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Man Utd Team News: Injuries, suspensions and line-up vs Cardiff City

10:04 GMT 21/12/2018
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Cardiff City 2013-14
Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League clash at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday

It has been a massive week in the history of Manchester United, with Jose Mourinho becoming the first manager to be fired during the first half of a season since Ron Atkinson in 1986.

His interim replacement is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer , and the Baby-Faced Assassin's baptism of fire comes at Cardiff City, where he suffered a miserable eight months in charge in 2014 as the Welsh side dropped out of the Premier League and struggled on their return to the Championship.

But as he takes the reins in his dream job as United boss there will be a huge spotlight on him, and his ability to get a better tune out of the players than Mourinho was able to will go a long way to deciding what course United's season takes from here.

Man Utd Injuries

Solskjaer's first job will be assessing who he has available for the trip to south Wales. Marcos Rojo is likely to still be missing due to the injury which forced an early withdrawal against Valencia while Luke Shaw has missed the last five with a muscle problem.

Victor Lindelof seemed to get through the loss to Liverpool without a recurrence of his groin problem and should be fine, but Chris Smalling pulled out of the warm-up at Anfield and is unlikely to make the matchday squad this time around.

Scott McTominay travelled with the squad to Valencia last midweek but ended up missing the match due to a late complaint and remains a doubt after kissing the Liverpool defeat.

Alexis Sanchez is missing until the New Year due to a torn hamstring, but Anthony Martial could be in the running for a start after playing the final 15 minutes at Liverpool in his return from a muscle issue.

Romelu Lukaku did not train on Wednesday or Thursday due to a personal issue and so is highly unlikely to miss out this time.

Man Utd Suspensions

Neither side will be missing any players through disciplinary issues, although another yellow card for Nemanja Matic would see him miss the home match against Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day.

The midfielder has collected four bookings so far during the current domestic campaign.

Man Utd Starting Line-Up

It will be fascinating to see not only how United are set up under Soslkjaer, but also how free-flowing their football becomes in their first game post-Jose Mourinho.

He is almost certain to recall Paul Pogba in midfield, and could start with Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera as cover for the Frenchman, while further up the field he should have a fast-paced attack as part of his plan.

With Lukaku and Sanchez both missing, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard could all start. Juan Mata, though, is also a consideration.

At the back there are a number of possibilities depending on the return of injured players, but it may be that Matteo Darmian's exclusion will be the only change from the loss at Liverpool.

Cardiff Team News

The Bluebirds have surprised many by picking up some valuable victories on their return to the Premier League, leaving them two points and two places clear of relegation trouble nearing the halfway mark of the season.

Neil Warnock will have pinpointed certain fixtures as key, winnable encounters before the campaign began, and their victories over Fulham, Brighton, Wolves and Southampton all came in matches the wily manager would have identified.

Clashes with the likes of United are always seen as bonus fixtures by sides managed by Warnock, but that will make them no less dangerous and the former Sheffield United and QPR boss will surely be priming his team for an upset against a United outfit he will still believe to be vulnerable despite the boost of a new manager having arrived.

There is not a multitude of goals in this Cardiff squad though, with utility man Callum Paterson having netted a club-high four to this point.

Warnock will be looking for his forward line to deliver more often from Saturday onwards, with Junior Hoilett, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Danny Ward and Gary Madine all among those from whom more firepower is expected.

Ward, though, could miss United's visit due to injury, while Greg Cunningham and Jazz Richards are thought to be in contention.

TV Channel & Kick-off time

The match at Cardiff City Stadium kicks off at 5:30pm GMT (12:30pm ET) on Saturday, with live coverage available in the UK on BT Sport 1 from 5:00pm. In the US the game will be shown on NBCSN.

Best Opta Match facts

  • Cardiff City have won only one of their last 12 league matches against Manchester United (D3 L8), winning 3-0 in November 1960.
  • Only Arsenal (12) have won more points from losing positions in the Premier League this season than Cardiff City and Manchester United (9, level with Leicester).
  • Cardiff City have won four of their last five Premier League home games (L1), as many as they had in their previous 22 in the competition (W4 D6 L12).
  • Manchester United have lost their last three Premier League away games against promoted sides, as many as they had in their previous 36 such matches (W27 D6 L3).
  • Manchester United have conceded more goals in 17 Premier League games this season (29) than they did in the whole of 2017-18 (28). Only Fulham (0) have kept fewer clean
    sheets than the Red Devils this season (2).
  • Manchester United have picked up 26 points after their first 17 league games this season under Jose Mourinho; their worst points haul in the top-flight at this stage since 1990-91 (also 26 points).
  • Manchester United won 176 Premier League points under recently dismissed manager Jose Mourinho; fewer than Manchester City (222), Tottenham Hotspur (202), Chelsea (200) and Liverpool (196) since August 2016.
  • Of the 31 players with at least five Premier League goals this season, Romelu Lukaku has scored the highest percentage of them away from home (5/6 – 83%).
  • Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock has failed to win any of his seven previous encounters with Man Utd in all competitions, losing six of those games (D1).