Manchester United set a new club record of 25 matches unbeaten in a single top-flight season, but the Reds’ hunt for a top-four place faltered as Swansea City grabbed a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
A first-half penalty from Wayne Rooney was cancelled out by a sublime Gylfi Sigurdsson free-kick late in the game as United drew a 10th game at home and missed the chance to move into third place in the Premier League.
Boss Jose Mourinho, made four changes to the side that picked up a valuable point away to City in the Manchester derby. Most notably, Wayne Rooney returned as captain and Juan Mata was fit enough for a place on the substitutes’ bench alongside 20-year-old Academy product, Scott McTominay.
United paid tribute to the Nigerian football fans who lost their lives when an electric cable fell on them watching a United match on TV last week by wearing black armbands, while it was the visitors, who had the majority of the early possession, which was perhaps no surprise given the style of attractive football Paul Clement’s men play.
The Reds were dealt an early blow as Luke Shaw hobbled down the tunnel and was replaced by Antonio Valencia, who had been expected to have a well-earned rest today. Mourinho could have done without that given the Reds were playing their third game in seven days and 57th overall this season.
United, had failed to get out of first gear with the visitors beginning to look dangerous. An Eric Bailly clearance rebounded off Sigurdsson, but luckily for the Reds, the ball hit the side netting.
Fernando Llorente then had a chance to score as he out-muscled Bailly, but David De Gea palmed away, while United’s first clear-cut opportunity fell to Jesse Lingard on 17 minutes, as an inch-perfect ball over the top by Anthony Martial fell to the Englishman, but his delicate touch was saved by the feet of Lukasz Fabianski.
Martial then cut inside on his right foot and curled his effort straight at Fabianski as the Reds finally began to find their stride before, at the other end, Jordan Ayew beat the offside trap and fired at De Gea’s legs from a narrow angle.