Preview: Swansea v Manchester United

AFC Cup 2019: Hà Nội FC 3-2 Altyn Asyr FK (Nguyễn Văn Quyết Penalty 87′)

Bob Bradley faces a mammoth task of steering Swansea to safety but will be optimistic of a result this weekend as they face an underperforming Manchester United side at Liberty Stadium.

Premier League
6 November 2016
Matchday 11
Kick-off: 23H00 HKT
Venue: Liberty Stadium

Referee: N. Swarbrick
Assistants: S. Ledger, M. Wilkes
Fourth official: R. East

Head-to-head summary:

Swansea 15 5 2 8
Manchester United 15 8 2 5

Previous encounter:

Manchester United 2-1 Swansea 02/01/16 (Premier League)

Manchester United goalscorers: A. Martial (47′), W. Rooney (77′)
Swansea goalscorer: G. Sigurdsson (70′)

Players to watch:

Next up it's a trip to Swansea on Sunday. #MUFC

A photo posted by Manchester United (@manchesterunited) on

Gylfi Sigurdsson is Swansea’s creative and driving force, and when he plays well, he tends to improve those around him.

With just a handful of goals to his name this campaign, he’ll be hoping the strikers around him can capitalise on the numerous chances he tends to create, namely Fernando Llorente, who still has a lot to prove with just one goal to his name this term.

It is now or never for Wayne Rooney to reclaim his place in the United starting line-up. With an improved performance and a goal in the 2-1 loss to Fenerbahce, and with Paul Pogba an injury doubt, the club captain needs to find an extra gear to help lift United from their current woes.

An in-form Rooney could be just the tonic the club and its supporters need.

Team form and manager quotes:

Bradley has overseen two losses and a draw in his short spell in charge of the struggling club, and they come into this tie in 19th place, with just one win and two draws all season.

After putting up an impressive fight against Arsenal, in Bradley’s first game, that ultimately ended in a 3-2 loss, the Swans then drew 0-0 with Watford ahead of a difficult 3-1 loss to Stoke, but they may just be facing Man Utd at the right time.

Jose Mourinho’s charges lost 2-1 to Fenerbahce last time out after a 0-0 draw with Burnley, and although they beat rivals Manchester City in the League Cup prior to that, there are more signs that frustration and inconsistency is in the club’s immediate future, rather than a massive change in fortunes.

Ahead of this match Bradley made a rallying cry to his players. He told the club’s website: “At the moment every game is critical. I said it before the last game and I will say it again.

“I believe we have a good group of players here. They are good guys and they understand the importance of where we are, but we have to turn that into better results.

“If we could beat Manchester United, it would be a reinforcement of the work we do and it would be a confidence booster. Maybe the guys would then think we can put this bad stretch behind us.”

He admitted, though, to not yet knowing his best team: “No I don’t. I am trying to figure out what our best XI is. When you have a team that’s gone through a stretch of results like we have, you have guys in up and down form.

“I look every day at different combinations on the field. We are still trying find our best group. Those decisions take time.”

Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, who is serving a one-match touchline ban, says his side will continue to struggle as they are unbalanced in defence as a result of injuries.

He told the club’s official website: “Well, you’ve never seen a Jose Mourinho team play with two left-backs at central defence, and I cannot be critical of the boys, because they do what they can.

“They try their best; for Daley [Blind] it is even more difficult to play as a central defender on the right side. It’s completely uncomfortable for him; he cannot even be a good builder of the game, which is one of his good qualities. Marcos [Rojo] is trying hard and is fine, but it’s a very important starting point for the stability of the team.”

He added: “We can also speak about the number of goals that we don’t score. Not the number of goals that we score, the ones that we don’t score. Sometimes teams don’t score goals because of their philosophy, because the team isn’t aggressive enough and doesn’t risk enough.”

Team news:

Swansea could be boosted by the appearance of winger Jefferson Montero, who would be making his first league start of the season after suffering from a calf injury.

Bradley added: “He is fit. He brings something different – it’s been good for me to see him in training.

“He has the ability to make something special happen. That’s always important. We will see whether he can start, but it is at least in the discussion.”

Kyle Naughton is also fit after recovering from an illness.

For United, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo will continue to act as cover in defence, with Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Antonio Valencia all sidelined.

And Pogba is a doubt after he picked up a thigh injury in midweek, while Ander Herrera is suspended.