Sunday November 6th 15.00 GMT
We’ll say it out straight, this column wouldn’t be particularly surprised if Swansea were to get some points from this encounter. A look at the league table will immediately throw doubt on such a claim, so too will a look a their form which shows a measly one point return from the last 15 on offer.
Nonsense, this is the kind of form that gets a team relegated, you might counter, so they’re hardly likely to get anything from Man Utd.
And you’d be right, to a degree. Atrocious though their results have been, their performances haven’t been dire and given that they have a new manager on board with all the disruption that can bring, they’ve done reasonably well. Three of their recent defeats have come at the hands of Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal and they gave a good account of themselves in those matches. Good intentions won’t get you points but better results can’t be too far away.
The circus never left town
Man Utd and Jose Mourinho will also be looking for better results and some consistency would help mightily in that regard. Utd haven’t got back-to-back wins in the league since September and come into this game on the back of a hugely frustrating 0-0 draw with Burnley last weekend and Thursday night loss to Fenerbache. It’s fair to say that things aren’t looking well for them on the pitch of late. Or from the bench, for that matter, as Jose Mourinho will spend the match watching from the stands as a result of his inability to behave like an adult.
Cult of the miserable
Many Utd fans were apprehensive about the Portuguese manager’s appointment, largely because of the way he conducts himself, his actions lending credence to the theory that he places his own concerns above those of the club he represents. His managerial successes are plain for all to see and many of those fans were cautiously optimistic that now that he had the job that many suspected that he’d always craved, he would rein the wildness in and focus on making Utd the force they once were. Instead, it appears as if the the changing of club colours and crests has passed him by entirely as he has seamlessly taken up with Utd where he left off with Chelsea and his extending waves of paranoia and anxiety show no signs of abating.
Need to impress
New Swansea boss Bob Bradley has his hands full in trying to successfully transmit his message to the team. Just recently in the door, the players will need to see the fruits of their labours in order to buy into his system. If they carry out his instructions to the letter and see no difference in outcome, unrest will quickly spread. Bradley will be aware of this and so the need to start picking up points is paramount and a positive result would be a notable but also attainable scalp.
Make it happen, Bob…
Another point about Bradley that is worth mentioning is that he might just be some kind of visionary. Or pragmatist, depending on your perspective. In brief, rumours abound of a move for free agent, Dimitar Berbatov! Whilst he’s at least five years past his peak, there’s something quite exciting about the prospect of seeing him float slowly across the pitch, occasionally delighting all with a nonchalant flick delivered with an air of regal insouciance.
Which is of course to say nothing about this tie. We’ve outlined the form of both teams above but it is this columns’ contention that the despondency hangs heavier in the Utd camp than Swansea’s. They’re playing without any real sense of purpose and a total lack of joy. Obviously they have a much better team than Swansea but we reckon the Swans will more than put it up to them. On the whole, we think it unlikely that Utd will win which leaves two other results open to us. Take your pick but we might just go for the draw. Best price there is 3/1 by way of BetVictor.