Premier League - United take race to final day

Sun, 06 May 17:58:00 2012

Manchester United will go into the final day of the season level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City after beating Swansea 2-0 at Old Trafford.

Man Utd 2 Swansea 0

First-half goals from Paul Scholes and Ashley Young gave the defending champions a comfortable advantage.

At one point it looked as if they might make a sizeable dent in their inferior goal difference to the league leaders, but Swansea, who have looked assured in their first season in the top flight, made things difficult for United.

United, still eight goals behind City on goal difference, must now hope for a slip-up at the Etihad on the final day of the campaign next weekend.

United reintroduced Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young to the line-up, offering the team width that had been absent from the side Alex Ferguson had picked for Monday’s Manchester derby. Javier Hernandez also came into the side to support Wayne Rooney up front.

Swansea began without Leon Britton, opting for Mark Gower in midfield, while Angel Rangel and Neil Taylor returned to the defence after the Swans shipped four goals in their last game against Wolves.

The atmosphere was understandably subdued after crosstown rivals City had struck late to sink a spirited Newcastle at St James’ Park.

And the Red Devils began slowly, high on possession but short on chances.

It took more than 20 minutes for Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm to be properly tested, but he reacted well to parry Patrice Evra’s crisp half-volley from the edge of the area and follow up by turning Wayne Rooney’s rebound away.

The opener came on 28 minutes after a sensational piece of wing-play from Valencia. The Ecuadorian drove his way to the byline and cut the ball back for Michael Carrick, whose shot was turned in by Scholes from close range.

The celebrations were muted, but United pressed forward instantly, with Hernandez’s audacious flick almost turning a low cross from Valencia past Vorm, glancing it wide instead.

Hernandez had several chances, shouldering over the bar from close range as United looked to double their advantage – but with four minutes to the break Joe Allen gave the ball away with an ambitious pass from his own area, allowing Scholes to play Rooney in on goal. The England striker’s effort was blocked, but Young threaded the rebound into the far corner of the net.

Had Chris Smalling’s header crept in during stoppage time in the first half, United might have sensed an opportunity to win big, and make a serious impression on their inferior goal difference to Manchester City.

As it was, Swansea tightened things up in the second half with the introduction of Britton, and despite United fashioning more opportunities, they could not take them.

Gylfi Sigurdsson was the first to try a shot in the second half, with his dipping effort from distance forcing David De Gea to concede a corner.

At the other end moments later Nathan Dyer was Swansea’s saviour, doing some sterling defensive tracking back to intercept a United counter attack that looked certain to end with Rooney laying on Young’s second goal of the game.

Hernandez nodded over the bar after another appetising cross from Valencia, while just before the hour De Gea had to be alert to stop Danny Graham deflecting Allen’s shot past him.

Dyer was wasteful with a Swansea chance, blasting a right-footed shot over having done the hard work to create himself space, while Sigurdsson tested United’s Spanish keeper with a free kick which would have crept in low at the near post.

The hosts were not short of chances, with Valencia and Rooney missing the two best opportunities.

Rooney also picked up his first booking in the league for 364 days with a lunging tackle in the Swansea penalty area, before being substituted off to allow Dimitar Berbatov a rare – and perhaps final – appearance at Old Trafford.

United held on for the victory they needed, but the atmosphere in the ground reflected the frustration that the title is no longer in their hands.

Manchester United beat Swansea 2-0 to go into the final day of the season level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City. - 2

Mark Patterson - on Twitter @Mark_Eurosport / Eurosport

Comment 306 - 326 of 326

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  1. Sir please BUY US SUCCESS like the others

    From Politician Stole My Money, on Wed 9 May 21:46
  2. Now just imagine if the wise men from the east had­­ bought Swansea , Norwich or West Brom -we'd have­­ been witnessing them being crowned champions

    From Politician Stole My Money, on Wed 9 May 21:45
  3. Andy, the point I was making about the group stages of­ the champions league wasn't to do with the fact­ united and city went out. The point is next season if­ city get out of the group stages things will be­ different for their league form. United have been doing­ it for years and will not be something new, city will­ need to cope with playing champions league games­ against the best in Europe on a wednesday and then big­ premier league games on the saturday. So until you­ understand the point don't go shouting your mouth­ off kn0bhead

    From PAUL, on Tue 8 May 11:59
  4. I hear United r changing there sponsors to John Smiths­ next season . beacause there so bitter.

    From , on Tue 8 May 7:21
  5. C'mon the Wolves, lets see you get straight back­ into the Premiership.

    From Mourinho, on Mon 7 May 22:19
  6. Hardly dramatic,chavchester city only need to turn up.

    From simon, on Mon 7 May 22:00
  7. My veiw is City have the cup already in their hands, it­ would take nothing short of a miracal for QPR to even­ get a point, sorry MAN U you have blown it.

    From R BROOME, on Mon 7 May 21:48
  8. boring!!!!! thank god the football season is nearly­ over!!

    From Toni, on Mon 7 May 19:54
  9. just think if we add video ref and goal line tech­ already man city would have already won league by now­ and rapechester would be where liverpool are now lol

    From 3Dog, on Mon 7 May 19:34
  10. Comment hidden due to its low rating. Show

    Foreign Managers with Foreign players win trophies,­ shame on English Football

    From Gus, on Mon 7 May 19:19
  11. city need to win

    From , on Mon 7 May 18:51
  12. it will be good to see city to win from josh

    From , on Mon 7 May 18:46
  13. Man Utd are in a false position,they should be fourth­ or fifth, if it was not for all the points they have­ cheated other teams out of,it is about time referees­ got a grip and started treating them the same as other­ teams.there is fat chance of that happening.

    From P, on Mon 7 May 18:18
  14. Will Furguson pay some one off to get the title I hope­ city takrs the title

    From STUART, on Mon 7 May 18:15
  15. Thomas post 315, you continue to compare City to Utd­ spending powers,as a percentage United have still out­ spent the smaller premier league teams by more than­ City have out spent United. City had to win this year ,­ United have played average at best, Gunners not much­ better and Chelsea the same. If City could not take the­ premier league this year they would have struggled in­ the future if the three teams mentioned played there­ usual game.

    From Tony, on Mon 7 May 17:23
  16. What i fail to get is this: Man Utd have had a poor­ season everyone knows that, yet it looks like they will­ lose the title on goal difference to a City side who­ are "played brilliantly" all season!! Not all­ that bad then really is it. Lets see how City cope when­ they have a bad season and couple key players out all­ season. won this season but wouldnt get too­ carried away, you were 8 points clear not that long ago­ either.

    From David MacDaddy McCallum, on Mon 7 May 16:56
  17. Money can buy most things but it cant buy history and a­ WORLD WIDE fan base. Next year will be wanc shi-tties­ final hurrah, come the 2013/14 season when uefa's­ financial fair play rules come into force. A club with­ a £200million wage bill yet only has a total revenue­ income of £150million is only going in one direction.­ It'll be Leeds Utd all over again once the arabs­ get bored of bankrolling these overhyped egotistical­ prima donnas. NOBODY, with the exception of Hart,­ Richards and Kompany wear the sky blue colours with­ pride, its because they get paid £250k a week to do so.

    From Rich_Barstead, on Mon 7 May 16:49
  18. I luv man city well done man city wish ya the best

    From , on Mon 7 May 16:12
  19. Graham I think very mistaken on that mate.

    From TTT, on Mon 7 May 15:54
  20. Comment hidden due to its low rating. Show

    City are having a laugh if they think they will win­ against QPR. This will be there toughest game all­ season. Its set up for mark huges to get revenge

    From TTT, on Mon 7 May 15:51
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