Paul Scholes marks final game at Old Trafford with opening goal against Swansea

Man Utd 2 Swansea 0

First-half goals from Paul Scholes and Ashley Young gave Manchester United a very hollow victory over Swansea at Old Trafford.

The result ensures the Barclays Premier League champions will take the defence of their trophy into the final day.

However, it will now require a relegation-threatened QPR outfit managed by Red Devils old boy Mark Hughes to avoid defeat at the Etihad Stadium next Sunday to prevent Manchester City claiming their first title since 1968.

Asked on TV prior to kick-off whether City now had one hand on the trophy after their 2-0 win at Newcastle, Sir Alex Ferguson ruefully replied "two, probably".

There was no doubt the events in Newcastle had an effect on the crowd, who were subdued in the extreme and failed to respond when goaded about their plight by gleeful Swansea counterparts, making their first Old Trafford visit since 1983 and already preparing for another trip next season.

It took United's players some time to shrug off their pain too and Nathan Dyer wasted a decent chance to put the visitors ahead.

However, once the Red Devils got going, there was a purpose to their play.

Had they enjoyed a bit of good fortune in front of goal, they might have made inroads into the 10-goal goal difference advantage City enjoyed at kick-off.

Wayne Rooney had a volley turned away by Michel Vorm, Javier Hernandez wasted two close-range opportunities and Chris Smalling sent an instinctive header wide as the hosts set up camp around the Swansea penalty area.

As it was though, by half-time, all they had managed to do was cut out the goals Yaya Toure scored at the Sports Direct Arena.

Scholes claimed the opener, flicking home a Michael Carrick shot that was bound for the opposite corner.

It was the 37-year-old's fourth Premier League goal since he came out of retirement in January, his highest haul for five years.

Young got the second, latching onto the loose ball after Rooney's shot had been blocked.

With Antonio Valencia causing problems on the other wing, it merely raised obvious questions over Ferguson's team selection at the Etihad Stadium on Monday, when defeat handed over the leadership and - in all probability - the championship.

Not that Ferguson will ever be deflected from the view that United tossed away their chances in that barmy couple of minutes against Everton on their last appearance at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, when a 4-2 lead became a 4-4 draw.

That Young chased into the goal to grab the ball after his goal suggested there was some purpose about United and they were quickly into their stride after the break.

Rooney's attempt to roll a pass across goal to give Young a tap-in was intercepted by Dyer.

Hernandez was inches away from heading home before Valencia smashed a shot goalwards, forcing Vorm into another save.

Yet the loose defending that has been evident far too often this season was also apparent.

Allen was given far too much room to shoot on the edge of the area and when his shot was deflected by Danny Graham, it took an impressive manoeuvre from David de Gea to keep it out.

Dyer then curled a shot over when he should have at least kept his effort on target, and Swansea came close again when De Gea turned away Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick.

The introduction of Tom Cleverley for Scholes midway through the second period should have provided United with some additional energy, although it took a while for it to become evident.

In that time, an agitated Rooney picked up his first Premier League booking for a foul on Luke Moore.

It was another of those days when United's star striker was not in the best of moods, and chipping wide after being sent clear by Carrick did not improve matters.

Ferguson had already decided Rooney's performance was going to be cut short anyway, for what is likely to be Dimitar Berbatov's last appearance in a United shirt.

At £30.75million, the Bulgarian represents United's last big-money purchase.

But if, as even their staunchest fans now think, the championship heads across town next weekend, they will expect the Glazer family to loosen the purse-strings once more this summer.

And a generally disappointing day ended on a low note for Rio Ferdinand, who came off near the end after suffering what appeared to be a hip injury that could have implications for his hopes of featuring at Euro 2012.

PA

News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballLive! Sanchez makes up for penalty miss to put Arsenal ahead
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all