Manchester - Normal service was resumed as Manchester United beat Swansea City 2-0
on Saturday to avoid losing three successive home games for the first
time in over 50 years.
The victory was a welcome one for manager
David Moyes, but although it was United's fifth win in six Premier
League games, questions remain about their ability to revive their
season sufficiently to challenge for the title.
creativity for the opening 45 minutes, when Swansea had the bulk of the
possession, but the Welsh club failed to deal with the threat from Adnan
Januzaj, who was involved in both goals.
Danny Welbeck scored
their second one and has now hit the target six times in six games,
while Antonio Valencia was also on target at the start of the second
Until then, Swansea had coped capably with the threat from
United, despite having to reshape their side after only 17 minutes when
Chico Flores came on for the injured Jose Canas.
dumped United out of the FA Cup last weekend, were already without
several key players because of injuries, but they still created chances
in the early stages.
A fifth-minute shot from Jonjo Shelvey was
comfortably saved by United goalkeeper David De Gea, before a slick
exchange of passes set up Wayne Routledge, whose poor first touch
deprived him of a chance to shoot.
Moyes's team were slightly more
incisive and could have gone ahead in the sixth minute when Nemanja
Vidic hooked a shot over the crossbar after Swansea failed to deal with a
Januzaj was also inches away from giving United a
11th-minute lead when his 20-yard free-kick dipped over the wall, but
struck the bar.
Patrice Evra forced Swansea goalkeeper Gerhard
Tremmel to make a routine save in the 28th minute, but United were far
from convincing as they were stifled for long periods by their
Within 30 minutes, there were already
rumblings of discontent from supporters who have grown accustomed to
witnessing United overcome teams such as Swansea, who had won only one
of their previous seven league games.
Their mood was not improved
by Welbeck's failure to convert a 36th-minute chance that he dragged
wide at the climax of their best move during a half in which Swansea
enjoyed 66 percent of possession.
However, the atmosphere within
Old Trafford was transformed after only a minute of the second half when
Januzaj's movement down the left flank created a a goal that the match
-- and United -- desperately needed.
He engineered space for a
cross that reached Shinji Kagawa, whose header was saved by Tremmel
before Valencia drove in the loose ball.
It was the catalyst for an impressive spell by United, who stretched their lead in the 59th minute.
Januzaj was again heavily involved when he won the ball in midfield and delivered a cross that was half-cleared to Patrice Evra.
The full-back's shot lacked power or accuracy, but Welbeck got a clever touch that turned it inside the right-hand post.
The traffic was now one-way in the direction of the Swansea goal.
earlier uncertainty had vanished and they should have added a third
goal when Chris Smalling shot over the bar from only three yards out.
also wasted a glorious opportunity when he delayed his shot in the 76th
minute and Swansea were able to clear, but it hardly mattered.
threat from the Welsh club proved to be minimal and, ultimately, this
was a comfortable victory for United, who closed to within nine points
of leaders Chelsea, their next opponents.