United were looking for a first win at Swansea since 1982, and closed the gap on City back to 5 points, but looked, yet again, unimpressive.
Wayne Rooney was back up front as Sir Alex presented a much more familiar line up, with Giggs and Carrick in the middle, supported by Park and Nani on the flanks. Ferdinand and Vidic were restored as defensive pair, with England’s new boy Jones at right back and Evra at left back.
A record crowd at Liberty Stadium spurred on Swansea in the first ten minutes, as the home side began the match showing their crisp passing game that had earned them an eight place on the table until today.
Their brilliant start soon came undone though, as Angel Rangel gave the ball away cheaply to Ryan Giggs inside the box. The Welsh winger quickly set up Hernandez, who beat Vorm to score his 5th goal of the campaign.
It was the first goal scored at Liberty Stadium by an opposition player since Swansea regained top-flight status, as they had only conceded through an own goal against Bolton.
Despite the goal United look far from settled, Nani in particular looked a shadow of his usual self, and Swansea had the chance to equalize, when Sinclair failed to connect with Routledge’s cross after a fine piece of play between the former Palace man and Graham.
United went back to dressing room at half time leading 1-0, without having created any major chances, apart from a Giggs free-kick off target and a Rooney effort that never troubled the keeper.
Swansea started the second half in battling fashion, with Sinclair drawing a smart save from De Gea, but failed to create any major chances.
The best opportunity of the game for Allen’s men came with 15 minutes to go, when Graham saw his shot block by Ferdinand after being teed up by Sinclair.
Jones then threatened to add another one for United, as he stroke the far post in the closing stages, with Nani also going close to score a second goal for United.
Fergie will be happy with the result and he will, no doubt, be delighted by the performance of his centre-backs; Ferdinand and Vidic were allowed a rare start and played superbly, marshalling United’s back four and controlling Swansea’s forwards without any particular problems.
United are back within 5 points of their “noisy neighbours” and while it might not be the vintage side we saw at the start of the season, this look very much like a solid unit. Lets’s not forget that last year United won the league with only 5 away wins, while this year they’ve already notched up 4.
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