Swansea City vs Manchester United
Swans manager Michael Laudrup on facing Manchester United this early in the campaign: “It’s never the right time to face a team like Manchester United. Whatever they do, they will put out a strong team. But I’d prefer to play them now, instead of October and November.”
Jonathan de Guzman misses out with a head injury picked up while on international duty this week. Summer signing Jonjo Shelvey should recover from illness in time to feature, while midfield schemer Pablo Hernandez should be available after a groin injury. £12m striker, Wilfried Bony, is in line to make his Premier League debut for the Swans. Have already played 2 competitve fixtures this season, a 4-0 win and a 0-0 draw as they defeated Malmo in Europa League Qualifying.
Predicted Swansea XI: Vorm, Taylor, Chico, Williams, Rangel, Britton, Dyer, Shelvey, Canas, Michu, Bony
Reds defender Chris Smalling ahead of the opening league game of the season: “The Swansea game has been in our minds for a while… We’re firing and ready to go. I can’t wait for that first whistle.”
Rafael is suspended (final match of three-game suspension) with Smalling likely to deputise at right-back. Wayne Rooney, after playing 65 minutes for England in midweek, could earn a place on the bench. Michael Carrick, who missed the same game with an eye infection, is a slight doubt, but should make it. He is joined by Ashley Young (ankle), Javier Hernández (hamstring), Nani (groin), Nick Powell, Jonny Evans (ankle) and Darren Fletcher on the slightly-injured-or-worse list.
Predicted United XI: De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Zaha, Cleverley, Carrick, Giggs, Welbeck, van Persie
Referee: Phil Dowd. The 50-year-old took charge of 26 Premier League fixtures last season, brandishing 79 yellow cards and 4 reds. He awarded 9 penalties, including Robin van Persie’s effort at the Emirates in April.
Assistants: G Beswick, D Bryan.
Fourth Official: L Mason.
Recent meetings at The Liberty Stadium
Swansea 1-1 United (23-12-12) – Swansea 0-1 United (19-11-11)
Robin van Persie is set to make his 50th appearance for Manchester United.
United have taken 10 points from 4 Premier League matches vs Swansea.
The highest-scoring match between the two clubs was a 5-1 United win at Old Trafford… in December 1937!
The Swans scored the first goal of the Premier League last season (Michu against QPR) and conceded its final goal (Emanuelson for Fulham).
United came from behind to claim 29 points in the Premier League last season.
Michu has 2 goals in 2 appearances vs United.
Score prediction: Swansea 1-1 United