Swansea match preview
This creates a conundrum for a team like Swansea; would they be better off risking a game against a team of a similar skill level in a match they can win, or would they prefer to play a team like Manchester United in which they will almost certainly lose just so they do not miss out on potential points?
Well, fortunately for the Swans, they don’t get the choice of who they will play.
Can Swansea return with a win?
With so few games left this season there is no time for any team in the league to ease themselves back into the action. Swansea are currently just three points clear of the relegation zone as they look to save themselves for yet another season.
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The influence of Carlos Carvalhal has been something that has turned around the fortunes of the Welsh club on a level that so few saw coming.
Unlike replacements such as Alan Pardew and Paul Lambert who both failed to inspire a rejuvenation, the new man at the top for the Swans is overseeing some real change.
While he has been able to oversee an incredible turn around, his toughest test lies in wait. The last eight games of the season hold 24 points, more than enough for any team in the league to rise out of the relegation zone - or consign Swansea to the Championship.
It has never been more important for Swansea to hit the ground running following the international break and, while their match against United is not one they are likely to win, they still need to ensure that they play well despite the odds against them.
Will the talk derail Alfie Mawson?
An international break always ensures a number of things: a boring round of friendlies, over-expectation on England and random transfer talk. One man that has been linked with a move away from Swansea is Alfie Mawson and, as much as I would like to rubbish the rumours, it would not be surprising to see his performances attract interest from potential suitors.
The defender has been instrumental for the Swans as they have found a way to stem the flow of goals, while he has chipped in with his own strikes too.
READ MORE: Mawson admits first England call up was a 'shock'
Mawson’s ability to play the ball out from the back, plus his power and guile under the long ball have made him the main man at the back as the Swans look to stay up. Mawson’s efforts were rewarded with a call up to the England team, and this has seen heads turn.
Will he be a Swansea player this time next year? Honestly, it is impossible to say. The best thing the Swans can do to keep hold of him is ensure they can offer Premier League football next year, although this has not always been enough, with the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente perfect examples of this.
Changes aplenty from the FA Cup quarter-final. Lukasz Fabianski will surely return along with the likes of Federico Fernandez and Andre Ayew. While the Swans may be fearful of a bruising encounter, they must play their preferred line-up to ensure that the team is not left wanting in the weeks to come.
XI: Fabianski, Naughton, van der Hoorn, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, King, Ki, Clucas, A. Ayew, Abraham.
Alfie Mawson vs Romelu Lukaku - Manchester United have found things difficult of late and their big players have not been exempt from this. Alexis Sanchez in particular has been poor with his exploits at Arsenal a distant memory right now.
One man that has come through a lot of criticism for the better is Romelu Lukaku, and he is now scoring far more often.
The Belgian is not the finished product yet, but his strength and finishing ability make him a nightmare to deal with, and it is likely Mawson will get a real battle from United’s main striker.
Opposition danger man
Nemanja Matic - He may not make the headlines in the same way Lukaku and Sanchez do, but he is an incredible talent. His vision, intelligence, passing range and general presence in midfield gives United something they have been missing for some years in central-midfield. If he keeps things ticking then United are a different team. Eat your heart out Chelsea!
Betting tips and predictions
First goalscorer flutter
How about Carlos Carvahal to score a hat-trick? Yeah, that’s about as likely as Jose Mourinho admitting Paul Pogba was dropped because he has been so poor recently! My money would be on Lukaku to open the scoring with a trademark powerful run and drilled finish.
Get Lukaku to score first @ 14/5
Bet with your head
Get over 2.5 goals @ 4/5
Go with your gut
Get a 1-1 draw @ 12/1