Writer: Red Boy
Date:Saturday November 19 2011
United did just enough to keep the gap between themselves and City at the top of the Premier League to five points with a win at the Liberty Stadium.
But is it not narrow victories like this that shape title winning seasons?
Considering the current injury status of the squad, Sir Alex Ferguson only sprung two surprises with his team selection at the Liberty Stadium. The first being the surprise inclusion of Ryan Giggs after the Welsh international had been absent for three weeks and the second seeing the returning Ashley Young named only on the bench.
United - De Gea, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Jones, Giggs, Park, Carrick, Nani, Rooney, Hernandez
Subs - Lindegaard, Evans, Fabio, Young Fletcher, Valencia, Berbatov
First Half - Our hosts got off to a decent start with Rangel providing a decent cross that saw Gower drag a shot wide before Sinclair, before losing the ball, showed some great skill by skipping away from two United defenders.
But, as is often the case, United overcome a slow start to take the lead after just eleven minutes. The goal came from Javier Hernandez who sweetly netted from a Ryan Giggs cross after Rangel had lost possession.
Swansea 0 United 1 (Hernandez -11 minutes)
The goal saw the game degenerate into a midfield slog. Swansea were having more of the ball but struggling to get into the United area. De Gea, when called upon, did well to claw a Swansea corner to safety from underneath his own bar.
As the half progressed Swansea could have equalised. Graham did well to keep possession and when his pass found Routledge, Sinclair made a bit of a hash of the resulting cross, much to our relief.
United won a free kick in a dangerous position and Giggs almost made it 2-0 with an exquisite effort that cleared the wall but just cleared the bar as well.
As half time approached, it`s fair to say the game lacked that certain something, probably more chances on goal!
Half Time - Swansea 0 United 1
Brendan Rodgers shuffled his eleven for the start of the second half introducing Joe Allen for Wayne Routledge.
The first few minutes produced a flurry of activity. Less than four minutes into the half Hernandez thought he`d netted his second of the game but the offside flag thwarted that idea, although the build up play involving Rooney and Park was sublime.
Sinclair, championed as the Swansea danger-man in the match preview, then forced De Gea into his first real save of the match before some more great play from Rooney almost presented Hernandez with a chance but the Mexican couldn`t apply the finish to the ball in.
Having already picked up a booking, Sir Alex decided to withdraw Patrice Evra and introduce Fabio da Silva.
Swansea were now getting up a head of steam and causing United problems. Graham got the better of Vidic but his shot was blocked before our Serbian captain showed his commitment to the cause to stick his head in where the boots were flying to head clear.
Both keepers were involved in hefty collisions, first Vorm, in the Swansea goal, collided with Rooney as Giggs delivered a cross to the far post and then De Gea was on the receiving end of a physical challenge from Graham.
The home side were, once again, bossing possession but without creating very little. But for all the home sides possession it was United that looked as if they could get that vital second goal.
One swift move involving Giggs, Nani and Rooney saw the latter try his luck from some distance and although it was straight at the keeper, he needed two attempts to collect it.
Swansea responded with there own spell of pressure. Sinclair lost Rooney and his ball into the box found Graham who saw Carrick block his shot before Ferdinand showed his alertness to hastily clear before Williams could apply a finishing touch.
Both sides made late changes, Dobbie came on for Swansea whilst Hernandez made way for Valencia for United.
With the clock ticking down, Rooney burst into life but his cute chip landed on the roof of the net. Jones was also to impress slate on, bursting through and drilling his shot against the base of the post, after a swift one-two with Valencia.
Three minutes of stoppage time were declared but there were to be no more serious chances and the three points were United`s
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Date:Saturday November 19 2011
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