WILLIE DUNCAN (@Willie_Duncan) previews Super Sunday’s contest between Manchester United and Swansea from Old Trafford.
Manchester United v Swansea | Sunday 12:00 | BT Sport
Manchester United meet Swansea at Old Trafford on Sunday in a match of great importance to both clubs.
For Jose Mourinho’s men, they simply cannot afford to slip up as they bid to finish in the Premier League’s top four – and guarantee themselves a place in next season’s Champions League, irrespective of what happens in the Europa League.
For the Swans, such lofty ambitions are not a consideration; Paul Clement’s charges are fighting for survival as they attempt to preserve their Premier League status beyond the end of the current campaign.
Swansea, it must be said, are making a decent fist of the fight – but only at Liberty Stadium, it seems, where the side from south Wales have lost just one of their last six league matches – and that defeat came against title-chasing Tottenham.
On their travels, the Swans have been beaten in each of their last six league games, failing to find the net in any of their last three matches away from home.
The memories of back-to-back away wins against Crystal Palace and Liverpool at the beginning of the year must be fading fast for Clement’s charges as they face the very real prospect of plying their trade in the Championship next season.
The former Derby boss reckons that his side have what it takes to survive – and given how tight it is at the foot of the table, he might just be right – but the Swans’ away record is just not good enough at present and it could prove to be mighty costly come the end of the season.
The betting angle
If you’ve got a wretched record on the road, Old Trafford isn’t a venue that you’d relish visiting; Manchester United have avoided defeat in each of their last 27 matches on home soil in all competitions.
Incredibly, you have to go back to October for the last time that Mourinho’s team conceded more than a single goal in the Premier League and their defensive discipline was there for all to see once again in Thursday’s bore draw with Manchester City; United have kept a clean sheet in five of their last six Premier League games.
All of that stacks up to a tough test for travel-sick Swansea and backing the men from Manchester to win without conceding at 6/5 (Stan James) is a price that could offer punters a path to profit from Sunday’s showdown.
Manchester United v Swansea – Manchester United to win ‘to nil’ (6/5 Stan James)