Manchester United v Cardiff: Premier League match preview

A look ahead to this week’s Premier League fixture at Old Trafford

Old Trafford welcomes back a familiar face on Tuesday when fans’ favourite Ole Gunnar Solksjaer returns to the Theatre of Dreams for the first time with his Cardiff side, and the Norwegian can expect a rapturous reception.

The ‘Baby-faced assassin’ scored 126 times in 366 appearances for the club, and earned the reputation as the ‘super-sub’ for his remarkable predatory instincts for coming off the bench to score late goals, the most famous of which, came in injury time in the 1999 Champions League Final, when Solksjaer scored the winner to complete a stunning comeback and win United the treble. After replacing Malky Mackay earlier this month, Solksjaer’s appointment invites comparisons that he can take up that role again and rescue Cardiff, like he did so many times for United during his playing days.

The Norwegian faces a tough task to save Cardiff from the drop though, and is yet to register any points in the league for his new club, leaving Cardiff bottom of the league on goal difference, and despite two victories in the FA Cup against Newcastle and more recently, Bolton at the weekend, Solksjaer will be desperate to get some points, sooner rather than later. Cardiff secured a point when the sides met earlier in the season and any other season, a trip to Old Trafford would represent a daunting prospect, but it is no secret that David Moyes’ side have struggled this season, especially at home, having only won five of eleven home league games, and losing four in the process, and sit seventh in the league, while a Capital One Cup exit to Sunderland, has compiled further misery and pressure on David Moyes.

Yet, United have signed a saviour of their own this week, and will be buoyed by pulling off the transfer of Juan Mata, who joins from Chelsea, for a record fee of £37.1 million, as United bid to initiate a second-half of the season revival, pinning their hopes on the Spaniard to provide a touch of class and inject some creativity into the side. However, it remains to be seen, whether Mata will be involved in Tuesday’s game, despite David Moyes’ hopes that he would be available for a game, that either way, will be sure not be short of talking points.

KICK-OFF: Tuesday, 7.45pm

PAST MEETINGS…

Cardiff 2 (Campbell, Kim) Manchester United 2 (Rooney, Evra), Premier League, November 2013

Manchester United 4 (Houston, Macari, McIllroy, Pearson) Cardiff 0, Division Two, March 1975

Cardiff 0 Manchester United 1 (Daly), Division Two, August 1974

STATS…

Victory would make Manchester United the first club to earn 1,000 points at home in the Premier League - they currently stand on 998.

Thirty seven points from 22 matches is the lowest total United have mustered in any previous Premier League season at this stage.

United have already lost seven league games, a tally they have only previous exceeded in two Premier League seasons (they lost nine times in 2001-02 and 2003-04).

Cardiff have won none and lost six of their last eight Premier League away games.

Cardiff have scored 35% of their goals via headers - the highest proportion in the Premier League.

Five of Cardiff striker Frazier Campbell's last six league goals have come against Manchester United or Manchester City, and 42% of his overall total Premier League strikes have been against those two teams.

ODDS…

Manchester United to win: 1.27

Cardiff to win: 16.5

Draw: 6.4

TV: Highlights on BBC1 on Wednesday at 10.35pm

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific