Two games left and level on points with City, United’s attempts to retain their Premier League trophy could well be scuppered by goal difference now. Currently eight goals behind their rivals, it’s perhaps a tall order to haul in such a superior margin but with Swansea rolling up to Old Trafford this Sunday, it’s a fair assumption that Sir Alex Ferguson’s side will go on the attack in their final home game of the campaign.
Even if City drop points at Newcastle earlier in the day, United are unlikely to play it cagey. A final day trip to Sunderland is hardly the easiest of tasks – the Black Cats have tasted defeat just once at the Stadium of Light since Martin O’Neill’s arrival and have returned three clean sheets in the last five in front of their home fans. Three points, and plenty of goals, will be a must for Ferguson this weekend.
Swansea’s recent away form will afford United plenty confidence. The Welsh side have conceded three goals in two of their last three on the road and, with Brendan Rodgers trialling a 3-4-3 last weekend, shipped four at home to relegated Wolves. The new system is likely to be ditched, with a 4-3-3 offering a little more solidity but, with the Red Devils desperate for inspiration after Monday night’s limp display at the Etihad, Nani could well be the spark United need.
A look at his recent form shows that, prior to Monday’s game, Nani had produced attacking returns in four of his last five matches. Scoring against Villa and Everton in his previous two, the 9.9 priced midfielder had also provided his Fantasy owners with four assists and four bonus points over those featured fixtures, despite coming off the bench in two of those appearances. Antonio Valencia, on the other hand, has a single assist in his last five, while Ashley Young has a pair of assists in his last five – both from highly debatable penalty decisions after theatrical dives against QPR and Villa. With both players appearing from the subs bench on Monday, Nani appears to have been promoted up the pecking order and his start looks the most secure.
The Portuguese winger was hardly helped by Monday’s change of formation. Shifted to the right, with Ryan Giggs handed a role on the left as United lined up in a 4-5-1, Nani returned no more than two Fantasy Premier League (FPL) points but Ferguson will surely revert to 4-4-2 on Sunday once again. With eight goals to his name already – compared to Valencia and Young’s combined tally of nine – last season’s top scoring FPL player will need to step up this weekend and, if goals are to be on the agenda, he’s more than likely to play a significant part.
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