August 19, 2017
Manchester United annihilated Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium in the opening Premier League match of the weekend. Eric Bailly scored United first goal at the end of the first half, putting the ball over the line after Paul Pogba’s header hit the inside of the post and failed to cross the line. In the second half, United aimed to increase their lead, which was not coming. In the 75th minute of the match, Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial were brought on, changing the game. In the 80th minute, Romelu Lukaku scored United’s second, Pogba scored a third, Henrikh Mkhitaryan assisting both. Then in the 84th minute, Anthony Martial scored his second goal of the season. Three points in the bag, United still top of the league.
Jose Mourinho made one change from the West Ham victory last Sunday with Victor Lindelof being named a substitute ahead of Matteo Darmian. The starting XI was unchanged. In the opening minutes, Swansea could have taken the lead, beating United with their pace, getting in behind the back four and a chance being created for Tammy Abraham, who missed the opportunity to score the first goal against United this season. Minutes later, United has the chance through Marcus Rashford, whose shot was wide of the target and no problem for Łukasz Fabiański. United also had a free-kick, almost getting the first goal of the match with Phil Jones’ header hitting the crossbar from Juan Mata’s free-kick.
Heading to the half way point of the first half, United had been playing well. Every time they had the ball they looked a threat. Swansea were playing ten men behind the ball with United on the attack, which when United had done it last season, was rubbish play and showed no ambition, yet when teams do it against United, it is fine. It shows a lack of ambition in my book. United have created chances, yet unable to break with anything at this stage of the match. Paul Pogba was booked for a challenge in the 26th minute of the match with Swansea pushing to get a goal, but it not coming for them. United seemed to be doing everything needed to stop Swansea from creating anything credible with almost half an hour gone.
After some good play by United, Swansea seemed to be getting through and getting some play, taking on United. The last five minutes or so had seen the home side get the better of United, pushing to break the deadlock, but not getting there. After some effort, United took the lead after a corner. In the build up, Pogba whipped in two great crosses in quick succession with Swansea defending well. The second was put out for a corner by Kyle Naughton. From the corner, Pogba jumped to head the ball, striking the crossbar, bouncing off the line, not over it with Eric Bailly rushing forward and helping the ball over, scoring his first Manchester United goal. United headed into the break 1-0 up with a lot still to do in the second half.
No changes at the start of the second half for either team. United continued to put pressure on the Welsh side, pushing for more goals which should see them leave Swansea with three points again. United got a corner in the opening five minutes of the half, doing well but not gaining anything from it. United were still playing well, still seeking that second goal and Swansea were still putting in a pretty poor performance. Just after the hour, Swansea had a great chance through Tammy Abraham, whose header was wide of the target. United had been allowing Swansea some space in their half, presumably to create space to catch them on the counter, which beats playing against ten men, all behind the ball on the attack.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan had a shot, from long-range in the 62nd minute of the match, the ball being deflected out for a corner. Daley Blind took the corner, United pressured, unable to get a credible chance on goal, with Swansea gaining possession in their own half. In the 66th minute of the match, Swansea made their first two changes with Luciano Narsingh replacing Roque Mesa and Wayne Routledge replacing Kyle Bartley. In the 70th minute, Swansea won a corner, which came to nothing other than another corner, earning nothing for the home side. Leroy Fer was booked in the 73rd minute for a challenge on Blind, who was attempting a shot on goal, getting just wide of the target. A free-kick was given, Pogba taking it and not hitting the target.
In the 75th minute, Jose Mourinho made his first two changes with Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata being replaced by Anthony Martial and Marouane Fellaini, Rashford being booed off by the home supporters, presumably because his future seems so much better than their entire clubs future. In the 80th minute, Romelu Lukaku scored United’s third goal of the season with a Mkhitaryan assist going 2-0 and seemingly game over for the home side, who have played 170 minutes of football so far this season with no goals scored. Just over a minute later, Paul Pogba put United 3-0 up, Mkhitaryan getting another assist. It wasn’t over yet, Anthony Martial put United 4-0 up, the second rout in a week, Pogba getting the assist after Lukaku started the play. Ander Herrera replaced Mkhitaryan after the goal.
Three minutes were added on at the end of the second half and two minutes in, Swansea had a chance for a consolation goal, hitting just wide of the target. United have dug deep and taken the victory in the second half of the match, despite going 1-0 up at the end of the first half. The match ended with United taking six points from the six available in both matches, domination both West Ham United and Swansea City, scoring eight goals, four in each match and ending up three points clear at the top of the table with big performances needed from Huddersfield Town, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Burnley, Everton and West Bromwich Albion, who could all aim to displace United, as long as they scored goals galore and conceded few.
Goals: Eric Bailly 45′, Romelu Lukaku 80′, Paul Pogba 82′, Anthony Martial 84′
Assists: Henrikh Mkhitaryan 80′, 82′, Paul Pogba 84′
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind; Matic, Pogba; Mata (Fellaini 75′), Mkhitaryan (Herrera 85′), Rashford (Martial 75′); Lukaku
Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Smalling, Lindelof; Lingard
Bookings: Paul Pogba 26′