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Manchester United ended a run of three consecutive defeats and gained revenge over Swansea City for their FA Cup exit as they beat them 2-0 in the Barclays Premier League at Old Trafford.
Swansea had beaten Man United 2-1 in the FA Cup third round cup at the same ground last weekend, but they were unable to repeat that feat. The champions were not at their most fluent during the first half, but Antonio Valencia opened the scoring just after half-time with his first goal at Old Trafford in the league since December 2011 and Danny Welbeck scored his sixth in as many league matches as Moyes’ men secured their first win of the year.
The victory put United four points behind fourth-placed Everton, while Swansea are down in 13th and just three points above the relegation zone after failing to win in their past five top-flight matches.
Chris Smalling replaced Jonny Evans (knock) in United's starting line-up after the Capital One Cup defeat midweek at Sunderland, while Darren Fletcher and Shinji Kagawa were preferred to Ryan Giggs and Tom Cleverley. Captain Ashley Williams returned to the Swansea side as Michael Laudrup made four changes to the side that won at Old Trafford last weekend.
United made a positive start and Nemanja Vidic fired over the crossbar from close range six minutes in after Swansea had failed to deal with Adnan Januzaj's dangerous free-kick. Januzaj went close to an opening goal four minutes later when his measured, left-footed free-kick rattled the crossbar and Swansea suffered a blow six minutes later, as Jose Canas limped off to be replaced by Chico Flores.
Patrice Evra called Gerhard Tremmel into action after 27 minutes, but the defender's shot was comfortably dealt with by the Swansea goalkeeper. The visitors were enjoying plenty of possession, but Welbeck could have put United in front 10 minutes before half-time when he fired wide of the far post from eight yards out after right-back Rafael Da Silva, on a marauding run, had picked him out.
It took United only a minute after the interval to break the deadlock. Rafael produced some neat footwork before swinging in a cross that Kagawa headed at goal. Tremmel could only palm the ball into the path of Valencia, who finished from close range to ease the tension at Old Trafford.
Kagawa surged forward and fired over the crossbar after a slick break involving the impressive Januzaj and Welbeck as United raised the tempo and the home side doubled their lead after 59 minutes.
Januzaj was involved again as his cross was headed away and Welbeck was on hand to guide the ball into the net after Evra had knocked the ball back into the area. Smalling could have added a third goal after 65 minutes, but the defender fired over the bar from close range after he had been picked out by Kagawa.
Kagawa passed up a golden opportunity to make it 3-0 when he was played in by Rafael, but his soft finish was cleared off the line.
Manchester United manager David Moyes: "I thought from the start of the second half we played very well and deservedly scored two goals and maybe could have scored more. I'd like to think it's going to improve an awful lot, but you have to start somewhere and I thought today was more like it."
"We moved Adnan [Januzaj] behind the striker against Sunderland in midweek and he played very well. Adnan can play in all the positions around the front. I wanted to see if he'd give us any more creativity, any more chances and help us but at half-time I made my mind up I was going to swap him with Shinji [Kagawa].
"He's been like that since day one. I speak to him a lot and he tells me he can play anywhere. He would have no problem. He's not a nervous boy; he needs teaching and understanding because he's still learning the game but his natural talent and ability is up there with the best and I think in time he will prove to be that."
Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup: "I think we controlled very well the first half, we knew it was a Manchester United side playing after three consecutive losses that would be anxious and nervous and want to win the game.
"Then after just 90 seconds [of the second half] they score a goal and that gives them a lot of strength and belief and confidence. The second goal we could have done a bit better, but that first goal really hurt."
"[Jose Canas] was number nine we lost, but Jordi Amat went up from centre-back and played a great game. We have eight days until the next game, but hopefully we will recover some players for the game against Tottenham [Hotspur]."
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|22 Feb 2014||v Crystal Palace (A)|