Manchester United succumbed to only their second league defeat in 20 games on Saturday against Swansea, a loss that severely hampered their hopes of finishing in the top four.
Manchester United actually took the lead against Swansea at one point in the contest. The visiting side made an impressive start, and neat build-up play by Wayne Rooney, Maraoune Fellaini and Angel Di Maria resulted in Ander Herrera driving the ball home with a concise finish.
United’s traveling support probably envisioned that this goal would lead to a repeat of the 4-1 victory that the Red Devils achieved at the start of last season.
However Ki Sung-yueng equalized for the home-side within two minutes of Herrera’s goal, and the first half then ambled to a rather mediocre conclusion.
United were impressive in the second half, and it was against the run of play when Bafetimbi Gomis re-diverted Jonjo Shelvey’s powerful strike to leave David De Gea punching at thin air.
Louis Van Gaal’s side had plenty of possession, but they were unable to fashion many clear cut chances and in the end, Swansea were able to see out their victory with ease.
After the game, Van Gaal admitted to the BBC that he was amazed that United had failed to score, before insisting that he was happy with their performance.
This was the second time that Swansea had beaten United this season in the Premier League, and it means that the Welsh club have now done the double over the Red Devils for the first time in their history. It also dampens United’s hopes of finishing in the top four.
United finished in seventh place last season, which meant that for the first time in nearly 20 years they weren’t able to mix it with the European elite in the Champions League.
Because of this failure, David Moyes, who was hired to replace Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United coach, was sacked and replaced by Louis Van Gaal. The Dutch coach was given around $250 million to spend on improving United’s roster of players. However, despite the signings of Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Marco Rojo, and Daley Blind, United’s form has still been mediocre.
United are still currently fourth in the Premier League, however Arsenal’s victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday means that they have leaped-frog United into third, while Southampton, Tottenham and Liverpool are each closing in on United too.
Southampton will overtake Manchester United if they win their game in hand against Liverpool on Sunday.
[Image via Prensalibre]