Manchester United v Swansea
Sunday 30th April, 12pm
Live on BT Sport 1
Sunday 30th April, 12pm
Live on BT Sport 1
As much as he has promised a return to 'the United way' at Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho still has a knack for creating incredibly dull games of football when it suits him. Thursday night's goalless draw with Manchester City was perhaps the perfect example.
With injuries ravaging his squad, and a gruelling fixture list thanks to Europa League commitments, 0-0 was a perfectly decent result for Mourinho and his men.
A point leaves United still well in the hunt for a Champions League spot via the conventional method of finishing fourth, no matter how much the Portuguese manager talks up qualifying via silverware in Europe's secondary competition.
United have some very tough remaining fixtures - Arsenal, Tottenham, Southampton, Crystal Palace - so you would expect them to be well switched on for this one even with the Europa League tie against Celta coming up.
Injuries to Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones do not help, however.
Unlike Middlesbrough, Swansea did not pull the trigger too late this season. Instead they pulled it early but refilled their gun with a faulty cartridge.
If the Swans do go down, they can lay much of the blame on their disastrous decision to hire Bob Bradley back in October before sacking him just 85 days later. That run of seven defeats and 29 goals conceded in 11 games went a long way to sealing their fate.
The board eventually made what has turned out to be a shrewd looking decision in hiring Paul Clement. The Englishman has picked up 19 points from his 15 games in charge of Swansea. If that record was extrapolated over the course of their 34 Premier League games this season, the Swans would be on 43 points. Not only would they be clear of relegation, they'd be duking it out with West Brom for a top eight finish.
As things stand, however, the Swans situation is precarious. They sit in 18th, two points adrift of Marco Silva's confident Hull side. After a six game winless run, their 2-0 win over Stoke last weekend, thanks in part to the visitors' Marko Arnautovic missing a penalty at 1-1, was crucial in keeping their hopes alive. The Welsh side are 1.59favourites to join Sunderland and Middlesbrough in the Championship next season.
Neil Swarbrick will take charge of Sunday's clash at Old Trafford. The Lancastrian has handed out 108 yellows and three reds in his 29 games this year (3.72 bookings per game). He handed United a late penalty that earned them a point against Everton earlier this month while sending off former Swansea defender Ashley Williams. The Swans have lost all four times he has refereed them this season, including the reverse of this fixture at the Liberty.
The bore draw at the Etihad on Thursday extended United's unbeaten run in the Premier League to 24 games. The Red Devils are 1.44 to keep that run going with a win and the draw is available at 4.80.
No side has drawn more games than United (13) this season with nine of those coming at Old Trafford. Only one side (Manchester City) have won there this term, however, and Swansea are a long shot at odds of 9.40 to cause an upset.
Any hopes of that are damaged by the fact Swansea have picked up just seven points from their 48 available on the road this season and have failed to score in each of their last three away from home (per Opta).
What seems more attractive here is to look at a home win with a clean sheet at odds of around 2.14. The hosts have conceded just 11 goals in their 17 games at Old Trafford this season, and have shut out the league's top two sides in Chelsea and Swansea.
If Harry Kane and Diego Costa cannot score against them, then it is hard to see Fernando Llorente doing so, no matter how good Gylfi Sigurdsson's delivery is.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
United's games have witnessed the fewest goals of all the sides in the top seven this season - and by quite some margin. Fans of the Red Devils have enjoyed just 74 goals (at 2.24 per game). The next lowest are Tottenham with 91 (at 2.75) while the highest - Liverpool - have seen 112 (at 3.29).
Mourinho's men have scored just seven times in their past six matches at Old Trafford and will be without their two top scorers - Ibrahimovic and Mata - this weekend.
While we would usually expect them to win against a lowly side with ease, those above stats make it slightly surprising that Over 2.5 Goals is favourite at 1.90 while Unders is 2.02.
For those who fancy a punt on the correct score, 1-0 at 6.80 or 2-0 at 7.20 may tempt.
Back Manchester United win to nil @ 2.14
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