Manchester United vs Cardiff City: Match Preview
Yes! I am back. Who missed me and my write-ups? It is only normal that I had to take a back seat after all the happenings of recent weeks. I am back for good now. Now to more pressing matters.
IT IS MANCHESTER UNITED V CARDIFF TONIGHT and ”yours truly’ is previewing it as best as he can. It is going to be a VERY SPECIAL night at the Theatre. No movie has been well scripted as the one which is going to play out tonight. Even the best Directors in the World would have found it almost impossible to imagine the plot of this staggeringly awesome film.
The cast and crew have no ties whatsoever with Hollywood but they have put together something that will bring the entire world to a standstill tonight. Rarely does a MAN UTD-CARDIFF fixture take the attention of so many people, especially when there is Spurs-Manchester City and the Merseyside derby to look forward to. But this is a very unique occasion and we can revel in it as much as we can.
On Monday afternoon, Manchester United officially unveiled a Spanish maestro and one of the World’s finest playmakers as the newest GENERAL of the red army. JUAN MANUEL MATA GARCIA was recruited from Chelsea last week. A transfer which cost the defending champions 37.1 Million pounds and shattered the previous record fee (30.75 Million) paid to lure the languid Berbatov in the summer of 2008.
Till today, it is still like a dream to the football World that MAN UTD and Chelsea could come to an agreement for their best player of the last two years. But in Life, impossible is nothing. The diminutive Spaniard has been given the NO 8 shirt previously won by former Legends such as Paul Ince and Nicky Butt and more recently, Wayne Rooney and the recently departed Oliveira Anderson (on loan at the Artenio Franchi).
He might not be what United need but he is certainly what 95% of World Beaters will jostle for when made available. The capture of Mata has breathed a new lease of life in the entire club. Wayne Rooney is reportedly set to sign a new bumper deal that will see him handed the skipper’s responsibilities and keep him at Manchester United for a long time.
Besides that, all the big guns have returned to training ahead of the visit of Cardiff. Robin Van Persie, Wazza and Fellaini all returned to training on Monday and have a chance of being involved tonight.
WELCOME HOME OGS
Tonight, the red devils’ faithful and indeed all of OLD TRAFFORD welcome the BABY FACED ASSASSIN and one of the club’s greatest ever players, OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER, back to a place he called home for 11 years and won the Champions League in that miraculous night at the Nou Camp, 15 years ago.
The Norwegian Legend scored 126 goals in 300+ apps for the club and most of those came from the bench and in the most important moments. The 366 games he played for Manchester United were all dear to him and he showed that every time he wore the jersey.
His 91 Premier League goals are only 4 short of the total Ruud Van Nistelrooy managed for the red army, albeit in more appearances. He scored and assisted for fun and never complained even though he spent most of his time on the bench and out of position. A great man on and off the pitch.
Tonight, he comes as a foe. He walks the Old Trafford turf as manager of Vincent Tan’s CARDIFF CITY. One thing is guaranteed: He will be treated to a hero’s welcome by everyone associated with the club. It might be a night of mixed feelings for Moyes as he may feel like the opposition manager with the applause and appeal OGS will get upon walking out of the tunnel.
THE R&R return tonight
Back to on-pitch issues, Manchester United have a near full strength squad to call upon. The absence of Carrick and Vidic means a lot but RVP, Rooney and Fellaini have returned from injury and should give Moyes some selection headache.
With Cleverley under-performing, Fellaini will go straight into the starting line-up with the ever improving Darren Fletcher who seems to have gotten over his ailment. Fabio and Wilf Zaha have joined OGS at Cardiff on permanent and loan deals respectively, but will play no part tonight.
The former was not registered before the 12.00 deadline on Monday and the latter cannot play against his parent club.
DDG, Rafael, Jones, Evans, Evra, Fellaini, Fletcher, Adnan, Mata, Rooney, Welbeck/RVP.
David De Gea was at fault for Sunderland’s equaliser in the Carling Cup semi last week but that will not make him lose his place. Rafa will miss his twin brother but life goes on. Evra is so error prone now and Jonny Evans is shaky at times.
In general, the United defence is in utter shambles and the goal concession rate is a thing of great concern. Rio Ferdinand is done and must move on next season and Nemanja Vidic is closer to the exit door. Marouane Fellaini has to start justifying the 27.5 Million pounds spent on him.
The return of ROONEY and RVP is a welcome boost for the club but not for Welbeck and Chicharito, who in the coming weeks, will return to the bench. Welbeck in particular, has been excellent in the last two months and deserves a starting berth. I never though I would see the name-MATA on any United team sheet ever…It will happen tonight.
For Cardiff, there wouldn’t be many changes to the starting eleven, except that Magnus Eikrem may start against his former club. Gary Medel and Steven Caulker are expected to return after sitting out the F.A Cup win at the Reebok. They don’t have the luxury of the top sides in terms of squad strength.
Marshall, Theophile-Catherine Turner, Caulker, McNaughton, Medel, Whittingham, Mutch, Gunnarsson, Noone, Campbell.
Frazier Campbell is set to line up against his former club after coming off the bench to hit the winner v Bolton at the weekend. OGS will be happy to have a super sub in his team as he was one of the best impact substitutes of his generation.
Veteran, Peter Whittingham will continue to whip in the crosses and provide the needed experience. The goalkeeper-Marshall has been terrific despite conceding so many goals this term. He will be kept extremely busy tonight, to be honest.
THE ARRIVAL OF EL MATA….HE MAKES HIS DEBUT TONIGHT
Finally, United fans have a playmaker they have been longing for since the retirement of Paul Scholes. Mata is no ginger prince but he is a genius and has created more chances (125) than any other player since the start of last season.
When you consider how little he has played this season, that is breathtakingly fantastic. He needed to leave Stamford Bridge as he saw himself being surplus to requirement at a club where he was voted POTY in the last two campaigns. Mourinho and all his teammates know how much he’s going to be missed. Chelsea’s loss is United’s monumental gain.
Hold on——–IN A FEW OF HOURS, JUANMATA8 will be UNLEASHED!!!!!!
Written by Ohireime Eboreime
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