Cardiff – Manchester United (Premier League)
Cardiff plays host to Manchester United looking to cut the gap to the Premier League leaders. The last time the two sides met was 38 years ago, Ryan Giggs was then a toddler. The Wales capital will witness the face-off of two Scots leading teams in opposite ends of the table. Mackey’s job is to avoid relegation, Moyes is to win another tittle. Everyone is under expectations and pressure, that’s the beauty of the Premier League.
Malky Mackey’s men are two points above the relegation zone, 14th with 12 points in 11 games. For their first season in the Premier League is not bad but also not reassuring. We all know it takes an huge effort and adaptation to play here. But the Bluebirds have to continue the hard work. Hosting the Champions is not the ideal fixture to earn some points but they can certainly try the strategy that land them the a ground-shaking triumph over the other Manchester squad. United will be advised though. Since then they only won once and netted twice, in their four home games. The Bluebirds had only three goals in their last five games and Craig Bellamy is yet to score his first in this League edition.
Analysing the match Mackey said he would be glad to face Ryan Giggs, his favourite player of the last 15 years. He also said he cherished the opportunity to go against the best, to test himself and his team against the best. That is what the next seven days will bring them. United this Sunday and the leaders of the table next Saturday. In each opponent two very different but successful and experienced managers. Between the two lineups some of the best performers of the world. Enjoy, Malky Makey, but try not to drown in the meantime.
Strike Andreas Cornelius is back from an ankle injury that kept him out for 10 weeks. The injury list his clear, at the moment.
Probable lineup: Marshall – Téophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner, Taylor – Medel, Gunnarsson – Whittingham, Mutch, Bellamy – Campbell.
Wednesday Manchester United will travel to Leverkusen for another Champions League fixture. It’s time to decide who goes ahead but the Red Devil’s can’t afford to rest some of their key-players at Cardiff City. The three points would bring them to a place more becoming to their statues, amongst the top block that leads the Premier League table. Arsenal and Chelsea already did their job this weekend. City and the Spurs will face each other tomorrow. Everton and Liverpool split the gains. United is coming from behind and has much to do for the points they dropped in their first six fixtures. This is a good chance to cut the gap. Manchester United is 5th, with 20 points in 11 games. Previous to the international stop the Red Devils had back-to-back wins, starting with a 3-2 triumph over Stoke City at home, then a 1-3 to Fulham away and ending in a motivating 1-0 victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford. Going for the four win stretch will be United’s mindset on this visit to Wales.
Player-coach Ryan Giggs will return to his home-town for this match and with Michael Carrick and Phil Jones on the sidelines it’s likely he’ll start on Sunday. Another interesting aspect is that when Rooney and Van Persie both start the team only failed to score once. The Dutch has to keep up if we wants to stay in the run for top scorer of the Premier League. The SAS partnership had a notch each this Saturday. And Wayne Rooney has been the United’s steam-engine in this turn-around form moment. They need him to consistently continue to do so in the next fixtures.
Nemanya Vidic is doubtful due to the concussion he sustained against Arsenal, just before the League got interrupted. He reurned to training but the fitness issue remains. Welbeck, Carrick and Jones are definetely out. Van Persie was relieved from his international duties to work on his toe problem and must be ready for action. The same with Rafael.
Probable lineup: De Gea – Rafael da Silva, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra – Fellaini, Cleverly – Valência, Rooney, Kagawa – Van Persie.