Man Utd vs Cardiff Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups, Key Man & Predicted Score
Man Utd entertain Cardiff at Old Trafford looking to close the gap on the top-four. Here’s a preview including team news, likely line-ups and predicted score.
Manchester United entertain Cardiff City at Old Trafford tonight looking to close the gap on the top-four.
The pre-match build up has been dominated by the news of Juan Mata’s arrival following a record £37m move from Chelsea at the weekend and David Moyes will be hoping the Spaniard will be able to give his team a much-needed boost during the second half of the season.
United currently sit seventh in the Premier League table, a full 14 points off leaders Arsenal and 6 off fourth-placed Liverpool, so Moyes will be looking to cut the deficit tonight.
The champions had the weekend off as they are already out of the FA Cup and were dumped out of the Capital One Cup semi final last week after a dramatic shoot-out with Sunderland.
The other big news is the return of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to Old Trafford. The Norwegian hitman made 366 appearances for United but will now be looking to get one over his former employers after replacing Malkay Mackay as manager at Cardiff City.
He will have his work cut out though as the Welsh side currently sit bottom of the table and haven’t won away at United in nearly 60 years, although they did manage to salvage a last minute 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.
Moyes is expected to hand Juan Mata his debut tonight with the 25-year-old expected to be deployed in attack along with the fit again Wayne Rooney who returned to training following a month out with a groin injury.
Robin van Persie is also back in training but isn’t expected to start after over seven weeks on the sidelines with a thigh problem, but the Dutchman could be among the subs.
Nemanaja Vidic continues to serve his three-match ban so Phil Jones could partner Jonny Evans at the back, while Marouane Fellaini is in-line to return after recovering from a wrist injury.
Cardiff have no fresh injury worries to contend with. Andrew Taylor and Matthew Connolly remain out with ankle injuries and Don Cowie has a calf problem, but several players will return to the starting line-up having been rested for the FA Cup win on Saturday.
Fabio and Kenwyne Jones are close to concluding their moves to Cardiff but won’t feature tonight.
Juan Mata: The Spaniard is going to be eager to impress on his debut and I wouldn’t put it past him to put in a MOTM display. His quality was suppressed under Jose Mourinho but hopefully he’ll be able to play with more freedom under Moyes at United.
Man Utd 3-0 Cardiff: The return of Rooney, Van Persie and Fellaini along with the purchase of Mata should reinvigorate United and we can see them easing to three points tonight.
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