Swansea hold Man Utd to a draw

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Updated: December 24, 2012

Before this game, the United boss was quizzed about Swansea’s Spanish striker Michu, who has taken the Premier League by storm.

Fergie confessed he had never heard of the 26-year-old until he started scoring for the Swans.

He even joked about asking his scouting staff why the player was not even on his radar.

Well, he might need to make those words a little stronger after the £2million signing from Rayo Vallecano scored an equaliser to puncture United’s unbeaten run.

The Red Devils were looking for their sixth win of the month to restore their six-point gap over Manchester City in the table.

And Patrice Evra’s 16th-minute goal seemed to have put them on their way until Michu pounced for his 13th league goal of the season.

That strike means he tops the league scoring charts on his own — not bad for someone who Ferguson failed to spot. In fairness, Fergie does have an embarrassing array of attacking options and his strike partnership of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney has netted 23 goals between them this term.

Swansea themselves had been going along nicely too.

Under Michael Laudrup, they have pulled off a shock victory over Arsenal and have a League Cup semi-final against Chelsea to look forward to in the New Year.

Michu’s goals have certainly helped and they mean he is now a target for rival Premier League clubs in the transfer window. He again shouldered the goalscoring responsibilities and looked very dangerous, going close with a shot that flashed over the bar in the ninth minute.

He then caught out a rusty Nemanja Vidic, who was making his first start since September, when he went skidding across the saturated turf allowing the striker a shot at goal.

Yet, perhaps inevitably given their excellent form, United punctured Swansea’s early hopes when Evra gave them the lead.

The full-back had too much muscle for Ben Davies, who was dumped on his backside, as Evra connected with Van Persie’s corner to head past keeper Michel Vorm.

The timing of the goal was the same as Steven Whittaker’s for Norwich here just a few weeks ago and by half-time of that match, Swansea were 3-0 down. A repeat against a rampant United looked on the cards.

But Laudrup has installed some steely determination in his players and for the rest of the first half they took the game to United.

The Red Devils were given a real let-off in the 18th minute when referee Michael Oliver stopped play for a minor scuffle between Michu and Jonny Evans when Jonathan de Guzman was through on goal.

Michu then headed wide once more as the home side grew in confidence.

But they got their reward in the 29th minute when Michu poked home the equaliser from close range. It capped an excellent move as Swansea split open the United defence in a way which could have caused Sir Hairdryer to explode in rage.

Kemy Agustien played in Wayne Routledge, who flicked the ball to de Guzman.

The Dutchman’s shot was parried by United keeper David de Gea and into the path of Michu, who swept home.

The home side’s pressure prompted an agitated Fergie to leave his seat on the bench and prowl his touchline area, barking out instructions — and criticism in the direction of referee Oliver.

Rooney should have eased the United gaffer’s woes on the stroke of half-time but he scuffed his shot from 12 yards and Vorm made a good save.

It did not get any easier for the 70-year-old after the restart.

Any form of trickery that United conjured up was met with a solid tackle from the very impressive Swansea defensive partnership of Chico Flores and Ashley Williams.

Up front Michu was continuing to put Vidic through a thorough workout, while de Gea needed to be alert to stop Agustien’s shot from 25 yards.

Not even Ferguson’s method of ‘In an emergency, call Javier Hernandez’ seemed to work either, as the substitute could not breach the Swans back four.

Van Persie did come close with a speculative chip that clipped the top of the bar but United’s frustration began to show.

First, Rooney was booked for a crude late tackle on Dwight Tiendalli. Then Fergie ranted and waved his arms in anger at the England striker following another missed chance.

And then furious Van Persie went head-to-head with Williams after the defender blasted the ball at the back of his head after he was fouled on the edge of the box by Nathan Dyer.

The confrontation earned both players a yellow card while the resulting free-kick was blocked by Williams after being taken by Rooney.

It proved to be the forward’s final contribution as he was replaced by Ryan Giggs. Fellow veteran Paul Scholes was also brought on in an attempt to tip the game in United’s favour.

It didn’t work as Van Persie and Ashley Young had shots blocked, while Giggs’ speculative effort from long range was way off target.

DREAM TEAM

STAR MAN — WILLIAMS (SWANSEA)

SWANSEA: Vorm 6, Tiendalli 6, Chico 7, Williams 8, Davies 6, Dyer 6, Britton 6 (Ki 6), Agustien 7 (Shechter 5), De Guzman 6 (Moore 6), Routledge 7, Michu 7. Subs not used: Tremmel, Graham, Monk, Richards. Booked: Chico, Williams.

MAN

UTD: De Gea 7, Jones 6, Evans 6, Vidic 6, Evra 7, Valencia 6 (Hernandez 6), Carrick 7, Cleverley 6 (Scholes 6), Young 6, Rooney 5 (Giggs 6), Van Persie 7. Subs not used: Lindegaard, Welbeck, Fletcher, Buttner. Booked: Jones, Rooney, van Persie, Scholes.

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