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Swansea City 0-4 Manchester United: 5 things we learned

Saturday 19th August 2017
The scoreline ended Swansea City 0-4 Manchester United. With three goals in quick succession, it was almost a carbon copy of the West Ham match for United.

From Phil Jones' solid defending to Swansea's blunt attack, there was much learnt from the early kick-off.

Clinical Lukaku

For 80 minutes, the service to Lukaku was poor. The big Belgian cut an isolated figure heading United's attack. He was feeding on scraps as the Reds found it hard to beat down a resilient Swansea defence.

Finally, the tiring Swans were forced to attack in the final ten minutes. Mourinho's side duly exploited the inviting space on the counter. Lukaku was at last afforded a gilded chance. Predictably, he made no mistake.
It is exactly that kind of ruthless efficiency for which United forked out £75 million. Last year, without the former Everton man, it would have been no surprise for such a chance to go wanting and the opposition to pull a goal back. Instead, the Belgian's strike was the catalyst for two more goals.

Blunt Swans

Paul Clement's side was, until the 80' mark, defensively solid. The goal conceded on the stroke of half-time was unlucky. However, the Swans were never going to keep out United's multifaceted attack. Clement must have surely known his XI would have to score at least one goal.
Yet there did not seem to be any sort of game plan going forward. Tammy Abraham was given little to go off. Ayew's was-it-a-cross-or-shot was his best chance yet a big ask. With his poaching ability, it was a surprise to see few crosses sent into his path. Gylfi Sigurdsson long-anticipated exit stings but Swansea's impotent attack needs to be addressed if the Welsh outfit is to fend off relegation.

Jones must stay fit

Phil Jones has never been a poor defender. The only thing that has (among other things) hamstrung the centre-back is his recurring injury problems. not only does he miss time, but the knocks have the--cough--knock on effect of dulling his match sharpness when he does play. Subsequent lapses in concentration force Jose Mourinho to shuffle his pairings even more.
When fit and sharp, Jones is a very competent defender. He has shown this against the Hammers and the Swans. And he can threaten at the far end, on occasion, as his header off the bar in the opening ten minutes proved. The task now must be for the Englishman to stave off injuries. If he can, he will be integral to Mourinho's plans this year.

Mature Pogba

Paul Pogba certainly did not have it all his own way against the Swans. He was booked for a reckless challenge in the first half and can count himself lucky in escaping a red card for another cynical challenge minutes later. One fears for the young-man, yet the £90 million player surprised with subsequent maturity and composure that may be vital this season.
The Frenchman did not allow himself to be intoxicated by anger. Instead, he continued to play his game. It paid dividends when he clipped in United's third goal, two minutes after Lukaku's finish.

Martial must start

Martial's wonderfully incisive finish was his second in as many substitute appearances for United this campaign. For a player who has constantly been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, it appears as though he wants to stake a serious claim for a starting spot. Martial's quality is evident. He has the potential to be a world-beater if he can just  realise his precocious ability.
It is early days, but it seems as though the winger is returning the form he displayed in his first season. Two goals from the bench must now mean he starts the next game. Marcus Rashford did not play poorly but Martial's impact has to force him into the side over the teenager.
Michael Jones

Football & political writer with a predictable love of everything retro. English Literature undergraduate at the University of Exeter, looking to pursue a career in sports journalism. For a collection of my work, visit. http://mikejonesmedia.wordpress.com

Follow me on twitter: @jonesmichael_97

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