To be played on Tuesday 28th January 2014 at 19:45. Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester.
Last season: N/A
Preview & injury news
Every game seems massive for David Moyes at the moment as he looks to get back to winning ways this week when his side hosts bottom of the table Cardiff City, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returning to his old stomping ground. United currently sit in seventh place, six points off the Champions League places after their loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last time out, and they go into this on the back of a penalty shootout defeat to Sunderland in the League Cup. However, there are some positives for the club this week as the rebuilding work of the side is now underway after securing the signature of Juan Mata from Chelsea for a club record fee - who is likely to play a part.
Unlike United, Cardiff have been in FA Cup action at the weekend, overcoming Bolton to book their place in the fifth round but in such a tight relegation battle they will be wanting to pick up points whenever they can, and given the unease in terms of results surrounding Old Trafford, they may fancy their chances of coming away from the game with something, but the form book doesn't suggest much promise having only picked up one point from their last six games, even though Solskjaer is only just getting to the grips with the job and only been in charge for two of those games.
On the injury front, there are still some high profile concerns for the reigning Champions, the latest being Michael Carrick who hobbled off in the League Cup semi-final against Sunderland with an ankle injury and is likely to miss out as a result. There are still question marks over the fitness of Wayne Rooney who could return from a groin injury - whilst Rio Ferdinand and Marouane Fellaini are pretty close to returning. Nani and Robin Van Persie are still set to miss out with hamstring and thigh injuries respectively.
For Cardiff their only real injury worry is over Andrew Taylor who is ruled out with an ankle injury, but other than that, Ole Gunnar Solskjear should have healthy squad to choose from.
Here are the two sides top scorers in the Premier League this season:
|Wayne Rooney||Man Utd||FW||9||17||1,459|
|Danny Welbeck||Man Utd||FW||8||16||1,096|
|Robin van Persie||Man Utd||FW||7||11||912|
Their average possession statistics:
And the amount of clean sheets they have kept this season:
5 players to watch
Juan Mata - His signing has caused some excitement for Manchester United fans and it will be interesting to see just how David Moyes uses him in the side. It would not be surprising if he provided a great amount of attacking threat against Cardiff. Expect a goal or an assist from United's new record signing on his debut.
Fraizer Campbell - Campbell has been in relatively good form under Solskjaear having scored three goals since the former Manchester United striker took over from Malky Mackay in the Cardiff dugout. Campbell also returns to his former club having scored against them earlier on this season. Can he haunt them again?
Darren Fletcher - With Michael Carrick out of the side, even more responsibility is going to be placed on the shoulders of Fletcher at the heart of the United midfield. Though Cardiff are bottom of the pile, they do possess a pretty creative midfield and the Scotland international will need to stamp his authority on the game to keep the opposition quiet.
Jordan Mutch - A tricky customers to deal with in midfield. He's quite strong, can pick a good pass and has a goal threat, so the home side will want to keep him quiet.
Adnan Januzaj - Despite him still being a teenager, he has been talked of as United's go to man this season, so it will be interesting to see how Januzaj's performance is affected if at all, and whether he takes up a different role within the side given Mata's arrival.
Earlier on in the season
Cardiff City 2-2 Manchester United, November 2013
Twice United took the lead at the Cardiff City stadium and twice they were pegged back by the home side. Wayne Rooney gave the visitors an early lead after his shot was deflected home after 15 minutes. Cardiff grew into the game and equalised just after the half hour mark when Fraizer Campbell cooly finished after latching on to Jordan Mutch's through ball. United restored their lead on the stroke of half time when Patrice Evra headed home Wayne Rooney's corner. It was a lead that would last until stoppage time when Kim Bo-Kyung headed home Peter Whittingham's free-kick to give the home side a share of the spoils.