STATS: Manchester United vs Swansea

Manchester Utd vs Swansea 17:30

Manchester Utd’s woes this season continued last week as David Moyes’ side fell to a 1-2 defeat at home to Tottenham. After falling 0-1 behind, Danny Welbeck drew the hosts level but Christian Eriksen’s winner saw Tottenham head back to London with all three points and left Utd fans to ponder their somewhat under par form of late.

The word is that Javier Hernandez may push for a move this month to enhance his chances of making the Mexico team for the World Cup in Brazil this summer. Hernandez is a natural poacher and has been showing his shooting instincts again this season. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, the diminutive Mexican the best shot accuracy rate of any player in the league to have had more than 5 attempts on goal (87.5%).

With news that Nemanja Vidic may not extend his current deal past this season, Chris Smalling looks set to take over as part of a new look defensive lineup next season. The England international appears ready to make the step up though, currently has the second best tackle success rate of any player in the league to have attempted more than 20 tackles, winning 91.7% of his 24 attempts this season.

Michael Carrick remains one of the vital components in the Manchester Utd machine and will no doubt be a vital part of the rebuilding effort under David Moyes. He’s second only to Tom Cleverley for passes completed in the opponent’s half with 470, but has also completed 104 defensive contributions (blocks, clearances, interceptions, tackles won), the only Utd midfielder to move into triple figures in this category so far this season.

Despite a brace from the impressive Wilfried Bony, Swansea eventually lost 2-3 to Manchester City in a thrilling game at the Liberty Stadium last time out. Michael Laudrup was quick to praise the attitude of his players to keep battling against City’s creative onslaught and it is this exact quality he will hoping they can display again against this weekend as they prepare for an expected Utd backlash.

With Michu suffering from a slight drop off in form this season, Swans fans will be glad to see that Wilfried Bony appears to have hit the ground running at the Liberty. Given his brace last week it’s unsurprising that he had one of the best shot accuracy rates of any player in the league in the last round, with 60% of his 5 attempts on goals working Joe Hart.

In Jonjo Shelvey and Jonathan de Guzman, Swansea have two of the most prolific passers and one of the most technically gifted midfields, in the league. According to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index they’ve completed 1,153 passes in the opponent’s half between them, with both averaging a completed pass every 2.7 minutes or less. Utd will have to work hard in the middle of the park to make sure they aren’t starved of possession for too long during the game this weekend.

Ashley Williams has been one of the rocks at the back for Michael Laudrup’s side this season, allowing the creative players in front of him to flourish. The Wales captain has racked up 228 defensive contributions (blocks, interceptions, tackles won, clearances) so far this term, a squad-high.

No Swans player has been more keen to take the game to opposition defences than Nathan Dyer this season and the Utd defence will need to be wary of allowing him too much room this weekend. He leads the Swansea squad for dribbles with 24.