Manchester United v Swans: The big talking points

30th March 2018
First team

​​​​​​​Swansea City will look to upset the odds when they return to Premier League action at Manchester United this weekend.

Here are all the key talking points ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.

 

Gold Trafford

It took the Swans quite a while to record their first victory at Manchester United’s famous home.

In fact, there were 83 years between the Swans’ maiden visit to United and their first win there, which came courtesy of Wilfried Bony’s last-gasp header in the FA Cup back in January 2014.

Since then, however, the club have done pretty well at Old Trafford.

There was a first league triumph on United’s patch the following season, while last term Gylfi Sigurdsson’s fabulous free-kick secured a priceless draw.

Carlos Carvalhal’s men can take heart from history this weekend, therefore.

 

Give us a break

The Swans may have done okay on United’s patch in recent times, but their record after international breaks is not particularly pretty.

There have been 25 breaks for national team games since the Swans were promoted to the Premier League.

And when they have returned to club duty, the Swans have won their next fixture on only four occasions.

One of those victories came this season, against Huddersfield in October, although there have also been post-break defeats to Newcastle and Burnley.

Preparations for United have not been ideal given that a number of players - including Lukasz Fabianski, Alfie Mawson, Martin Olsson, Andy King and Ki Sung-Yueng - have been away from Fairwood, but then the situation is worse for United.

The likes of David De Gea, Ashley Young, Eric Bailly, Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku are part of a huge contingent who have been away with their countries.

 

Clean sheet quest

The Swans have gone away to Manchester United on 15 occasions down the decades, and they have not managed a single clean sheet along the way.

In that sense, the Swans are one of United’s favourite opponents on their own patch.

Could Carvalhal’s team make a little piece of history this weekend by shutting out United?

It will be no easy task given Jose Mourinho’s attacking threats, with United’s tally of 58 league goals this season making them the fourth most potent side in the division.

But the Swans’ tally of 42 goals conceded gives them the 10th best defence in the top flight, and they have shut out some stellar frontlines in the past – like Liverpool, for example.

Perhaps the traffic will be bad in Manchester on Saturday afternoon.

 

Forward thinking

Carvalhal has a conundrum up front as Jordan Ayew, one of the Swans’ star performers since he took charge, is again suspended this weekend after his red card at Huddersfield.

The good news is that Andre Ayew is back in contention having been ineligible for the FA Cup tie against Spurs before the international break, giving Carvalhal a welcome option in attack.

The question now concerns who will play where.

Andre Ayew will be fancied to start, but will he be out wide or up front – and who will join him in the Swans’ frontline?

 

Can Carlos topple Jose?

The Swans will have to break new ground if they are to make it six wins in 11 Premier League games under Carvalhal this weekend.

Never before, after all, have they got the better of a Mourinho team.

The Swans have faced the Special One on nine occasions and as yet they have not registered a victory.

The best they have managed is a couple of draws, at Chelsea in 2015 and at United last season.

Carvalhal will aim to change all that as he faces his fellow countryman and long-time friend on Saturday afternoon.