Manchester United changed their manager this week, and it will be former darling of the Stretford End Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who leads the team to South Wales to face Cardiff City this weekend. There has been a dark cloud hanging over Old Trafford for most of this season, and Jose Mourinho’s departure from the club may have done something to lift that cloud. Cardiff boss Neil Warnock is sure to have his team fired up for this clash, though, and he will surely relish the chance to exploit any nerves that might be on show in Solksjaer’s first game in charge.
The Bluebirds head into this game on the back of winning their last three Premier League home games. Building a fortress at their home ground could be an important part of staying in the top division, and their passionate crowd should stand them in good stead this weekend.
Cardiff City vs Manchester United Prediction: City 1-1 United
Our predicted scoreline for this game is 1-1. We suspect that the game will end in a low-scoring draw mainly because of Cardiff’s recent strong form at home. The Bluebirds tend to win at home, having been victorious in four out of their last five Premier League home matches. They have, however, never beaten the Red Devils in the Premier League, so winning the game might just be beyond them. United have a new manager to impress, but there is a sense that the rot at Old Trafford is well established and may take time to clear.
Our recommended tip: Draw, 1X2
Our featured tip for this game comes courtesy of Dafabet, where you can find odds of 3/1 on the 1X2 market for the game ending in a draw. Those odds offer pretty good value, especially given Cardiff’s strength at home this season. While United will always be favourites in a game like this, simply because of their historic pedigree, the Red Devils are currently a team in turmoil. The dressing room dissension that sprang up under Mourinho will take time to clear. It might be a little while yet before we see Solksjaer have any kind of positive effect on the team.
These two teams have played twice in Premier League history, with both of those games coming in Cardiff’s first spell in the competition, in 2013/14. In November 2013, Cardiff drew 2-2 at home to United. Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra scored the United goals, while Fraizer Campbell and Kim Bo-Kyung netted for the Bluebirds. The second game was at Old Trafford in January 2014. This time, United came out on top, winning the game 2-0. Robin van Persie and Ashley Young provided the goals for the Red Devils, with the Dutchman opening the scoring after just six minutes.
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Players to watch: Callum Paterson & Anthony Martial
Scottish utility man Callum Paterson has found a role for himself up front for the Bluebirds this season, despite appearing at right back for his country. Playing as the second striker, Paterson has found the back of the opposition net on four occasions in his 15 league appearances so far this season. He has won 119 aerial battles, highlighting his ability with his head. He has also made nine crosses, at an accuracy rate of 44%.
United’s French forward Anthony Martial has become a key player for the Red Devils over the last year or so. He has made 13 Premier League appearances for the club in 2018/19, and has scored seven goals in those games. Out of his 18 shots on goal this season, 12 have been on target, highlighting the threat he poses to opposition defences. He can link play as well as score goals, having made 322 passes this season.