Manchester United play hosts to Swansea City for the two teams' 37th league game of the season. There is, obviously, much at stake for the Red Devils - lose and they may well have confirmed local rival Manchester City's first league championships in 44 years. As a result, expect United to be fired up right from the start, particularly as their visitors for the day have nothing much to play for. Swansea have long since avoided relegation and are too far behind the top six to challenge for European football next season.
The focus, therefore, will be on United and after defeat in the Manchester derby, Sir Alex Ferguson will know he must rely on either Newcastle or QPR to trip up his rivals. However, to complete that scenario, United must be ready to take advantage of any mistake by City, meaning winning their two remaining games is a must. They will travel to Sunderland for the final game of the season.
Unfortunately for Ferguson, the plain truth is that Roberto Mancini's side has been better over the past few weeks. The Red Devils may have scored 12 times in their last five games but dropped points against Wigan and Everton point to the difference in form between the two Manchester clubs at this crucial time of the season.
The two sides are tied on points and City's lead is down to a better goal difference (eight goals to the good). United therefore can only hope to outscore their opponents (both on the day and City themselves) convincinvly enough in their two remaining games and hope City stumble.
Swansea City, on the other hand, have played well considering they were promoted only last season. The Swans, who are comfortably placed in the middle of the table, did enjoy some memorable victories against some big teams including Arsenal and Manchester City. Also, in their last game against the already relegated Wolves, the Swans managed to score four goals. The only problem was they also conceded four. While there may not be much direct pressure on Brendan Rodgers' men, do expect them to come out with attacking intent, for just that reason.
Manchester United will miss defender Jonny Evans and sriker Danny Welbeck, through injuries. Evans, in fact, also missed United's loss to City and has been out of action since the draw agianst Everton. Welbeck on the other hand has picked up an ankle injury during the Red Devils 0-1 loss to City. Apart from this, United will also be without the services of long-term absentees Anderson, Darren Fletcher, Federico Macheda, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Vidic However, the good news is that Anders Lindegaard is making a comeback for the first time since January.
The Swans, on the other hand, will have to do without the likes of Kemy Agustien, Ferrie Bodde, Alan Tate andAndrea Orlandi, who have all been sidelined following various injuries. Also, Leon Britton, who is a major doubt, will be going through a late fitness test ahead of this match. However, on the bright side for the Swans, Angel Rangel will be returning for the first time since his hamstring injury.
- The Red Devils became the first visiting team in the league to register a victory at the Liberty stadium this season following their 1-0 victory against the Swans in November.
- Manchester United have only managed to win one of their last four Premier League games.
- Wayne Rooney has scored more goals (26) that the entire Swans squad put together (in their home games) in the Premier League this season.
- Rooney, who is just two goals short of reaching a career milestone of 200 goals, will be making his 250th appearances in the Premier League in this game.
- The Swans have never managed to beat the Red Devils in their home turf.
- Apart from QPR and Bolton, the Swans have lost more away games (10) than anyone in the Premier League.
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Young; Rooney, Hernandez.
Swansea City: Vorm; Rangel, Caulker, Williams, Taylor; Britton, Sigurdsson, Allen; Dyer, Sinclair Graham.