Manchester United 2-0 Swansea: Romelu Lukaku scores 100th Premier League goal
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 31/03/18 11:29pm
Romelu Lukaku scored his 100th Premier League goal as Manchester United returned to second place in the table with a 2-0 win over Swansea on Saturday.
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It was largely a comfortable afternoon for United at Old Trafford as Lukaku's fifth-minute opener and Alexis Sanchez's clinical finish in the 20th minute set them up for victory.
It took Swansea until the hour mark to offer any sort of threat, but substitute Tammy Abraham was denied twice in the space of a minute by David de Gea - the first save a brilliant one-handed stop from close range.
Man Utd: De Gea (7), Young (7), Lindelof (7), Smalling (6), Valencia (6), Matic (7), Mata (6), Pogba (6), Lingard (7), Sanchez (8), Lukaku (7)
Subs: Herrera (5), Rashford (5), McTominay (5)
Swansea: Fabianski (6), Van Der Hoorn (5), Mawson (5), Fernandez (5), Olsson (5), Naughton (5), Clucas (4), King (5), Ki (4), Dyer (4), A Ayew (5)
Subs: Abraham (6), Carroll (6), Routledge (5)
Man of the match: Alexis Sanchez
The win sees United move two points above Liverpool, who beat Crystal Palace earlier in the day.
Swansea stay three points clear of the relegation zone after a performance that must go down as one of their worst under Carlos Carvalhal.
United's own performances have been under scrutiny for much of the season but there was little for the home fans to complain about in a dominant first-half display.
The deadlock was broken after just five minutes when Lukaku's shot deflected in off Alfie Mawson.
The goal was Lukaku's 100th in the Premier League and he was only denied his 101st by a sharp low save from Lukasz Fabianski.
Sanchez did make it 2-0 in the 20th minute when he clinically fired home from the edge of the box after a through ball from Jesse Lingard.
Swansea offered nothing in response before half-time and were fortunate not to fall further behind as Sanchez headed over in the 55th minute and then Juan Mata lashed a volley over the bar from close range.
A change in formation, and the introduction of Tom Carroll, eventually helped the Swans to get a foothold in the game, but De Gea prevented them clawing a goal back.
First he made a brilliant one-handed save to keep out Abraham's powerful shot and then he turned an effort from the striker around the post.
Swansea continued to look more positive but failed to create further clear chances and saw Fabianski save well from Lukaku.
United made five changes from their last match as De Gea, Pogba, Young, Sanchez and Lindelof came in for Romero, Martial, Bailly, Shaw and McTominay.
Fabianski, Fernandez, King and Andre Ayew started for Swansea in place of Bartley, Carroll and Abraham.
- Romelu Lukaku became the 28th different player, first Belgian and fifth youngest player to score 100 Premier League goals.
- Swansea have won just one of their last 14 Premier League away games (D4 L9).
- The Swans had as many shots on target in this game (2) as they'd managed in their three previous Premier League away games combined.
- Alexis Sanchez had a hand in more Premier League goals in the opening 20 minutes of this match (1 goal, 1 assist) than he had in his previous six appearances for Manchester United combined (1 goal).
- The Chilean has now both scored and assisted in 11 different Premier League games - only Romelu Lukaku and Roberto Firmino (12 each) have done so in more matches since his debut.
- Jose Mourinho is unbeaten in all 10 of his previous meetings with Swansea in all competitions, beating five different managers in that time (W8 D2).
England World Cup watch
After impressing for England in recent internationals, both Young and Lingard were in good form again. At this rate the Manchester United duo should be pushing for starting roles at the World Cup. Luke Shaw, meanwhile, was left on the bench.
Tammy Abraham is an outsider to make the squad but he was influential after coming on at half-time. The striker was twice denied by De Gea and held the ball up well to get Swansea further up the pitch.
Man of the match - Alexis Sanchez
Sanchez was particularly lively in a one-sided first half when he was involved in a lot of Manchester United's best moves. He set up for Lukaku for the opener before finishing well for the second.
Might have added another after half-time when he headed over the bar, but overall it was a positive display that ended with a warm ovation when he was replaced in the second half.
Jose Mourinho: "In the first half we did everything right, we defended very well, brought the line up, kept Swansea miles away from our goal, scored, had more chances, we played beautiful. The first half was perfect, they improved in the second half but we let it go."
Carlos Carvalhal: "I have good expectations especially with our second half [performance]. I have good expectations for the future because we will play like that more and if we play like that I believe we will stay in the Premier League. I am not happy with the result but really happy with the second half."
Pundit reaction - Matt Le Tissier
"The first half was almost too easy for Manchester United. They got themselves in front early, they dominated for the first 30 minutes and it was a walk in the park.
"The changes at half-time helped Swansea, they went a bit more positive and Tammy Abraham had two very good chances and David De Gea pulled off two good saves, bearing in mind he had nothing to do in the first half.
"That is how you become a top quality goalkeeper, you do nothing for that period of time and are then suddenly forced to make a really top-drawer save with his right hand and then with his left a minute later."
Manchester United will be looking to prevent Manchester City winning the title next Saturday when they meet at the Etihad Stadium, live on Sky Sports. Swansea, meanwhile, travel to West Ham on Saturday.