Manchester United welcome Cardiff City to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon for the concluding game of what has been a testing Premier League season for both sides. United have failed to reach the top four in the league table, despite replacing Jose Mourinho with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer halfway through the season. Solskjaer has hinted to the press that he may play a few of the club’s youngsters in the game, with the likes of James Garner, Dylan Levitt, Arnau Puigmal and Tahith Chong training with the first-team squad this week.
Cardiff have already been relegated and have nothing left to play for beyond pride. That sort of situation can either galvanise a team to produce an outstanding performance, or leave them entirely bereft of energy and morale. Bluebirds gaffer Neil Warnock will want his team to produce a decent performance in what could be his last ever Premier League game.
Manchester United vs Cardiff City Prediction: United 3-0 Bluebirds
Our prediction for this game is that the home side will steamroller a demoralised Cardiff side. Our prediction is that United will win the game 3-0, though we suspect that there might well be many more goals than this scored. While United cannot claim a top-four finish in the Premier League this season, they can still beat old foes Arsenal into fifth place. They may also feature a number of hungry youngsters in their team who want to make a positive impression on the manager, something which might give the team performance more impetus.
Our recommended tip: United to win to nil
These are two teams in appalling form, with United having drawn two and lost three of their last five games in all competitions. City have lost their last three league games. Despite United’s recent poor form, the bookies have still made them overwhelming favourites for the game, which makes it hard for punters to find good value by betting on this match. Given that situation, we have taken our featured tip from Coral, who are offering odds of 27/20 on United to win to nil. That looks like a good bet to us, as the odds are decent and we suspect that City will not score on Sunday.
United are unbeaten in their last eight league meetings with the Bluebirds, a run which dates back to November 1960, when they lost 3-0. The Red Devils have won six of the games in that run.
In the Premier League, the teams have played each other on just three previous occasions. There has been one draw, and United have won twice. The draw came at the Cardiff City Stadium in 2013, when the teams drew 2-2. Later that season, United won 2-0 at Old Trafford. Earlier in the current campaign, United destroyed the Bluebirds 5-1 in Cardiff in December.
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Players to watch: Paul Pogba & Oumar Niasse
Since Jose Mourinho left Old Trafford and Solskjaer took over, Paul Pogba has looked a different player. Given the freedom to play in his favoured role by Solskjaer, Pogba has flourished in the second half of the 2018/19 season. The Frenchman now has 13 goals from his 34 Premier League appearances in total, and he has also weighed in with nine assists. He is United’s top league goalscorer and assist maker in the current campaign.
Oumar Niasse has played 13 games for Cardiff since joining on loan from Everton earlier this season. His lack of goals in those games highlights the Bluebirds’ issues with creating and executing chances. Warnock and the Cardiff fans will hope that the Senegalese striker can find the net at least once this weekend. He has created just one big chance for his team-mates this season, and has no assists to his name.