Cardiff City vs Manchester United Betting Preview – 22/12/2018

Cardiff City vs Manchester United Betting Preview – 22/12/2018

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Cardiff City vs Manchester United

This late Saturday kick-off should be an interesting one. A twist of fate sees new Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer face his former club Cardiff, where he’s not popular after suffering relegation in 2014. The Norwegian has been appointed manager until the end of the season, in the Guus Hiddink role of trying to rehabilitate the club following Jose Mourinho’s sacking.

Cardiff have surprised many by making it to the (almost) halfway point of the season, Christmas, outside of the bottom three. Favourites for relegation at the start of the season, they’ve upset the odds by recording the occasional, vital win – with four from 17 so far, all of which have come at the Cardiff City Stadium. Bet365 offer long odds of 11/2 for another home win.

It’s now four wins out of their last five games on home soil, with Wolves the biggest scalp they’ve taken so far. They’ve not managed to pick up any points against the better sides in the league, losing 4-1 to Liverpool and 5-0 to Manchester City, but they gave Arsenal a scare, needing Alexandre Lacazette to score the winner in a 3-2 loss, and they held Tottenham to just one goal.

Last week, they were outclassed by Watford for about an hour, going three goals down after 70 minutes after defensive lapses afford the Hornets a number of good opportunities, but they showed spirit late on as Junior Hoilett and Bobby Reid gave them a fighting chance, before the final whistle was blown at 3-2. Hoilett has scored a couple of outstanding goals in recent weeks, and can be backed at 5/1 with William Hill to do so again.

Visitors Manchester United have been in especially bad form of late. 11 points behind Champions League qualification and a massive 19 behind league leaders Liverpool, this is the worst they’ve ever done at this stage in the Premier League era. It’s been just one win from their last six, which was at home against bottom-placed Fulham. Last week’s 3-1 defeat at Anfield was the final nail in the coffin for Jose Mourinho.

However, with a new manager in charge, a club hero who instantly brings a sense of positivity back to the club, it’s probably not worth taking heed of the form book, especially as he can choose from the club’s most important players and reintegrate potential match-winners. Frenchmen Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba were both on the bench at Anfield last week but are expected to return from exile and back into the starting line-up here. United can be backed at 3/5 with Unibet to give Solskjaer a winning start in their dugout.

Pogba knows Solskjaer well from the Norwegian’s time in charge of the Manchester United academy as he was coming up as a teenager. He can be backed at 2/1 with William Hill to announce his return to the team with a goal, which could be worth considering that only Fulham have conceded more goals than Cardiff this season. Martial can be backed at 6/4 with SportPesa to score anytime and 50/1 with BoyleSports to score a hat-trick.

Alexis Sanchez and Marcos Rojo are the only longer-term injury concerns, while Chris Smalling is a doubt after pulling out from the warm-up last weekend. Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay are also doubts, but with Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof fit for the centre, there are proven players from front-to-back available to choose from.

Recommended Bets:

Manchester United to win at 3/5 with Unibet – BET HERE

Anthony Martial to score anytime at 6/4 with SkyBet – BET HERE

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