By 90Min
December 20, 2018

The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era at Manchester United begins with an away clash against his former employers Cardiff in the Premier League on Saturday.

United will be hoping that their decision to sack Jose Mourinho and appoint their beloved former striker will spark a change in the club's fortunes, with the Red Devils currently trailing fourth placed Chelsea by 11 points.

SVEIN OVE EKORNESVAAG/GettyImages

Cardiff, on the other hand, have recently been able to claw themselves out of the clutches of the Premier League relegation zone - only just though - with the Bluebirds perched 2 points above the bottom three. 

The Welsh side will be hoping that their game against United may have come at the perfect time, with there being very little time for United's caretaker boss to implement changes to his side. There almost seems to be a parallel between the United match and when Southampton visited the Cardiff City Stadium, having only appointed Ralph Hasenhuttl two days before their game. Cardiff capitalised on the instability of their visitors to win 1-0.

Stu Forster/GettyImages

Most eyes will however be on the performance of the travelling side, with the expectant Untied fans wanting a much better display than last time out, when they were overwhelmed and outclassed by rivals Liverpool in a dour 3-1 defeat.

Here is 90min's preview of Saturday's Premier League clash.


How To Watch


When Is Kick Off? 22 December 2018
What Time Is Kick Off? 17:30 (BST)
Where Is It Played? Cardiff City Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport 1/BT Sport 4K UHD
Referee Michael Oliver

Team News


Cardiff's Danny Ward (knee) and Jazz Richards (hamstring) are both still expected to be missing from the first team, as they nurse injuries. Greg Cunningham, however, could be available for selection again after recovering from a knock he suffered in November.

For Manchester United, Paul Pogba is likely to be brought back into the Manchester United XI, after being left on the bench by former manager Jose Mourinho during their defeat to Liverpool. 

Another man who was also on the United bench last Sunday was Anthony Martial, and the Frenchman could also be in contention for a start on Saturday after his cameo appearance at Anfield.

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Scott McTominay is doubtful for the game, as is Chris Smalling; who injured himself during the warm up at Anfield last Sunday. The visitors will also be without Alexis Sanchez, with the Chilean ruled out until the new year, but Luke Shaw could return.


Predicted Lineups

Cardiff City Etheridge; Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Gunnarsson; Hoilett, Camarasa, Arter, Murphy; Paterson
Man Utd De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic, Pogba, Fellaini: Lingard, Martial, Lukaku

Head To Head Record


There have only been two recent meetings between the two sides, both of which were during Cardiff City's last spell in the Premier League in the 2013/14 campaign.

The Bluebirds managed to bag a 2-2 draw at home to United, with a stoppage time header from Kim-Bo Kyung pulling the Bluebirds level against the then-defending champions.

FBL-ENG-PR-CARDIFF-MAN UTD

Cardiff were not as successful on their trip to Manchester during the same campaign, losing 2-0 thanks to goals from Robin Van Persie and current United player Ashley Young. 

Cardiff finished rock bottom at the end of the season, securing their relegation back down to the Championship after just one solitary season in the top flight. Interestingly, the Bluebirds have not beaten Manchester United since 1960.


Recent Form

Cardiff's form in their last six games in the Premier League reads three wins and three defeats. More importantly for the Bluebirds however, all three victories have all come in home games and Neil Warnock's side would love to continue that run come Saturday.

The hosts will hope that United's change in manager will not have the desired effect, though Southampton's recent win over Arsenal demonstrates the impact that a change in regime can have.

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

United will be hoping for glory themselves, with the Red Devils currently on a rather uninspiring run of two wins from six games - with those victories coming against Swiss club Young Boys in the Champions League and bottom-club Fulham. 

Their record on the road is also a cause for concern, with only three away wins from nine fixtures.

Cardiff City Manchester United
Watford 3-2 Cardiff City (15/12) Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United (16/12)
Cardiff City 1-0 Southampton (08/12) Valencia 2-1 Manchester United (12/12)
West Ham United 3-1 Cardiff City (04/12) Manchester United 4-1 Fulham (08/12)
Cardiff City 2-1 Wolves (30/11) Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal (05/12)
Everton 1-0 Cardiff City (24/11) Southampton 2-2 Manchester United (01/12)

Prediction


It will be familiar surroundings for United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he managed the Bluebirds in 2014, however this will count for very little on Saturday evening.

It is tough to know how this United side can play without them being chained down by a defensive approach, and we also do not know how the Norwegian will set up for his first game in charge.

Sometimes changes take time, and given how impressive Cardiff have been lately at the Cardiff City Stadium, a share of the spoils for the home is not out of the question. Both teams are likely to score, but a real cutting edge could be lacking at both ends.

Prediction - Cardiff City 1-1 Manchester United

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