By 90Min
March 30, 2018

Manchester United take on Swansea City at Old Trafford on Saturday, in a Premier League clash which could be pivotal for both clubs' fates.

United will hope to extend their three-match winning run in the league, while 14th-placed Swansea will hope to match last season's exploits at Old Trafford, when they surprisingly held the Red Devils to a 1-1 draw.

With the Premier League title race all but over, United will be keen to tighten their grip on second place. They are currently two points ahead of rivals Liverpool with one game in hand, but will start Saturday's match in third if Liverpool defeat Crystal Palace earlier in the day.

The Swans' priorities will be rather different, as they are just three points above the relegation zone and have an inferior goal difference to 18th-placed Southampton. They are embroiled in one of the most intriguing relegation battles in Premier League history, with no fewer than 11 clubs still below the 40 point mark.

A draw would be greeted with delight by the Swansea faithful, while even a marginal defeat may prove valuable if the battle for survival comes down to goal difference on the final day of the season.


Classic Encounter

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Since being promoted to the Premier League in 2011, the Swans have won just once at Old Trafford in the league, a shock 2-1 victory in August 2014 which made for an inauspicious start to Louis van Gaal's two-year reign as Manchester United's manager.

Two players who may well feature on Saturday, Nathan Dyer and Ki Sung-yeung, combined for Swansea's opener in the first half that day, with the South Korean coolly converting Dyer's accurate pass. The goal was greeted with stunned silence by the United faithful.

United improved after the break, and Wayne Rooney equalised with a fine overhead finish early in the second half. The England striker also hit the post with a curling free kick, but his side's ragged defending proved costly when Icelandic midfield maestro Gylfi Sigurdsson fired in the Swans' second goal in the 72nd minute.

The Red Devils threw everything at Swansea in an increasingly desperate search for an equaliser, but the Welsh side held on for a famous victory.


Recent Form

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Although José Mourinho's defensive approach has proved unpopular with many of the Manchester United faithful, his side have struck a rich vein of form at an opportune time in the league. 

The Red Devils have won four out of five Premier League matches since losing 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley in January - including 2-1 wins over Chelsea and Liverpool. The only aberration was their 1-0 loss away to Newcastle United in February.

Since losing 2-0 at home to Spurs in their first Premier League encounter of 2018, Carlos Carvalhal's side have put together an impressive run of results, winning four of their last eight league matches and losing just one, a 4-1 drubbing away to Huddersfield Town.

On the other hand, the Swans have not won an away match in the Premier League since defeating Watford 2-1 in December, in Carvalhal's first game as manager.


Team News

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Manchester United have received encouraging news about two key players previously ruled out with injuries. 

Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera is fit again after recovering from a hamstring problem, while Argentina international Marcos Rojo completed a full 90 minutes playing for his country on Tuesday - although, seeing as Argentina were drubbed 6-1 by Spain, Mourinho may feel it is too soon to restore Rojo to his starting lineup.

Meanwhile, first choice left back Ashley Young is confident that he will be fit for Saturday's clash, despite the minor knee injury he sustained while playing for England against Italy. However, midfielder Scott McTominay suffered an injury on international duty with Scotland which may rule him out on Saturday.

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović has left the club and joined LA Galaxy after having his contract terminated.

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Swansea City's Angel Rangel, Leroy Fer and Wilfried Bony are all ruled out by long-term injuries. The Swans will also be without their leading scorer Jordan Ayew, who is still suspended after being sent off in the goalless draw with Huddersfield Town earlier this month.

However, Ghana forward Andre Ayew and Wales international midfielder Andy King will be available for selection. Both players were cup-tied for the Swans' 3-0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup quarter final.

Potential Manchester United Lineup: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Bailly, Valencia; Matic, Fellaini, Rashford, Alexis, Mata; Lukaku.


Potential Swansea City Lineup: Fabianski; Olsson, Mawson, Fernández, van der Hoorn, Naughton; Klukas, King, Ki, Dyer; Abraham.


Prediction

With Swansea City yet to achieve an away win in the Premier League this year, and Manchester United unbeaten at home in the league since losing 2-1 to Manchester City in December, the Swans' chances of achieving a famous victory at Old Trafford look remote at best.

Their hopes have been further undermined by the absence of top scorer Jordan Ayew and the poor form of potential replacement Tammy Abraham.

At least Swansea are unlikely to play as poorly as they did in the reverse fixture earlier this season, in which they suffered a 4-0 humbling in the pre-Carvalhal era. Also, if United defend as amateurishly as they did in their Champions League loss to Sevilla, the Swans might just have a chance.

Nevertheless, a routine Manchester United victory seems the most probable outcome.

Prediction: Manchester United 2 - 0 Swansea City


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