United Bounce Back
by Football News
Jan 12, 2014 3:56 AM EST
Manchester United gained revenge over Swansea City for their FA Cup exit as they beat them 2-0 in the Premier League at Old Trafford.
Swansea had piled more pressure on United boss David Moyes with a 2-1 third-round cup victory at the same ground last weekend, but they were unable to repeat that feat on Saturday.
The champions were not at their best in the first half, but Antonio Valencia opened the scoring just after half-time with his first goal at Old Trafford in the league since December 2011 and Danny Welbeck scored his sixth in as many league games as Moyes’ men secured their first win of the year.
Former Everton manager Moyes had come in for plenty of criticism after they also lost to Sunderland in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final on Tuesday to make it three consecutive defeats.
But his side responded well to a miserable week and are now four points behind fourth-placed Everton, while Swansea are down in 13th place and just three points above the relegation zone after failing to win in five top-flight games.
Chris Smalling replaced Jonny Evans (knock) in United's starting line-up following the defeat at Sunderland, while Darren Fletcher and Shinji Kagawa were preferred to Ryan Giggs and Tom Cleverley.
Captain Ashley Williams returned to the Swansea side as Michael Laudrup made four changes to the side that won at Old Trafford last weekend.
United made a positive start and Nemanja Vidic fired over the crossbar from close range six minutes in after Swansea had failed to deal with Adnan Januzaj's dangerous free-kick.
Teenager Januzaj went close to an opening goal four minutes later when his measured, left-footed free-kick rattled the crossbar and Swansea suffered a blow six minutes later, as Jose Canas limped off to be replaced by Chico Flores.
Patrice Evra called Gerhard Tremmel into action after 27 minutes, but the defender's shot was comfortably dealt with by the Swansea goalkeeper.
The visitors were enjoying plenty of possession, but Welbeck should have put United in front 10 minutes before half-time when he fired wide of the far post from eight yards out after marauding right-back Rafael had picked him out.
The tricky Brazilian then produced some neat footwork before swinging in a cross that Kagawa headed back across goal and Tremmel could only palm the ball into the path of Valencia, who was left with a simple finish from close range to ease the tension at Old Trafford.
Kagawa surged forward and fired over the crossbar after a slick break involving the impressive Januzaj and Welbeck as United raised the tempo.
And they doubled their lead after 58 minutes, Januzaj involved once again as his cross was headed away and Welbeck was on hand to cutely guide the ball into the net after Evra had knocked the ball back into the area.
Smalling should have added a third goal after 65 minutes, but the defender inexplicably fired over the bar from point-blank range when it looked easier to score after he was picked out by Kagawa.
Kagawa then wasted a golden opportunity of his own when he was played in by Rafael, but his casual finish was cleared off the line.