August 18, 2017
Manchester United are back in action on Saturday as they travel to Wales for another Premier League game. The situation at United seems calm after an impressive performance on Sunday against West Ham. Top of the league at the moment the team will be looking forward to extend this while Swansea are looking forward to their first Premier League game at home after facing Southampton in St. Mary’s a game which ended level. Swansea also had a major blow this week as one of their best players, to say the least is now part of Everton and Paul Clement, recently spoke of the importance of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s replacement. Despite the difficulties the Welsh have had in the past season they have always managed to get something against United including positive results. On the other side, Mourinho’s team will attempt to remain top of the league with Romelu Lukaku already scoring, while Nemanja Matic has apparently won everyone’s heart with his incredible performance against West Ham United. The match starts at 12:30 BST at Liberty Stadium.
Key Players: Alfie Mawson and Anthony Martial to impress in what could turn into another surprising game between the two teams
Alfie Mawson and Anthony Martial are in different position at their respective clubs at the moment. The English centre-back seems to be Paul Clement’s most important player while Martial is fighting for a place in the first team as he isn’t Jose Mourinho preferred choice in the left-wing. With Sigurdsson’s departure, Mawson remains as a key player at Swansea, a team who found it difficult to survive last season and things don’t seem that well this season as well. As for Martial, things might change in the near future as the player had a great performance as a substitute against West Ham and it will be hard for Jose to keep ignoring his fine performances. He was an unused substitute in the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid despite having a great pre-season in his feet. Mawson started off where he left but he may not be good enough to keep Swansea up again.
It is hard to understand why Jose Mourinho didn’t choose Anthony Martial in the Starting XI against West Ham. After an incredible pre-season, that’s what we expected but is up to Jose to decide whether he starts or not. His pace is incredible and whenever he moved to that left, West Ham would be in trouble. This was done in only fourteen minutes showing off the desire he wants to play more and he could do things right this time. Another good point on having him available is his aggressive nature yet calm. Taking away all his problems recently he is calmer and he seems ready for new responsibilities. On his third year at the club, the player deserves a chance to finally convince Jose of what he is worth even though I expect that Jose is fully aware of this, but wants to unleash his full potential.
He has become Swansea’s most important player and is already pushing for a place in the national team. At only 23, it’s amazing how he has been holding his team in this way. Against Southampton, Alfie picked up where he left last season and Swansea are grateful of this. His height makes him a threat in aerial duels while he seems to have the experience he needs at a young age. It’s incredible how things have gone since he signed for the Welsh and his physical attributes will be a lot of help against another top striker like Romelu Lukaku. A typical Premier League defender, it is surprising how no one has gone seriously made a bid and sign him. He is rare, that’s for sure.
Key Battles: Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, and Anthony Martial to tear apart the Welsh in a fine battle
Paul Pogba -v- Wayne Routledge
This is where it all begins, the midfield. Paul Pogba under Nemanja Matic’s watch is being terrific. You would see the player in a more holding role which confused his opponents a lot. Despite all of this the player was dangerous moving up front as well. The Frenchman was magic and he’d break through every action West Ham would make and recover the ball along Matic was fantastic. As for Wayne Routledge, he now faces one of his most difficult tasks filling in Sigurdsson’s shoes and it will be difficult. Settling well during pre-season in a number ten role he acted more naturally, however, he found it difficult to adapt against Southampton in Swansea’s first Premier League match of the new season. It will be hard and maybe impossible but the Welsh must act fast.
Anthony Martial -v- Kyle Naughton
In case Jose Mourinho finally decides that it’s time for Martial to start, Kyle Naughton will be in big troubles. If we were to judge by Martial’s last games, he would probably start having nightmares already. It’s Martial’s positioning who will be key and whether it’s deep or another famous cross who is truly missed on the left Naughton is destined to suffer. As for Kyle Naughton, he needs to be on the top of his game if he wants to confront Martial successfully which means that he should keep possession better or in other words not be afraid of what is coming. However, his chances are limited as the United winger is willing to prove people who Martial’s time on the bench is part of the past now. Swansea must rely on what their both fullbacks will come up as however plays, it will be difficult stopping the hurricane and Paul Clement knows this.
Romelu Lukaku -v- Alfie Mawson
As I stated above Alfie Mawson’s attributes might result into a great and key part of Swansea’s defending. the Englishman was the star man against the Saints and he will need another great game if he is willing to stop Romelu Lukaku and prevent him from scoring. This task may be hard to complete as the Belgian striker has already started high in the league scoring two past Hart and his combinations with Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were fantastic. However, Mawson won’t be alone in this one as the Argentine Federico Fernandez will most likely be Mawson’s partner in the heart of the defence. The two have formed a great partnership, probably being Swansea only strong point as they have a good communication between them and their physical presence can do damage as their brave actions during the last game helped Swansea rescue a point. As Mourinho said before the start of the Premier League, Swansea is a tough opponent and we all know that they have done well against top sides, so we need to make it past the wall these two have built to be able to win the game.