Manchester United vs Cardiff: 3 Key Battles That Could Shape The Game

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returns to his former stomping ground as he takes his Cardiff side to Old Trafford this evening in what promises to be a feisty affair. Manchester United have shown that they can be beaten by lesser sides at home this season and the Bluebirds will fancy their chances of getting something from the tie, though it won’t be easy. Here are three key battles that I think will determine the result.

1) Juan Mata vs Kyle McNaughton

I am assuming that David Moyes will hand Mata his United debut tomorrow and that it will be from the right of midfield. The Spaniard will be up against McNaughton should he play, as Taylor is out for the Welsh side, and although on paper it looks a colossal mismatch, Mata could be sluggish due to lack of game time.

He has the skill, the creativity and the technique to tear Cardiff apart single-handedly, but we’ll have to wait and see what he can achieve tonight.

2) Tom Cleverley vs Jordon Mutch

Both are energetic central players who like to get involved in all aspects of the role. Both like to get in the face of opponents, both like to make blocks and both looks to get forward whenever they can, though I think the latter has a touch more quality.

The midfield battle will be huge tonight, with these two in the middle of it.

3) Fraizer Campbell vs Jonny Evans

Former United frontman Campbell has already shown his credentials this season with five goals in 22 games for the newcomers, which included two against Manchester City.

Evans is a strong player who doesn’t enjoy playing against the smaller, quicker forwards as such, so there could be some joy to be had for the Cardiff forward.