The front six, however, remained unchanged from the Reds’ win against Sunderland eight days earlier. Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley anchored the midfield, while Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young provided the width. In front of them, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie led the line.
The match eased rather than exploded into life, as both sides appeared content to merely feel each other out in the opening stages. Swansea were first to exert their influence, though, as Michu and Wayne Routledge both found space in which to pull the trigger.
That seemed to wake the Reds up and within the space of five minutes Rooney and Young had drawn smart saves from Swans stopper Michel Vorm.
The second of those, a reflex stop down to Vorm’s left after Carrick’s pass had split the Swansea defence and allowed Young to fire in a first-time shot, gifted United the corner from which the game’s opening goal arrived on 16 minutes.
Van Persie’s in-swinger came with plenty of pace and Patrice Evra rose to glance the ball towards the far post where it somehow squeezed between the woodwork and Swans midfielder Leon Britton.
It was the Frenchman’s third goal of the season and United’s 10th from a corner. And for a few minutes it looked as if Evra’s strike could be the first of many, as Sir Alex’s men poured