Old Trafford will host a meaningful clash between Manchester United and Swansea on Saturday.
Utd manager Louis Van Gaal is under sustained pressure over the way his side are failing to play attacking football and also their early exit from the Champions League group stages.
Swansea have had a great track record against United under Van Gaal and will be hoping to pull off a victory against a United side that has looked very beatable this season.
If the Swans are in fact able to leave Manchester with all three points then it is very likely to be the nail in the coffin for Van Gaal. Indeed, a Swansea win could be historical as a trigger for Jose Mourinho joining United – something many Red Devils fans are hoping and praying for.
United are over the worst of their injury crisis but are still set to be without several defensive players, including Luke Shaw and Marcus Rojo, and Antonio Valencia, who has usually been deployed as a wingback by the Dutch manager. Exciting youngster Jesse Lingard is also set to remain out of the Man Utd side due to a hamstring problem.
Van Gaal’s team selection has been controversial at times this season and fans will be eagerly awaiting to see how United line up at the back, and if Rooney will be playing a role in Saturday’s contest.
Fans and pundits alike have hailed United’s goalless draw against Chelsea as a return to the longed-for attacking style of years past, and it will be interesting to see whether United give their home fans a similar performance at the weekend.
Swansea are currently without a permanent manager. Interestingly, United assistant Ryan Giggs has been linked to the Swans vacancy again and again. Caretaker boss Alan Curtis will select his strongest XI on Saturday after resting many of his players in the recent game against Crystal Palace.
Swansea are likely to find places in the starting XI for Gylfi Sigurdsson, Andrew Ayew, Leon Britton, Ki Sung-Yueng and Angel Rangel. Swansea haven’t managed an away win in the Premier League during December, but did manage a respectable draw away at Crystal Palace lately.
United are heavily favoured to win, but few fans of the home side would express a high level of certainty this will actually happen. United are a long, long time without a victory, and Swansea are very much a bogey team for Van Gaal.
Anything other than three points, and an attacking performance to match for the home side, is likely to signal the end of Van Gaal’s reign, and the beginning of the Jose Mourinho era.