Following City’s injury time win in controversial circumstances, it’s important that United get the three points today to restore our lead to six points.
Swansea don’t have a great home record, having only won 3 from 9, but they have been scoring plenty of goals at the Liberty Stadium. Only City, Arsenal and United have scored more at home. Thankfully, they have a leaky defence, with only Wigan and Reading letting in more at home. With the attacking options we have, we should certainly be taking advantage of that, but maybe there’s more chance of a ridiculous Reading scoreline repeat than a thrashing.
Obviously the danger man is Michu, costing Swansea just £2m in the summer, who has scored an incredible 12 goals in 16 games. It’s fairly incredible that no bigger clubs were in for him, considering he was in the top ten scorers of the league, despite playing for a club towards the bottom of the table.
One of my favourite things about Swansea is their Real Madrid wannabe kit. They remind me of the lad at school who was rubbish at football but their parents got them some snazzy Adidas Predator boots. Seeing the likes of Wayne Routledge and Leon Britton parading around in white and gold always raises a smile.
Real Madrid are obviously more on the mind at the moment than they would be usually, following our Champions League draw against them in the Round of 16. Ideally, you want to avoid the big guns until later in the competition, but it will be an interesting test for our players and manager. Sir Alex Ferguson got the better of Jose Mourinho last them they met, when we knocked out Italian champions Inter. A striking difference is that our best player from 2009 now plays for Mourinho’s team. It will be nice to welcome back our former star player, the man who had the Midas touch in that glorious 07-08 season, with Ronaldo already confirming he won’t be celebrating if he scores against us. This time last year I’d have predicted we would have got stuffed and I’d almost certainly have been right. We have improved on last season’s form, even if we have been pretty naff in Europe still, whilst Real Madrid have taken a step backwards. Mourinho has already conceded the title, with his team 3rd in the league and 13 points behind Barcelona. Maybe by February we’ll have the options of Ando, Nani (if we haven’t sold him) and a fully fit Nemanja Vidic. It might be wishful thinking, but maybe a tie of this magnitude will encourage the manager to splash out in the January window, having previously ruled out any buys.
First, the pretend Real Madrid though. United are obviously top of the league for Christmas but an even better present would be to keep that six point gap.
£5 will win you…
United to win – £8.25
Swansea winning at half-time – £15.50
Rooney to score first – £25
Vidic to score any time – £47.50
United to win 3-2 – £92.50