MOST MANCHESTER United fans would have been delighted to have taken seven points from their opening three games at the start of the season.
However, Louis van Gaal’s side have started off much the way they did last term, lacking balance in their first XІ and struggling for goals.
Slow starts from Arsenal and Chelsea, plus three successive clean sheets, have helped deflect some of the attention away from United’s shortcomings, yet there will be nowhere to hide ahead of a difficult run of league fixtures against Swansea on Sunday, then Liverpool, Southampton and Arsenal.
Swashbuckling Swansea look to have built on their record-breaking campaign last term and followed up an impressive opening day 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge with an easy win over Newcastle. They brushed aside York City 3-0 in the League Cup on Tuesday night and look in fine shape ahead of what should prove to be an intriguing match.
The Swans completed a famous double over United last season – a third success from the last four meetings – and should be confident of taking at least a point from this game.
With United’s attack not firing in the league, they can at least take some consolation from their defensive showings. Chris Smalling has looked assured at the heart, while new signing Matteo Darmian finally looks to be an adequate replacement for Gary Neville at right back.
The Red Devils completed the job over Club Brugge on Wednesday in fine fashion to ensure a return to the Champions League group stages, following a year out, and increase the optimism around the club. Whether Wayne Rooney can build on his European hat-trick and notch a first league goal since early April remains to be seen, though.
I certainly couldn’t back Rooney and Co. at just 5/4 on the evidence of what we’ve seen so far. Swansea arguably look a little big at 9/4, considering their fine form and impressive record over the visitors.
But a low-scoring draw looks the most likely result. The stalemate can be backed at 9/4 and I’ll also be selling total goals at 2.3 with Sporting Index.