Previous
AS Roma
CSKA Moscow
5
1
FT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
Manchester City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Ajax Amsterdam
Paris Saint-Germain
1
1
FT
Game Details
Barcelona
Apoel Nicosia
1
0
FT
Game Details
Chelsea
Schalke 04
1
1
FT
Game Details
NK Maribor
Sporting Lisbon
1
1
FT
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Shakhtar Donetsk
0
0
FT
Game Details
FC Porto
BATE Borisov
6
0
FT
Game Details
Blackburn Rovers
Derby County
2
3
FT
Game Details
Nottingham Forest
Fulham
5
3
FT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Barnsley
0
0
FT
Game Details
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
Rapid Vienna
1
5
FT
Game Details
SV Grodig
SC Rheindorf Altach
3
3
FT
Game Details
Montreal Impact
New York Red Bulls
1
0
LIVE 49'
Game Details
Bayamon FC
America
1
6
LIVE 49'
Game Details
Municipal
Real Espana
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Huachipato
U. Católica
2
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Universitario de Sucre
César Vallejo
2
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
River Plate
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
2
0
LIVE HT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Libertad
Barcelona
2
0
LIVE HT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
San Lorenzo
Defensa y Justicia
1
2
FT
Game Details
Nueva Chicago
Boca Unidos
0
0
FT
Game Details
Huracán
Crucero del Norte
0
2
FT
Game Details
Aldosivi
Douglas Haig
1
1
FT
Game Details
Guarini A. Franco
Ferro Carril Oeste
0
0
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Patronato
Atlético Tucumán
0
0
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Sarmiento de Junín
Santamarina
1
0
LIVE 45'
Game Details
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
Instituto de Córdoba
0
1
LIVE 27'
Game Details
Independiente Rivadavia
All Boys
0
0
LIVE 0'
Game Details
At. San Luis
Correcaminos
1
0
LIVE 53'
Game Details
Irapuato
Altamira
0
0
LIVE 54'
Game Details
Oaxaca
Lobos BUAP
0
1
LIVE 37'
Game Details
Chiapas
Veracruz
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Queretaro
U.A.N.L
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
U. de G.
Atlas
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Atletico Paranaense
2
0
FT
Game Details
EC Vitória
Fluminense FC
3
1
FT
Game Details
Figueirense FC
Criciúma
0
1
LIVE 55'
Game Details
Sport
Internacional
0
0
LIVE 53'
Game Details
Botafogo
Bahia
0
0
LIVE 12'
Game Details
Coritiba FBC
São Paulo
0
0
LIVE 14'
Game Details
Palmeiras
Flamengo
0
0
LIVE 12'
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Inti Gas Deportes
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
12 de Octubre
Nacional
1
1
FT
Game Details
FC Seoul
Western Sydney Wanderers
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Bay United
Mamelodi Sundowns
Postp
Game Details
Chippa United
Orlando Pirates
Postp
Game Details
Free State Stars
Moroka Swallows
Postp
Game Details
Mpumalanga Black Aces
Ajax Cape Town
Postp
Game Details
Silver Stars
Pretoria Univ
Postp
Game Details
SuperSport United
Bloem Celtic
Postp
Game Details
Alajuelense
Belen
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Patriotas F.C.
La Equidad
8:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Atlético Junior
Llaneros
11:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Boyacá Chicó FC
Once Caldas
12:30 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Deportes Tolima
Independiente Medellín
12:30 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Independiente Santa Fe
Cucuta
12:45 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Next
 Posted by Max Hicks
Aug 14, 2014

Swans aim to spoil LVG's coronation

Wilfried Bony will look to exploit Manchester United's still-young three-man defence.

Swansea looked anything but ready for the start of the season -- much less a trip to Manchester United -- during Saturday's 3-0 friendly defeat to Villarreal. Swans fans shouldn't worry, though. There were good reasons for a bad performance.

With Wayne Routledge, Marvin Emnes and Nathan Dyer unavailable for various reasons, manager Garry Monk was left with only one winger. Similarly, injuries to Leon Britton and Jay Fulton left only Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-yueng to play in midfield, all of which made 4-4-2 the most easily assumed formation -- and even then Gylfi Sigurdsson was asked to play out of position at right midfield.

It didn't work. Four men in the midfield rarely triumph over a five-man midfield. Monk could have used the same fluid system he used against Reading by ushering right-back Angel Rangel forward and having Sigurdsson cut inside behind the strikers to make a temporary 3-2-3-2 in attack, but perhaps he was reluctant, owing to Villarreal's talent on the flanks. Ultimately, Swansea looked tired, stretched and devoid of inspiration.

All these factors might prove decisive during Swansea's season opener away to United. Monk has Dyer and Routledge back, so he will hopefully ditch 4-4-2 in favour of 4-2-3-1, but will still be without Emnes, Britton and Fulton.

Louis van Gaal will likely play a 3-5-2. In practice, this will give United a strong advantage through the centre and Swansea the better share of the flanks.

This probably means we will see a defensive stance from Swansea, which will look to spring quick counters on the flanks in behind United's advanced wing-backs. The big battle will be in the centre of the park -- or more precisely, in the middle portion of Swansea's defensive third. Neither Shelvey nor Ki is adept at playing the destroyer role, and centre-backs Ash Williams and Jordi Amat will be too busy with Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney to help keep Juan Mata in check.

This is assuming each manager plays with those formations and personnel, but I'm sure Monk would feel a little more secure had he been able to sign that elusive defensive midfielder before now.

Looking at positives for Swansea, any combination of Jefferson Montero, Dyer and Routledge will provide pace and skill on the flanks, and with the entire Swansea back line capable of firing accurate long passes, goals from the break are a real possibility.

United have played four at the back since the day before forever, and it seems reasonable to suggest the transition to a back three will come with at least some teething problems. Both Wilfried Bony and Bafetimbi Gomis are hard to play against physically and know how to outmanoeuvre a defence, which suggests Swansea's best chances will come by having their wingers pull that back three out of shape to create holes for Bony or Gomis to exploit.

On the one hand, a trip to a revitalised Manchester United is not the best start to a season. The obvious narrative is that Swansea have been selected by the fixture computer to be the ceremonial bottle of champagne with which to christen the relaunch of the Good Ship United, recently repaired and with a new celebrity Dutchman at the helm. The Swans are expected to capitulate gracefully so football can celebrate the reinstatement of the Premier League's primary superpower after a forgettable season of strife.

On the other hand, Swansea have their own story to construct, and if Van Gaal's United are ever going to be vulnerable, it's going to be in their first league game. United aren't the only team enjoying a rejuvenation either. This re-energised Swansea side will not be playing along to anyone's script but its own come Saturday, and Monk's Swans have plenty to prove.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.