David Moyes made an inauspicious start to his tenure as United manager, with the club winning just two of their opening six league matches, but the reigning champions have recovered well from that start and a 1-0 victory over Arsenal before the international break left them just five points adrift of Arsene Wenger's table-toppers.
United's form is even more ominous considering that they have amassed 20 points from 11 matches - they have gone on to claim the Premier League title with a lower points tally at the same stage on three occasions.
The Red Devils have been dealt a double injury blow with both Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic set to miss Sunday’s Premier League clash with Cardiff City, Goal can exclusively reveal.
Vidic, who suffered concussion during the victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford a fortnight ago, trained with the first team on Saturday, as he had done all week, but will not be risked by David Moyes ahead of Wednesday’s testing Champions League visit to Leverkusen.
|MAN UNITED LATEST
|8/1||Manchester United are 8/1 to beat Cardiff 2-0 with BetVictor|
Those absences could hand an opportunity to Brazilian midfielder Anderson, who will be keen to take the chance should it arise at the Cardiff City Stadium, having been linked with a departure in January recently.
Rafael (ankle) will hope to be in contention, but the fixture is likely to come too soon for Danny Welbeck (knee).
Cardiff have not beaten United since a 3-0 victory in November 1960, although the sides have only met on five occasions since, with the last encounter resulting in a 4-0 home success for United in March 1975.
Malky Mackay will be looking for his side to bounce back from a 2-0 setback to Aston Villa before the international break, as second-half strikes from Leandro Bacuna and Libor Kozak consigned the Bluebirds to their fifth Premier League defeat.
That result left the Welsh side in 14th position, with 12 points from 11 top-flight games this season.
Mackay welcomes back close-season signing Andreas Cornelius to his squad, with the striker having only featured in two competitive fixtures for the side this season due to an ankle injury sustained in the Capital One Cup against Accrington Stanley in August.
Peter Odemwingie should also shake off a knock picked up in training in time to feature against Moyes's charges.