Swansea vs Manchester United match report: Bafetimbi Gomis deflects in Jonjo Shelvey gives Swans memorable victory

Swansea 2 Manchester United 1

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The Independent Football

Louis van Gaal’s proclamation of Manchester United as the best side in the Premier League came back to haunt him as they were sunk by Swansea.

The Dutchman’s claim that the Red Devils were the best team in the land had been met with disbelief in some quarters and they did little to back up his confidence as a lack of craft and guile allowed Swansea to suffocate them.

Matters had looked far more promising when a lovely move finished with Ander Herrera putting them in front. But Ki Sung-yueng quickly equalised and Bafetimbi Gomis flicked in Jonjo Shelvey’s ferocious shot to give Swansea a first League double over the Red Devils.

Van Gaal saw plenty of reasons for the loss. He felt that United had suffered a lot of bad luck and questioned the legality of the Swansea winner. He also cited an inability during the closing stages to take off the injured Robin van Persie, who left the Liberty Stadium on crutches and with his foot in a support boot.

But the more pressing concern should be the inability of an expensively assembled side to unlock a determined Swansea rearguard, while too often sending aimless balls into the box.

Ander Herrera put Manchester United ahead

“We were creating a chance every two minutes in the second half and then they score from a shot that deviated, and the player was maybe also in an offside position. So it was not a goal,” Van Gaal said. “It was amazing we lost, so you are not happy and not lucky. We dominated even with 10 men because Robin van Persie could not run any more after an injury. It is always frustrating when you lose and dominate a game. Your disappointment is much bigger because of that.”

United were sluggish from the off and could have fallen 2-0 behind inside 11 minutes had Herrera not cleared a Gomis header off the line, and the Frenchman not sent another effort skyward. But the visitors grew into the game and their goal was a display of the merits of a more considered attacking approach. Luke Shaw raced beyond Kyle Naughton down the left and allowed Wayne Rooney and Angel Di Maria to tee up Herrera for his third goal in his last three United starts. The Spaniard now has five goals in nine starts and his performance here suggested that Van Gaal needs to make him an integral part of his plans.

Shaw, having done so well for the goal, then played a hand in the almost immediate Swansea equaliser. He was too late to spot Ki’s angled run and could not recover as the South Korean steered the ball into the bottom corner.

The former Southampton man was nearly punished in the same manner just after the break, but David De Gea spared his blushes, although he was soon hauled off.

With Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young at full-back United exerted a prolonged spell of pressure, but Federico Fernandez and Ashley Williams were confident in dealing with the flurry of deliveries into their 18‑yard area, with the goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski similarly solid. Then came the winner and De Gea could do little as the flick by Gomis flick left him unable to keep out Shelvey’s strike.

“It’s Bafe’s goal, Jonjo has given it to him,” Gary Monk, Swansea’s manager, said. “I thought Jonjo might have fought harder to keep it. Bafe should have had a goal earlier for his performance. He deserved it.”

Asked if he agreed with Van Gaal’s assessment that his side had been lucky, he grinned. “I would rather be lucky than good,” he said, echoing Napoleon’s preference for his generals. “Yes we had to ride some pressure, but you expect that with the players they have. But they only had one shot in the first half and scored a very good goal, but we responded as you would want to. “We had chances cleared off the line, we more than competed and we dealt with the pressure.”

Swansea (4-4-1-1): Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor; Cork, Ki, Shelvey (Amat, 90), Sigurdsson (Montero, 74); Routledge; Gomis.

Manchester United (4-4-2): De Gea; McNair (Valencia, h-t), Jones, Rojo, Shaw (Young, 58); Blind, Fellaini, Herrera, Di Maria (Mata, 79); Rooney, Van Persie.

Referee: N Swarbrick (Lancashire)

Man of the match: Jack Cork (Swansea)

Match rating: 7/10