Manchester United might have already won the English Premier League title, but you can guarantee that the Red Devils will be desperate to chalk up another league win this weekend when they take on Swansea City—especially given all that's at stake for United in this one.
From this being the last home game for Paul Scholes and Sir Alex Ferguson to the United players being presented with their champions medals, it'll certainly be an emotional affair at Old Trafford. For United, that will give them plenty of confidence to go out an win this game, which could mean dangerous things for the Swans given how dominant United have been all year.
Having said that, however, Swansea are one of the few teams who took points off the Red Devils this year, and they'll certainly back themselves to cause the champions a few problems in this one.
Can Swansea spoil the Red Devils' momentous home game this week, or will United carry on in their celebrations as planned? Read on for a full preview of this game including all the important details, live viewing information, analysis, predictions and more!
Date: Sunday, May 12, 2013
Start time: 11 a.m. ET (4 p.m. British time)
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Live Stream and TV Information
Fox Soccer Channel, SiriusXM FC, FOX Deportes and TalkSport Radio will all show coverage of this game throughout the United States (per Live Soccer TV).
Sky Sports 1/HD, Sky Go, Sky Sports 1 Ireland, BBC Radio 5 Live and Sky Sports 3D will all do the same throughout the United Kingdom.
A live stream of this game can also be found via FoxSoccer 2Go.
Recent Form and Previous Meetings
Having already clinched the league title, United's form has dipped as of late, with several defeats found against some of the top clubs in the Premier League.
They lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup quarterfinals, Manchester City in the Premier League and then also lost to Chelsea in the league as well. Throw in draws on the road to West Ham and Arsenal, and the Red Devils' form hasn't been anywhere near as strong as it was earlier in the season.
Swansea have seemingly bounced out of their winless shell, with now only one defeat to be found in their last five fixtures, and that was against Chelsea.
The Swans held City scoreless at Liberty Stadium two weeks back and then came from behind to score a huge road win over Wigan Athletic—putting them in some good form heading into arguably their hardest match of the year at Old Trafford.
These two teams played each other just before Christmas in 2012 and played out a close 1-1 draw, with Swansea perhaps not unlucky to take all three points. Patrice Evra put United ahead after just 16 minutes before Michu equalized after 26 minutes—a scoreline that would remain throughout despite some strong attacking chances in the second half falling for both teams.
Key Players to Watch for Both Teams
Manchester United: Michael Carrick, CM
Knowing what Sir Alex Ferguson is going to do with his midfield is somewhat of a mystery every week, but given that he already indicated Paul Scholes will play some role on the day, you'd have to think that he'll use his proven performer in Michael Carrick alongside him in the middle.
Carrick and Scholes have built a great relationship over the years and will likely be a big threat for the Swans' defense to deal with here if they can get going.
The 31-year-old has been superb for the Red Devils this year and whilst he might only have a goal and four assists to his name this season, the work that he does off the ball in defense and helping United keep their shape has been instrumental to their success in 2013.
Carrick is averaging 2.2 interceptions and 2.4 tackles per game this year and is completely over 75 passes per game as well. He'll likely be a big threat for the Swans here, and with his former partner in crime alongside him, could be primed for a big day out at the Theatre of Dreams.
Swansea City: Jonathan De Guzman, CM
One of the men most likely to stop Carrick will be De Guzman, who could find himself pushing forward into good attacking spaces here given the absence of Michu.
De Guzman has five goals and a team-high six assists this season, and has been very strong in the middle of the field as a result. He is averaging three tackles and interceptions per game and creates an average of 1.6 goal-scoring chances per game—something that the Swans will desperately need from him here if their Spanish star, Michu, is not going to take the field.
Look for De Guzman vs. Carrick to be the key battle in this match, and one that provides plenty of individual highlights for both players along the way.
3 Stats to Consider
91. If Manchester United can win their last two games of the 2012/13 Premier League season, they would equal their best-ever points haul from a single season (91).
1. Swansea have won just one of their past eight away games in the Premier League—coming last weekend against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
6. Robin van Persie has scored six goals in his last five appearances.
Having already stopped United once this year, Swansea definitely can't be counted out of contention in this one. After all, they are a good counterattacking team on their day and have shown this year that they can mix it (and beat) some of the top teams in the Premier League.
However, with players out, and this being United's big day at Old Trafford, it's incredibly hard to see this being anything other than a Red Devils victory.
United will be wanting to collect their medals and give the likes of Ferguson and Scholes the perfect home departure. That means that they'll likely bring the same discipline and attacking dominance that they've shown all year to this one, and whilst Michael Laudrup's side were able to contain that once, I can't see them doing it again at Old Trafford.
Prediction: Manchester United 3, Swansea City 0
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