Manchester United keep pace with Swansea win

Updated: November 19, 2011

Manchester United kept pace with rivals Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table after a hard fought victory over Swansea at Liberty Stadium.

Javier Hernandez 11th minute strike proved decisive as United recorded their fifth consecutive clean sheet since that 6-1 defeat at home to City.

Swansea again showed that they belong in the top flight and while they weren’t at their best in front of goal their ability to pass the ball rivalled that of their illustrious opponents for much of the game.

The Welsh side frustrated United early on getting men behind the ball and looking to get wingers Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair in possession on the counter with both men looking to test United’s wing backs Phil Jones and Patrice Evra.

The Premier League new boys looked comfortable until a mistake from Angel Randal gifted United the lead.

The right backs careless pass found Ryan Giggs who played in Hernandez. The little Mexican showed great composure and skill to flick the ball past Vorm in the Swansea goal and into the net.

Swansea responded well with Dyer looking their biggest threat, twice taking possession in his own half and beating several United players. However he was often isolated with only Danny Graham in support United were able to snuff out the threat.

Sinclair had a golden opportunity to equalize mid way through the first half. Wayne Routledge slipped his marker and fired across goal. The former Chelsea man was unmarked at the back post but somehow miskicked and the chance was lost.

That was to be the best opportunity of the half for Swansea as United began to dominate. With Swansea defending incredibly deep the game at times resembled a keep ball exercise in training as United passed it at will but failed to engineer any clear-cut openings.

United have struggled with injuries in defence all season with Patrice Evra the one consistent figure in their back four. Today with Vidic and Ferdinand back it was only logical that Evra would suffer an injury of his own.

It was no surprise therefore to see the Frenchman forced off after being caught with a boot to the face by Dyer just before half time. He returned briefly before being replaced by Fabio five minutes into the second half.

Swansea came more into the match as the second half progressed. However they were finding it difficult to find their way past the imperious duo of Vidic and Ferdinand who produced a rock solid performance in only their third start together of the season.

It was only from set pieces that they really threatened United. Mark Gower’s delivery was threatening all day but the two United centre halves were up to the challenge both producing goal saving blocks following a goalmouth scramble from Gowers free kick.

That was as close as Swansea came. Rooney missed two chances to wrap the game up in the final moments but United held out and remain in second place.

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