Man Utd 2-1 Swansea: Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial net in win
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 02/01/16 11:06pm
Manchester United ended their eight-match winless run with a 2-1 victory over Swansea at Old Trafford.
After a goalless first half, Anthony Martial put United ahead in the 47th minute when he clinically headed home from Ashley Young's cross.
It looked like being another frustrating afternoon for the hosts when Swansea equalised with 20 minutes to go through Gylfi Sigurdsson.
But Wayne Rooney restored the lead when he cleverly flicked in Martial's cross to end his two-month wait for a goal and become the second-highest scorer in both Premier League and Manchester United history.
Swansea went close to an equaliser with the last action of the match as goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski incredibly headed narrowly wide, but United held on for their first win since November 21, which relieves some of the pressure on manager Louis van Gaal.
The Dutchman made just the one change from the draw with Chelsea as Phil Jones came in for Matteo Darmian, while only four Swansea players kept their place from their stalemate with Crystal Palace.
Jonjo Shelvey, who started against Palace, did not make the squad amid speculation that he could leave in January.
The deadlock was almost broken inside the opening minute as Swansea made a mess of clearing their lines and Ander Herrera had a shot blocked from inside the box.
United dominated possession in the early stages but were unable to get the goal to lift a flat atmosphere.
Rooney shot into the side netting and then headed into the ground from Young's cross while Neil Taylor did well to block an effort from Juan Mata after a quickly-taken free-kick.
As United continued to labour, Swansea settled and had appeals for a penalty turned down when a cross hit Morgan Schneiderlin's boot and bounced up onto his hand.
Young looked United's best outlet on the right and he fashioned chances for Mata and Rooney that were both saved by Fabianski.
Jones was replaced by Darmian at the break and again United came out of the blocks quickly, this time getting the opening goal as Young crossed from the right, after excellent work from Bastian Schweinsteiger, for Martial to head home.
United continued to apply pressure but were almost pegged back as Sigurdsson clipped a ball over the defence and Andre Ayew headed against the post.
The introduction of Modou Barrow gave Swansea added pace down the flank and it was the substitute who crossed for Sigurdsson to cleverly head past David de Gea after 70 minutes.
Swansea had won the last three meetings against United by a 2-1 scoreline but the hosts soon restored their lead as Martial burst away down the left and Rooney turned in his low cross with a clever flick.
The goal was Rooney's 188th in the Premier League and means only Alan Shearer on 260 is ahead of him in the standings.
Swansea pushed for an equaliser in injury-time and came close as Ashley Williams had a shot pushed wide and then Fabianski headed just past the post with the last action.
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Paul Merson's Soccer Saturday verdict
"Manchester United did well in patches. It wasn't a 90-minute performance by any means.
"Ashley Young was the best player on the pitch, and he put a great ball in at the start of the second half to Martial. You were thinking United would go on then and win easily, but they didn't.
"They let Swansea back in the game and Sigurdsson scored a brilliant header, but what a goal from Wayne Rooney. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
"Then, the last kick of the game, the goalkeeper comes up for Swansea. It was like a Bob Latchford header, he rises up and it went inches past the post. Fabianski really got up like a centre-forward, it wasn't a glancing header, and another day that goes in, but it's a big win for United.
"Rooney played quite well and he was always involved. If United can get Rooney playing well they'll get in the top four. If they don't, they won't."
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Young (8), Jones (5), Smalling (6), Blind (5), Schneiderlin (5), Schweinsteiger (6), Mata (6), Herrera (6), Martial (8), Rooney (7).
Subs: Darmian (5), McNair (5).
Swansea: Fabianski (7), Rangel (5), Fernandez (6), Williams (6), Taylor (6), Britton (5), Ki Sung-Yueng (5), Cork (6), Sigurdsson (7), Routledge (6), Ayew (5).
Subs: Montero (5), Barrow (7), Gomis (5).
Man of the match: Ashley Young.