Manchester United held by bold Swansea




Manchester United dropped points to reduce their lead at the top of the table after a frustrating draw with resolute Swansea who held the league leaders at 1-1 at Liberty Stadium with help of Michu’s quick equalizer and superb job by the defenders.

Manchester United held by bold Swansea

Manchester United held by bold Swansea

Manchester United were the more dominant side and were in total control of the game but failed to restore their 6 points lead over second placed Manchester City by missing onto good chances, poor refereeing  and hard luck. United will go into the Christmas 4 points on top.

Sir Alex Ferguson picked the same team from their last game except for the two changes, both coming at the heart of his defense, with Rio Ferdinand and Chris Smalling making way for Nemanja Vidic and Jonny Evans.

It was a good start to the game with both teams sharing equal possession and playing in full flow, pressing and attacking in opponent’s half and each scoring once inside 30 minutes.

Swansea mad a positive start to the first half by moving quickly forward to threaten United’s defensive frailties. Michu had an early scoring chance but took early shot to hit it wide.

Minutes later United was denied a call for penalty, which the replays clearly confirmed that it was a handball by Swansea defender.

It had started in promising fashion for the Red Devils as they forced Swansea keeper Michel Vorm, into two smart saves. First Vorm fended away a long range strike by Wayne Rooney before palming a Young shot wide after Carrick’s defense-splitting pass.

Seconds later United opened the scoring in the 16th minute with the resulting corner, as Van Persie whirled in an inviting corner from the right and Evra rose to divert the delivery with his head into the far side of the net to score his 3rd goal the season.

However, United’s shaky defense was exposed again as Swans grabbed the equalizer 13 minutes later of Michu’s finish from close range, who moved clear of Van Persie with his 13th league goal of the season.

Michu moved into the great position to tap the loose ball into the net after a brilliant save by De Gea to deny De Guzman’s fired shot on target of Routledge’s clever pass into the area.

The goal added an extra bite to Swansea’s play who pressed hard for a second with De Guzman and Routledge becoming increasingly threatening for the visitors and the former should have done better after working his way into the United box on the byline, only to shoot straight at De Gea with several team-mates well placed in scoring positions.

Sir Alex Ferguson was visibly furious when Van Persie was not awarded a free-kick after he and Chico Flores went to ground.

United operated a few attacks late on in the starting half but looked quite ordinary, with Antonio Valencia looking well off pace and Ashley Young having a poor match, who failed to make successful cross and through ball from the flank and Rooney lacking lustre as United had a mediocre remainder of the opening half, with two teams going into the break level at 1-1.

The second half started at a furious pace and there were chances for both sides. Michu again headed over and Routledge’s close-range strike, after a brilliant step over was repelled by De Gea had who stood firm.

Shots from Rooney and Ashley Young at the other end were superbly blocked Ashley Williams to stop their goal bound efforts.

United  exerted authority, enjoying much of the possession in second half, but not much meaningful as United’s forwards failed to convert potential goal scoring chances and misfired on few occasions, leaving Sir Alex Ferguson clearly frustrated.

On the other hand Swansea’s equalizer proved a massive confidence boost for them as they looked resilient to hold United level.

Van Persie came close to put United in front as he showed great technique to flick Rooney’s cross on target only to see it diverted off the bar. He soon set up Michael Carrick for a chance of his own, but the midfielder’s header came back off the woodwork too.

Substitute Javier Hernandez wasted another chance that had goal written all over it he failed to control Van Persie’s clever pass and Vorm gratefully held the Mexican’s hasty strike.

Tempers flickered in Liberty Stadium when Van Persie was lying on the ground and was struck on the head by a Williams clearance after being brought down on the edge of the box leading to some pushing and shoving and a booking apiece.

Ferguson was angered by the incident and felt Van Persie was fortunate to escape serious injury or even death and demanded a ban for the guilty.

“Robin van Persie is lucky to be alive.” “It was a disgraceful act by the player, he should be banned for a long time.”, he told the reporters.

Reds had their hosts under significant pressure for the final minutes and, even though Van Persie, Carrick and Young went close, the hosts stood firm to a well deserved draw.

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