those matches.
What had the promise of being an excellent campaign for the Welsh club has now become a relegation-threatened one and they must try and steer themselves clear of trouble quickly.Embed from Getty Images
A trip to Old Trafford is never easy but the Swans beat United 2-1 in the corresponding fixture last season and have now won their last three games with the Red Devils by the same scoreline, including the game at the end of August at the Liberty Stadium.
Manchester United will be without Jesse Lingard, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia once again here. Louis Van Gaal may name an unchanged side to the one that drew with Chelsea after an improved showing, despite not getting the win.
Swansea caretaker manager Alan Curtis remains in charge here and could even last the remainder of the season in that position. He made seven changes for Swansea’s draw at Palace and more can be expected here. Franck Tabanou remains out, while Federico Fernandez and Wayne Routledge are doubts.
Manchester United’s last five: D/L/L/L/D
Swansea’s last five: L/L/D/W/D
Key Stat: Swansea have beaten Manchester United 2-1 in each of their last three league meetings.
Key Player: Anthony Martial – Martial scored Manchester United’s last goal, which came two weeks ago in the 2-1 home defeat to Norwich. He is always a threat and will look to lift spirits around Old Trafford with a fine showing here.Embed from Getty Images
Manchester United 1-1 Swansea – This is likely to be a really tense and nervy affair between two sides desperate for an upturn in results as we start the new year. Both have struggled to find the net of late and so a low-scoring game is likely to end in a draw.