United remain in close pursuit of neighbours Manchester City after registering a first-ever win at Swansea City.
This was the first competitive meeting between the two clubs in 28 years with the Reds never having beaten the Welsh side on their own patch in eight previous attempts. Brendan Rodgers’ side were intent on maintaining that record and indeed this season’s unbeaten run at the Liberty Stadium, but Javier Hernandez’s 11th-minute strike proved decisive as Sir Alex’s men, who were professional in their play, rather than prolific, overcame a spirited display from the Swans.
With Manchester City eight points clear at the top of the table at kick-off, Sir Alex knew victory was imperative and he sent out a strong team with that very much in mind. There were three changes to the side that beat Sunderland with David De Gea returning in goal, Michael Carrick starting his first league game of the season and Ryan Giggs back in action in his native Wales and featuring in his first match for five weeks after a spell in the treatment room. And it was the Welshman who ensured the Reds got off to the perfect start on 11 minutes.
Angel Rangel dithered on the ball at the back and his attempted pass was easily cut out by Giggs. The midfielder powered into the area before sliding a low cross into the path of Javier Hernandez who side-footed home from close range to keep up his impressive run of goals away from home.
Swansea, who had come out of the blocks with real intent, remained buoyant despite the early blow and went close to restoring parity on 22 minutes; indeed, Scott Sinclair will still be wondering how he didn’t get his name on the scoresheet. Just after Patrice Evra had seen a low drive well held by Michel Vorm, the Swans' lone front man Danny Graham shrugged off a challenge