One of the most significant matches of the season will take place this Saturday when Manchester United plays against Cardiff City in Wales.
The match may not in any way be a palpable blockbuster pitting two perilously close sides, but its weight of attraction will rather be on the monumental change in management that saw Jose Mourinho lose his instruments of power at Old Trafford.
Mourinho was relieved of his services at the Theatre of Dreams following United’s disastrous 3-1 defeat to Liverpool last weekend. The hosts—who were quick from the opening whistle—deservedly took the lead in the 24th minute through Sadio Mane.
Fabinho lifted a perfectly measured pass to Mane who brilliantly controlled the ball with his chest before driving a left-footed finish between David de Gea’s legs for the opener. United grabbed one back moments after the half hour mark, but not without the help of Alisson Becker who committed a howler to gift the visitors with the equalizer. The Brazilian shot stopper couldn’t hold onto Romelu Lukaku’s cross from the left flank, allowing Jesse Lingard to finish the rebound from close range.
Jurgen Klopp’s astute tactical awareness carried the day, as substitute Xherdan Shaqiri secured all three points for the Reds by scoring a brace late in the second half. Coming on for Naby Keita in the 70th minute, the Swiss international only took 144 seconds before restoring Liverpool’s lead in the encounter.
David de Gea made a signature clearance with his foot but the ball was inadvertently guided to Shaqiri whose fierce right-footed strike, from the right channel of the penalty area, appeared to have taken a deflection off Eric Bailly before sailing into the back of the net. There were however few questions as to how Shaqiri’s second goal came to be, as his left-footed strike right on the edge of the penalty area took a massive deflection off Bailly for the killer blow, ten minutes to stoppage time.
The defeat left Manchester United sixth on the log with 26 points, eleven points behind Chelsea in fourth, and a despicable nineteen points adrift of leaders Liverpool. Given how far United have fallen from grace, and seeing as the club was on a tumultuous road pestering out to an inexorable end, heading separate ways with Mourinho seemed like the beffiting thing to do.
The Portuguese has since been replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a darling in the heart of the United faithful who still hold fond memories of that historic Champions League final in Barcelona two decades ago.
A super-sub dubbed “the Baby-faced Assassin” during his heyday, Solskjaer is by and large expected to act as the universal solvent against abrasive elements in the dressing room that created a rift between the previous manager and the team.
His first match in charge will coincidentally be against Cardiff City; a side the Norwegian managed briefly in 2014. Cardiff may currently not be in the drop zone but the Bluebirds are certainly not out of danger yet, sitting two points above Burnley in eighteenth.
Neil Warnock’s charges were beaten 3-2 in an entertaining end to end encounter in Watford last weekend. The hosts were in cruised control of the match after an early strike by Gerard Deulofeu and second half goals by Jose Holebas and Domingos Quina put them ahead, but a late rally by Cardiff had them concede goals through Junior Hoilett and Bobby Reid.
Solskjaer will be without Alexis Sanchez, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Scott McTominay for his first match in charge, but Luke Shaw and the maligned Paul Pogba will be available for selection.
Anthony Martial odds and specials
|Best Bets||Odds||Bet Now|
|Martial to score anytime||+125 at William Hill||Place Bet|
|Martial to score/Man Utd to win||+162 at William Hill||Place Bet|
Anthony Martial is currently Manchester United’s top scorer with seven Premier League goals to his name this season. His fine run of form was hampered by injury early in December, but his twenty minute cameo off the bench against Liverpool is highly indicative of his return to full fitness.
It’s hard enough guessing United’s starting eleven given the managerial change, but if there’s one man capable of coming up with the goods for the Red devils, then unequivocally it’s Tony Martial.
Cardiff City vs. Manchester Unites betting prediction
Cardiff City struggled to find their footing on their return to top flight football, but the Bluebirds have clawed their way out of the drop zone by grinding out two wins in their last four games.
Man United on the other hand have only won one of their last six Premier League matches, but the 20-time champions cannot be confined to their recent form given the new lease of life that accompanies a new managerial appointment; especially when the new gaffer is a former player.
|Best Bets||Odds||Bet Now|
|Man Utd win 1st/2nd half||+340 at William Hill||Place Bet|
Cardiff City vs. Manchester United recent results
Man United 2-0 Cardiff City (January 28, 2014)
Robin van Persie 6’
Ashley Young 59’
Cardiff City 2-2 Man United (November 24, 2013)
Fraizer Campbell 33’
Kim Bo-Kyung 90+1’
Wayne Rooney 15’
Patrice Evra 45’
Latest EPL betting tips & news
Best EPL Week 37 parlay betting predictions – odds & free tips
With just two weeks to go in the 2018/18 English Premier League title race, all eyes will be on two teams locked in an incredible...
Best EPL Week 36 parlay betting predictions – odds & free tips
The most absorbing close to an English Premier League campaign in recent memory is upon us with a number of mouth-watering fixtures lined up for...
2019 EPL Week 35 accumulator betting – free parlay tips
English Premier League action will be in full swing this weekend ahead of next week’s blistering run of domestic matches that will characterise the heightened...
2019 EPL Week 34 accumulator betting – free parlay tips
Games in the English Premier League are coming thick and fast as we draw closer to the end of the 2018/19 football campaign in Europe.
EPL Week 34 betting – Mohamed Salah tips – Liverpool vs. Chelsea
Liverpool will be hoping to compound the pressure on second place Manchester City by registering a decent result when they face Chelsea this weekend in...
EPL Matchweek 2 parlay odds and betting predictions
EPL Matchweek 1 betting picks – West Ham vs Manchester City
EPL Matchweek 1 betting preview – Manchester United vs Chelsea
EPL Multi of the Week – Matchweek 1 parlay betting tips
EPL Matchweek 1 betting tips – Liverpool vs Norwich City
2019/20 EPL season preview: Can Norwich and Sheffield stay up?
2019/20 EPL season preview: Will Aston Villa justify big buys?
2019/20 EPL season preview: Top 10 for Leicester and West Ham?