By Andrew Embling
- United dominated possession but failed to create chances
- Swansea had best of chances and deserved the three points
Venue: Liberty Stadium Attendance: 20,828
Louis Van Gaal’s 50th game in charge of Manchester United ended the same was as his first as the Red Devils suffered a 2-1 defeat against an in-form Swansea City.
The South Wales side continued to haunt the United boss as goals from Gomis and Ayew cancelled out Juan Mata’s opening goal to inflict United’s first defeat of the season. The performance once again outlined the need for reinforcements up front as United failed to test Fabianski once they fell behind.
It also highlighted the importance of out of favour goalkeeper David De Gea to this United side with his replacement Romero culpable for Swansea’s winning goal. United were the ones who started the brighter of the two sides, Memphis seeing an early free kick saved well by Fabianski.
United looked full of confidence, Mata flashing a shot over in the early stages as the Red Devils began firmly on the front foot. But with the game settling down and United’s early dominance petering out Swansea started to find possession. The home side were still finding it hard to hurt United though as van Gaal’s team pressed their opponents well.
The Red Devils’ passing was at times looking very slick, but they continued to fail to take their chances, Mata pulling his shot wide after great work in the build up by Depay and Herrera had opened Swansea up. It took Swansea 23 minutes to have a shot on goal, but Gomis flashed well wide from outside the box as United continued to restrict the home side to feeding off crumbs.
The home side should have been in front after a quick Shelvey free kick found its way through to Sigurdsson, but he failed to hit the target when well placed inside the box. Shelvey then tried his luck from distance as the home side awoke from their slumbers, Swansea enjoying their best spell of the game.
Gomis was next to come close, turning Blind before striking an effort which flicked off the outside of the far post. United’s build up play was once again mainly in front of the Swansea back four, the need for more penetration once again evident for Louis Van Gaal’s side.
Herrera slipped Rooney in, but the United captain failed to get the height on his attempted chip as he once again endured a frustrating first half with very little service. Herrera shot wide from distance as United threatened to wrestle control back, but they went to the break locked in a stalemate in what was a tactical first half.
United started the second half by conceding a sloppy free kick, but Shaw broke away down the left and crossed to the far post where Juan Mata forced the ball home from close range. It was the breakthrough Van Gaal and his side needed, and but for Fabianski’s acrobatics it could have been two as Williams almost turned a cross into his own net.
United were playing with patience in possession, Herrera slipping Mata in, but the Spaniard could only hit Fabianski. Swansea had hardly found any space, but when they did they made it count as Sigurdsson crossed to Ayew who became the first player to score against United this season.
The turnaround was complete as Gomis was sent through by Ayew and the big striker slipped the ball under Romero, who would feel he should have done much better. Van Gaal looked to his bench for an injection to get United back into the game, Carrick and Young replacing Mata and Schneiderlin. Fellaini followed, replacing Herrera with 14 minutes to go as United looked to their own big man up front to salvage something from the game.
United were ragged, looking for Fellaini at every turn and often failing to find him with overhit passes. Rooney turned Williams to get himself into the box, but took one touch too long and allowed the Swansea captain to get back to make the challenge.
With little time remaining Swansea were happy just to clear long as United came at them in the last few minutes, but there were few ideas from Van Gaal’s troops as the manager’s 50th game ended the same as his first, with defeat to Garry Monk’s side.
Manchester United: Romero, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw, Schneiderlin (Carrick 70), Schweinsteiger, Mata (Young 70), Herrera (Fellaini 76), Memphis, Rooney
Our Man Of The Match: Shaw