Gylfi Sigurdsson strikes again, Swansea robbed by dubious penalty decision
An act of low-class gamesmanship from Marcus Rashford and an awful piece of officiating conspired to limit resurgent Swansea to a 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Sunday, but the Welsh club deserved more.
For the first half, the game was all Swansea. Not bad for a relegation-threatened side playing away from home at one of the supposed Premier League superpowers. Paul Clement has fully reinstated this club's self-belief, and while a loss on Sunday wouldn't have ended Swansea's season, the point earned will have given the squad even more confidence.
In truth, Swansea could have won. United had a couple of reasonable shots but could only score from a penalty which should never have been awarded. The Swansea defence was robust all afternoon and dealt with United's pace well, given this back four are not the quickest around. Fernando Llorente uncharacteristically squandered a golden opportunity to bag a late winner, but the fact Swansea were in this game for the full 90 should give Hull pause for thought, and embolden the Swans efforts over the final three games.
There really isn't anything anyone can do about awful penalty decisions, although given what was at stake in this game for Swansea and the disparity in talent, the dive from Rashford was arguably the most despicable example of cheating seen so far this season. Jefferson Montero's injury probably means the end of the winger's season, which will give Clement fewer weapons to fight with, and the winger's injury also burned up a substitution which might otherwise have been used to introduce Borja Baston in place of the exhausted Llorente, which could have made the difference.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Whatever Clement is saying is working. His team are finally playing close to their potential, and they'll need to continue to do so in order to escape relegation. Playing Leon Britton regularly might yet prove a season-saving change, the team's sudden improvement mysteriously coinciding with the captain's return. The boss dealt with the frustration surrounding Montero's injury well, making an intelligent decision to field offensively-gifted defender Martin Olsson on the wing, while Swansea's well-drilled defensive shape was a big reason for the positive result.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Lukasz Fabianksi, 8 -- Kept a clean sheet if you don't count the bogus penalty, and if football was governed properly, nobody would.
DF Kyle Naughton, 8 -- Has been looking far stronger recently, and was Swansea's best dribbler on the day, making three forward runs and beating his man each time.
DF Federico Fernandez, 9 -- Is playing the best football of his Swans career of late, with this perhaps his best ever game. Unbeatable at the back.
DF Alfie Mawson, 6 -- Solid stuff from Mawson who helped prevent United from scoring an open-play goal.
DF Stephen Kingsley, 6 -- Has been deputising for Olsson while the Swede recovers from injury, and held his own here.
MF Ki Sung-yueng, 6 -- Didn't get on the ball much, but made one or two decent forward passes.
MF Leon Britton, 8 -- Kept the Swansea passing machine ticking, did his usual share of the dirty work defensively and took a tactical booking for the team.
MF Tom Carroll, 8 -- A typical high-energy performance from Carroll, who was Swansea's most active passer with 66 (Llorente was next with 44, showing how much Swansea's attacking game has improved).
FW Jordan Ayew, 7 -- Played very well in the first half but faded in the second. Got a couple of shots away and looks settled in the side now.
FW Fernando Llorente, 6 -- Won nine headers and played his part in developing attacking moves but his finish was lacking when Swansea needed it.
FW Gylfi Sigurdsson, 9 -- Swansea's saviour once again. Scored and led the team in shots (five) and key passes (four). Has any single player been more important to their team this season?
MF Leroy Fer, 7 -- Strong midfield play from Fer, who exerted a lot of influence in the middle of the park, always happy to get involved and drive the play forward.
FW Jefferson Montero, NR -- The fragile winger's Swansea story is fast becoming a tragedy. Injured almost as soon as he had entered play, it took him longer to get off the field than he had spent on it.
MF Martin Olsson, 7 -- Literally threw himself into the action and provided some late-game spark for a tiring Swansea. His apparent recovery from injury will be a boost over the last few games.
Max is ESPN FC's Swansea blogger. Follow him on Twitter: @maxwellhicks