Analysis: Swansea City 1-4 Manchester United
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Swansea City looked promising in the early exchanges. They kept possession well and made United chase for the ball for large spells in the opening half an hour.
However, United don`t need many chances to score and after dealing with the early pressure, they took their chances and took full advantage of some poor defensive work - particularly from the two centre backs - Ashley Williams and Chico Flores - who struggled throughout the match to cope with the movement of Welbeck and van Persie.
It`s not often that you could criticise both centre halves in one game, but they were made to look poor by an effective United side.
The signs were there early on that United could get players unmarked in good positions inside the penalty area.
In the screenshot above, we`ve circled the two centre backs going for the same ball, suggesting a lack of communication between the two, and this was evident throughout the entire game.
Phil Jones is circled towards the right. This was the first of quite a few instances where the defence failed to deal with a cross, and a United player was unmarked at the far post - the same occurred for their second goal. Fortunately, Phil Jones` volley was put behind by Vorm for a corner, but the early alarm bells were there.
I`m not going to be completely critical of the defence in this analysis. It was their main un-doing but chances were being created at the other end. Nathan Dyer was unfortunate to be a yard or two offside when Routledge`s low shot was only parried by de Gea. Dyer scrambled for the ball, barely touching it before Michu was quickest to react and slot the ball home.
United`s opening goal came from a clever lobbed pass through from Giggs, and brilliantly improvisation by van Persie, but he was allowed a yard or two of space to bring the ball down with his chest to volley home.
The white line shows the two Swansea centre backs, with neither able to deal with the threat of Welbeck or van Persie. Welbeck can run towards Giggs (shown by the arrow) to drag a defender out of position leaving van Persie free inside the box. The English international didn`t need to though, as Chico was caught in two minds it seems, and also, Rangel (circled) is unable to give his side half a chance to rule a goal out for offside.
Similar to Phil Jones` earlier chance, this situation is almost the same, but this time, Ben Davies comes across in an attempt to deal with the cross, and all three players (Chico, Williams and Davies) fail to do so. The ball falls to Valencia, unmarked and circled above, and it`s an easy goal as he squares to Welbeck for a simple tap in.
The third goal saw more world class from van Persie, but the Swans defence were never tight on the striker, and gave him far too much space throughout the game to show the quality he has. The screenshot above shows van Persie (circled) and the amount of space he can run into, as Chico is too far up the pitch, left exposed after a rare poor pass from Canas - that led to the goal.
Williams, who looked rather slow all game, was never going to keep up with the pace of the Dutchman. As Chico raced back to recover, the striker got the ball away from the Spaniard before firing an unstoppable shot past Vorm to add more misery on Swansea City.
Wayne Rooney seemed to get the most space out of anyone after he entered the field on the hour mark. The circle shows nobody is within 8 or more yards range of the striker. He`s back to goal in the above screenshot, but he was able to turn and slot the ball through to Welbeck who brilliantly lobbed Vorm to add a fourth.
David Moyes is an excellent tactician and while other sides have failed to cope with Swansea`s passing style, Moyes has always been able to set up his team to expose weaknesses. The Scot had great success against the Swans with Everton, winning 3 and drawing one in the last two Premier League seasons.
Again, Moyes` side prevented Swansea from playing it short from goalkeeper Vorm. Many of Swansea`s inaccurate passes were long ones from their own half, as they were forced to hit it long as United pushed up and pressured Vorm and the defence - thus enabling them to win possession back quicker.
The Swans have also always struggled to attack down the flanks against Moyes` sides. Rangel and Dyer usually work brilliantly together as an attacking duo down the right flank, but on Saturday it was non-existent.
Thanks to Come on You Swans.com for the analysis of the match.
You can view the full Match Analysis article here