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Manchester United have far tougher challenges to come

Monday 21st August 2017
Manchester United romped home yet again on Saturday as their powerful second-half showing allowed for a dismantling of Swansea City. The 4-0 scoreline was their second in a week and it has seen them rise to the top of the Premier League table. 

Goals from Eric Bailly, Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial completed the comfortable win for Jose Mourinho's side who are looking like a good early bet for the league, although 36 games means there is still a lot of football to be played.

In both contests, United have been able to coast to a win with a lot of goals behind them and a clean sheet to boot. In the end, they are yet to face any sort of adversity.

Against Swansea, they were given a tougher time than in their opening game against West Ham, as the Welsh side defended valiantly throughout the first-half. Paul Clement set up to keep things tight at the back and eliminate the space for United's players to work in. This led to Lukaku being largely anonymous throughout much of the game.

It actually took a set-piece for Mourinho's side to break the deadlock. Pogba's powerful header was brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by Lukasz Fabianski, but he was not given any luck as Bailly was able to tap the ball into the back of the net.

Clement clearly decided that Swansea should push for a goal to level things up instead of simply settling for a 1-0 defeat, which meant that United could expose the space left in front of Swansea's defence and punish the Welsh side.

While they had to be very good creatively to utilise these pockets of space, it was interesting to see United struggle to breakdown Swansea in the first-half. This was the first real patch of adversity that Mourinho's side have faced and they found things tough.

It will be interesting to see Manchester United moving forward as they will be faced by teams that can both attack and defend. West Ham were largely derided by their fans following an awful performance against Mourinho's side. Swansea played well defensively but offered very little going forward and were caught chasing the game.

Mourinho will need to see continued improvements as he looks to guide his side to the Premier League title, but the fans are unlikely to get too carried away with the result on Saturday.

Of course, it should be noted that United drew far too many games last season against teams they should have beaten. Both results were a step forward from last campaign and Mourinho will feel as though the demons of last term are slowly being banished with each win.

In the next few weeks, United take on Leicester, Stoke, Everton and Southampton, with the four providing vastly differing types of challenges. In conjunction with this is the fact that Everton and Southampton in particular will be looking to prove their own credentials against top opposition too.

Mourinho's men did look very strong against Swansea, and they will be desperate to add another three points next week, but they are unlikely to find it quite as easy as in their opening two matches of the season.
Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.


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