Fourth place Manchester United head to Liberty Stadium to take on sixth place Swansea City this Sunday in what is set up to be one of the best matches of the weekend.
United look to carry their momentum from Champions league play and their utter decimation of Club Brugge 4-0, while Swansea City look to continue their own momentum following a 3-0 victory against York city in the Capital One Cup.
Van Gaal and his men are hoping to keep their clean sheet streak alive, having yet to give up a goal in the Premier League this year.
However, the somewhat unproven center back pairing of Smalling and Blind will have their work cut out for them and should be kept busy all day.
Swansea forwards Bafetimbi Gomis and newcomer Andre Ayew have already been developing a strike partnership up top that could spell trouble for the United back line. Through the first three games of the season, Gomis has three goals, and Ayew has two.
United will need a big game out of their new signing Matteo Darmian, whose future looks bright, and outside back Luke Shaw, who’s starting to prove to fans just how valuable he is on the pitch rather than injured.
Another factor that has the Reds riding high is the end of captain and figure-head Wayne Rooney’s scoring drought. Rooney found the back of the net three times against Club Brugge. The goals were his first in the League since April, and it is only his second hat-trick since making his Manchester United debut. United is certainly hoping that Rooney continues to live up to his “Super Wayne” moniker.
Van Gaal commented: “At this point, we are at our best when our opponents have the ball and we proved that last year too. Now we are continuing with a lot of clean sheets, which is very important. But we have to improve when we have the ball, or we shall not compete.” More of Van Gaal’s post-match comments can be found on The Guardian.
Sunday should prove to be an exciting match, with Swansea testing the budding United backline and United pressing forward into more attacking positions through possession. Their detailed history below shows that Swansea and Manchester United are known to battle back and forth.
PREVIOUS 5 MATCHUPS:
2/21/2015 – Swansea 2 – 1 United
8/16/2014 – Swansea 2 – 1 United
1/5/2014 – Swansea 2 – 1 United
1/11/2013 – Swansea 0 – 2 United
8/17/2013 – Swansea 1 – 4 United
Contributing Writer: Robert Stephens