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Premier League

  • January 28, 2014
  • • 2:45 PM
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: C. Pawson
  • • Attendance: 75301
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Premier League Preview: Manchester United - Cardiff City

Premier League Preview: Manchester United - Cardiff City

David Moyes has indicated he wants newcomer Juan Mata to be involved, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returns to his former club.

Record signing Juan Mata is set to make his Manchester United debut against former Old Trafford striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Cardiff City on Tuesday.

The Spain midfielder completed his 37.1 million pound move from Chelsea on Saturday and is expected to go straight into the starting lineup.

Mata's arrival is a timely boost for United, which crashed out of the Capital One Cup on penalties in its semifinal against Sunderland last week on the back of a 3-0 league defeat at Chelsea. Manager David Moyes will be expecting Mata to provide the touch of class that United has been lacking in what has been a disappointing season so far for the Premier League champions.

United's prospects of retaining the title are forlorn, as Moyes' men are seventh in the table and 14 points adrift of leader Arsenal. Moyes will still be confident of clinching qualification for the Champions League, though, with Liverpool six points better off than the Old Trafford outfit.

United drew 2-2 at Cardiff back in November in the first meeting between the two sides since 1975, but Solskjaer has since replaced Malky Mackay at the Welsh club.

The 40-year-old can expect a rapturous reception in his return to Old Trafford, where he spent 11 years during his playing days and enjoyed a major role in such a successful period in United's history, including scoring the winner in the 1999 Champions League final.

The Norwegian has been charged with the task of keeping Cardiff in the Premier League, but the club slipped to the bottom of the table with a 4-2 defeat at Manchester City in its last top flight match.

Cardiff needs to improve its away form if it is to avoid a return to the Championship, as it has won only once on the road in the top flight. Solskjaer's side did win at Bolton Wanderers in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, but Cardiff has taken just a point from its last six Premier League games.

The Cardiff boss will be hoping United strike duo Robin van Persie (thigh) and Wayne Rooney (groin) are not yet ready to return.

Moyes will also assess the fitness of Rio Ferdinand (knee), Nani (hamstring) and Michael Carrick (ankle), but captain Nemanja Vidic will definitely not feature as he serves the second of a two-match suspension following his red card at Chelsea.

Kenwyne Jones could make his Cardiff debut if a swap deal with Stoke City involving Peter Odemwingie goes through in time and forward Jo Inge Berget could make his bow following his move from Molde last week.

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Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Manchester United

Cardiff City

Wins
3
2
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Manchester United FC MNU
Manchester United FC Manchester United
Draw
Cardiff City FC CAR
Cardiff City FC Cardiff City
81%

Top 3 Predictions

Manchester United FC MNU
3 - 0
Cardiff City FC CAR
Manchester United FC MNU
2 - 0
Cardiff City FC CAR
Manchester United FC MNU
3 - 1
Cardiff City FC CAR

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