Venue : Liberty Stadium
Referee : Phil Dowd
17-Aug-2013, 17:00 BST
For the first time in 26 years, a new man will walk out leading the Manchester United team.
Swansea will always have a special place in the hearts of United fans. They were the team against whom Sir Alex played his final home game. It was a 2-1 win courtesy of a Javier Hernandez and Rio Ferdinand goal three mins from the whistle.
But that was another era, this is a new era where David Moyes has taken over from Ferguson. Swansea are good enough to beat their opponents as their coach, the legendary Michael Laudrup is on a high after winning the Wales club their first ever trophy and leading them into Europe has done some smart business in the transfer window.
United have been a shadow of their true self in the pre-season which can be described as ordinary at the most. While they have remained inactive in the transfer market, Michael Laudrup has bolstered his squad with eight players, the most eye-catching of which has been striker Wilfried Bony from Vitesse Arnhem for a reported £12m.
He has also used his voluminous knowledge about Spanish football to buy signing Jordi Amat from Espanyol and José Cañas and Alejandro Pozuelo from Real Betis, one of whom could probably become as good as Michu who was bought for a meagre amount of £2m.
They have also bought Jonjo Shelvey from Liverpool, whose biggest achievement so far has been swearing at Ferguson after getting a red card.
Coming to the weekend's match, United have already sent a strong message to the other teams when the won the Community Shield with ease after Robin Van Persie scored a brace, something that could propel him into another golden boot this season.
Swansea, on the other hand had a good pre-season as they conceded just a goal and qualified for the Europa League play-offs after a 4-0 win over Malmo. They have a pretty strong squad with all the additions and Michu, who has particularly found the net on both the occasions Swansea played United last season.
Their defence is strengthened by the return of Chico Flores who was getting over losing his father. Ashley Williams is an excellent captain and an able header of the ball and Robin Van Persie should have a tough time against him.
United's defence is looking a liability given their pre-season bloopers against some of the teams where they failed to play the offside trap and their man-marking was pretty poor.
The return of Vidic will surely bolster the defence and his aerial prowess would surely frighten attackers.
The midfield is where the game is decided nowadays. United are pretty weak in their midfield with David Moyes yet to bring in any midfielder after losing out on Thiago and Fabregas.
Carrick has been their go-to man last season with the departure of Scholes and he has done an excellent job. The other spot is filled by Cleverly or Anderson, both of whom are injury prone and do not have the passing ability that Scholes had.
Ryan Giggs alongside Carrick would be a potential suicide mission for United as the Swansea players would easily overrun the midfield.
Maybe, Moyes plans to bring Wayne Rooney further down the pitch but he doesn't seem to favour that.
Danny Welbeck and Valencia are most likely to man the wings although Zaha could make the first team list. Kagawa looks favourite to play in the hole as Rooney's position at the club is unknown even though he played for England. Jesse Lingard and Adnan Januzaj could make up as viable replacements for Kagawa in the case of an injury.
Coming to Swansea, they usually play a midfield trio behind a three-man frontline as they line up iin a 4-3-3. Laudrup has injected the passing philosophy well into the team after Brendan Rodgers, who initially started it.
Their front three is most likely to be Wilfried Bony through the centre with Routledge and Dyer manning the wings. Michu could play behind the striker with Leon Britton, who at 31 is still the lynchpin of their team in the centre of the park along with Ki in centre midfield as De Guzman has been ruled out of the game.
The arrival of the three Spaniards could propel these players to play well so that they retain their place in the XI. Angel Rangel and Neil Taylor, both of whom were excellent last season are likely start on either side of the centre backs.
Manchester United - (4-4-1-1) - David De Gea; Fabio Da Silva, Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra; Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley , Danny Welbeck; Shinji Kagawa; Robin Van persie
Swansea - (4-3-3) - Michael Vorm; Angel Rangel, Ashley Williams, Chico Flores, Neil Taylor; Leon Vritton, Ki Sueng-Yeng, Michu; Nathan Dyer, Wilfired Bony, Wayne Routledge
Although the Swans look a very good side on paper, it is unlikely that they will be able to beat Manchester United on the first day. A draw would be great for them but the maximum they can come out with is a goal.
Manchester United 2-1 Swansea
- Michu has scored in both of his two previous appearances against Manchester United.
- Manchester United hit the woodwork 24 times last season, more than any other side.
- Manchester United have had 20 different goalscorers last season, a record in the Premier League.
- Manchester United came from behind to claim 29 points in the Premier League last season. Only Newcastle in 2001-02 (34) have claimed more. So, even if Swansea should take the lead, watch out!
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