Thursday, April 25, 2019

Prediction: Cardiff vs Manchester United

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to get his Manchester United tenure off to a winning start, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will return to his old stomping ground at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Cardiff

Starting with the hosts, while many had Cardiff tipped to drop immediately back down to the Championship this season, it has been a far brighter start than most would have expected. Although they could not complete a three goal turnaround against Watford last weekend, Neil Warnock’s side now sit 16th in the table and currently holding a two-point buffer over the relegation zone. A huge part of the Bluebirds early season stability has undoubtably been their form in south Wales. Now winning their last three Premier League matches at the Cardiff City stadium, 13 of their 14 points picked up this season have come in front of their own supporters. If Cardiff are to keep their stellar home record in tact, then Warnock will be looking for leading goalscorer Callum Paterson to carry on what has been a very bright start to the season. The 24-year-old now has three goals in his last five Premier League home matches, including the winner in their 1-0 win over Southampton earlier in the month.

Team News

Cardiff left-back Joe Bennett has not trained this week because of a hip problem and is doubtful for this game.

A couple of unnamed players are also nursing “little niggles”, according to manager Neil Warnock.

Manchester United

As for the visitors, in a week that has seen Manchester United finally part ways with Jose Mourinho, the Red Devils have turned to club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to improve the atmosphere at Old Trafford. However, with United coming off the back of a 3-1 hammering away at Liverpool last weekend, the Norwegian coach has got a difficult six months ahead. Now sat way down in sixth and 11 points adrift of the top-four, the Reds are closer to the relegation zone that they’re the Champions League positions. Picking up just one win in their last six Premier League matches, Solskjaer must immediately turn their his attentions to the visitors woeful defensive record. United have already shipped 29 goals in their first 17 games, the fifth worst defensive record in the top-flight. More worrying for the former champions, they have now managed to record just one clean sheet in their last 13 league matches, a run that stems back to a 2-0 win over Burnley back on September 2nd.

Team News

Manchester United are set to be without Romelu Lukaku, who has reportedly been given compassionate leave.

Alexis Sanchez remains absent with a hamstring problem, while Chris Smalling, who was injured in the warm-up at Liverpool, is a doubt.

Key Factors to Consider

  • It is 58 years since Cardiff beat Manchester United, a 3-0 win in the top flight in November 1960.
  • The Red Devils have won five of the subsequent seven meetings.
  • Cardiff have won four of their past five Premier League home games, as many as they had in their previous 22 in the competition.
  • United have been defeated in their last three Premier League away games against promoted sides, as many losses as in their previous 36 matches against top-flight newcomers (W27, D6).
  • Saturday’s visitors have now recorded just one clean sheet in their last 13 Premier League matches.

Conclusion

Although the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should give Manchester United an immediate boost, Saturday’s visitors should face a stern test in south Wales. Given Cardiff’s remarkable record on home soil, coupled with the Reds now recording just one Premier League clean sheet in their last 13 outings, we’re backing both teams to find the net at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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