Bold Predictions for Swansea vs. Manchester United

Max TowleAnalyst IAugust 16, 2013

Bold Predictions for Swansea vs. Manchester United

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    Hallelujah! Saints be praised. The Premier League returns this weekend.

    The past three months without domestic football have been arduous, but the wait is finally over.

    Reigning champions Manchester United kick off their title-defence on Saturday with a trip to Swansea City.

    The fixture list has not been kind to David Moyes and his side, who face the Swans, Chelsea and Liverpool by September 1.

    A win at the Liberty Stadium is a must for the Red Devils.

    Here are five bold predictions for the game. 

United Keep a Clean Sheet

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    This may not seem like a particularly bold prediction on the face of it, but Swansea City are set to have one of the best strike partnerships in Britain next season.

    Wilfried Bony joins Michu for the Swans, who will surely improve under talented coach Michael Laudrup.

    But I can see the Red Devils keeping a tight leash on both forwards.

    With Nemanja Vidic back healthy, United are a completely different side at the back. The Serbian adds both muscle and composure to the team.

    Plus, Moyes has one of the best defensive minds in the game. 

Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck Start

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    Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck may not be world-class players yet, but their improvement over the past few seasons has been noticeable.

    The English duo have also had success playing for the national team in past fixtures.

    Moyes will be keen to promote homegrown, United born-and-raised talent to continue Sir Alex Ferguson's legacy of doing so.

    Expect both Cleverley and Welbeck to start against Swansea—the former alongside Michael Carrick in central midfield, the latter in attacking midfield.

    Both will need regular first-team football to reach the potential we've been discussing for some time now. 

Goalless at Halftime

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    With this being the first game of the season, expect both teams to play cagey football.

    Laudrup likes his teams to play free-flowing, open football, but Manchester United have tended to do better against this style.

    The biggest positive from the Red Devils' Community Shield win over Wigan last weekend was the way the team put serious pressure on their opponents higher up the pitch.

    The biggest negative? The lack of creativity in the final third of the pitch.

    Expect few chances early on at the Liberty Stadium. 

Red Card Shown

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    Rafael's red card late last season was a rare disciplinary blip on the Red Devils' record.

    It would be bold indeed to suggest United will have a player sent off this Saturday, but it's possible.

    Moyes will have run his squad into the ground with his brutal training regime. Physically, don't expect the side to be at peak condition this early in the season.

    This often leads to late challenges and plenty of fouls.

    The same goes for Swansea, who will not be 100 percent match fit yet. 

Robin Van Persie Scores the Only Goal

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    My scoreline of choice for Saturday's game is 1-0.

    It will be a tight affair, likely to be decided by a solitary goal. Robin van Persie could very well be the man to hit the back of the net.

    The Dutchman should only improve next season as he is no longer burdened by the pressures of a debut campaign at Old Trafford.

    His headed goal against Wigan also hinted that he will take his aerial game to the next stage next term, too.

    So early in the season, expect most Manchester United fans to be happy with a win by any scoreline.