Prior to losing the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final to Sunderland, Manchester United fell 2-1 to Swansea at Old Trafford, finding themselves knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle. But they got their revenge on Saturday, picking up all three points against the Swans. David Moyes will surely be sleeping better after this result.
The first half, it must be said, was a rather dull affair on both sides. Adnan Januzaj briefly livened things up with a lovely free kick in the 11th minute. Swansea keeper Gerhard Tremmel was well beaten, but the shot hit the post instead.
It took about 25 minutes for the hosts to really get into the match, but once they upped the pressure, Swansea were forced into mistakes, misplaying passes and losing possession. United sent the majority of their attacks up the left side, yet still couldn’t sink the ball in the back of the net. Their best chance came in the 37th minute – from the right, this time – when Rafael sent the ball toward the center of the area. Danny Welbeck was in perfect position 12 yards out, yet placed his shot wide.
The second half started off with a bang, as Manchester United made it clear Swansea weren’t about to beat them twice, on their own turf, in one week. Just two minutes had passed before the hosts took the lead. Januzaj, who after the break moved from a central location to playing out wide, put in a gorgeous cross for Shinji Kagawa. Tremmel managed to beat away the resulting header, but the ball fell perfectly to Antonio Valencia, who had no trouble finishing.
It was Januzaj, again, that created the second goal, winning the ball in midfield and providing another cross into the area. Patrice Evra took a shot, but the goal belonged to Welbeck, whose little sidefooted flick put it past Tremmel for United’s second. That’s Welbeck’s sixth goal in six Premier League matches.
United very nearly scored a third in the 76th minute. A fast break put Rafael and Kagawa clear on goal, with the Swansea defenders scrambling to get back. Kagawa wiggled his way behind Tremmel and it looked certain that the ball would be in the back of the net, but Leon Britton managed an incredible goalline clearance.
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Smalling, Vidic, Evra (Büttner 79); Valencia, Carrick, Fletcher, Januzaj; Kagawa, Welbeck (Hernández 86)
Goals: Valencia 47′; Welbeck 59′
Swansea: Tremmel, Rangel, Amat, Williams, Davies, Britton, Cañas (Chico 17), Shelvey (Álvaro 63), Pozuelo, Routledge, Bony