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Ratings: Some of them need firing out of the club as soon as possible; Greenwood was impressive and something to look forward to

Manchester United deserved the 2-0 defeat against already relegated Cardiff City in the final Premier League match of the season. It is hardly a sendoff for the supporters this season after the money they had spent on supporting the team. Few players had desire and determination and it has shown that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might be out of his depth.

It was a good start for United with Mason Greenwood having opportunities to score, one going over the crossbar, the other saved by Neil Etheridge. Andreas Pereira also had the opportunity to score, also providing the lofting pass for Greenwood’s effort to be saved. However, it was not that great for United as Diogo Dalot gave a penalty away.

The young Portuguese right-back seemed to reach the ball before the Cardiff player went down. Not a penalty for me, but it was given nonetheless. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing took the spot kick, beating David De Gea and putting the already-relegated side 1-0 up in the game with United needing to put in a massive performance to save their blushes.

Greenwood has been the stand out player in the match and could have had at least three goals to his name. United, however, did not get the better of this Cardiff side as they conceded another goal in the 54th minute, against scored by Mendez-Laing, assisted by Josh Murphy. It has gone bad to worse for United.

Man of the Match: Mason Greenwood

The 17-year-old took the game by the scruff of the neck and tried to put in an effort worthy of playing for this club, one of a few who had tried to do that. Greenwood could have had three or four goals in the first half alone, which shows his desire, hunger and determination. If he is not involved in the squad from pre-season onwards, questions will be asked.

Match Statistics:

Goals: Nathaniel Mendez-Laing 23′ (penalty), 54′

Assists: Josh Murphy 54′

Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot (Valencia 74′), Smalling, Jones (Martial 46′), Young; Pereira (Gomes 74′), McTominay, Pogba; Lingard; Greenwood, Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Mata; Fred, Garner

Bookings: Andreas Pereira 44′, Paul Pogba 61′, Jesse Lingard 71′; Leandro Bacuna 28′, Josh Murphy 61′

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one conceded from a penalty against Cardiff City in the 23rd minute of the match. However, in the 40th minute, he made a great save to deny Josh Murphy. De Gea conceded a second goal in the 54th minute to add to his and United’s embarrassment.

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Diogo Dalot

Gave away a penalty in the first half, which may have been harsh against him. Played well at times but was caught by Cardiff in the second half as they doubled their lead in the 54th minute. Dalot was always going to be a prospect and will have learned a lot from this season.

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Chris Smalling

Another poor defensive performance this season has seen the real Chris Smalling. Squad player at best, nothing more. Gone are the days of Mike Smalling under Louis Van Gaal. Not good enough for a club of this calibre.

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4 Phil Jones

I was not happy seeing that he was starting the game nor that there was no central defensive cover on the bench. True to form, Jones picked up an injury late in the first half and could not continue, yet he was entrusted to represent the club for four more years?

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18 Ashley Young

Not a left-back. Not a right-back. I don’t think Ashley Young is anything other than a squad player. Kudos to him for last season and playing for England at the World Cup but now, his career seems to be hanging in the balance. Keeping players like Young is the reason United are where they are irrelevant.

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Andreas Pereira

The Belgian-born Brazilian started well against Cardiff after an early effort on goal, also floating in a great ball for Mason Greenwood with the Cardiff goalkeeper stopping him from scoring. Pereira tried to get involved in the second half but it didn’t work. He was replaced by Angel Gomes in the 74th minute of the match.

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39 Scott McTominay

Tried his best in the first half but with players not putting in the effort, what can be done, especially of those who are a problem in the team are still playing week in and week out. Played in defence in the second half as Jones was injured again. He has the right mentality and determination and will be hurting tonight, just like last week at Huddersfield.

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6 Paul Pogba

I’m not all that sure starting the Frenchman was a good thing for Solskjaer, who said he was going to be ruthless. Pogba was booked just after the hour for lashing out on Murphy, which was pretty petulant from both players - both deserved the booking they got. Could it be goodbye from him?

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14 Jesse Lingard

I was not impressed with his performance today or over the last few months. Seems to care more about voting for himself in a Player of the Year awards or his new clothing line. As long as that is a success, it’s fine. I guess. Doesn’t need to be a success on the football pitch now, does he? Sarcasm aside, he’s a squad player now, too late to be anything else. Has promise but little interest to develop that.

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11 Mason Greenwood

The 17-year-old had an impressive start to the game having a header on goal sail over the crossbar, which has shown his level of confidence in this game. The academy graduate also had another attempt, laid on by Andreas Pereira but Neil Etheridge out the effort wide to stop him scoring.

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10 Marcus Rashford

The England forward has some parts to play in the game but he was not in his best form, which is a worry. United should have been more than capable of taking on this Cardiff side, especially after beating them 5-1 in December. Rashford may need some time off this summer but if his poor form continues, it will be down to him more than anything.

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Substitutes

9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Jones 46'. Got some involvement in the match and nearly provided something to put United back in the game. Needs to push himself more, if he is to remain a United player. He's his own worst enemy at times.

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25 Antonio Valencia

Replaced Dalot 74'. Not a fitting send off for a player like Antonio Valencia. He won't be happy to bow out after such a shockingly poor match. It will be different without him. All the best, captain.

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28 Angel Gomes

Replaced Pereira 74'. Got stuck into the performance. Had as much influence in the game as Paul Pogba but plater 16 minutes plus added time.

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Confirmed Starting XI: Greenwood starts; Garner and Gomes on the bench against Cardiff City

Manchester United take on already-relegated Cardiff City at Old Trafford in the final Premier League match of the season this afternoon. It will be a match that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants and needs to win. It will only end what has turned into a terrible season with a bit of good feeling. United should be much better than this, but the fact is, they are poor.

The only races in the Premier League on the final day will be between Manchester City and Liverpool for the title and between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal to finish inside the top four. United could, of course, finish fifth in the league this season with a win over Cardiff, however, Arsenal will need to draw or lose against Burnley for that to happen.

Solskjaer has had many of the younger players training in the first team this week, presumably giving most a taster of what is to come. James Garner, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood are all included in the squad for this final match of the season. Garner, Gomes and Greenwood were all pictured arriving at Old Trafford ahead of the match.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Dalot, Smalling, Jones, Young;

Pereira, McTominay, Pogba;

Greenwood, Rashford, Lingard

Substitutes:

Romero; Valencia; Mata; Fred, Garner, Gomes; Martial

United has a very poor record heading into the final match of the season. One win, two draws and three defeats in the last six matches. Four goals scored, 12 goals conceded, no clean sheets and a squad which (largely) seems out of touch with reality. Form is temporary and class is permanent but there is a big job ahead to bring any class back.

Cardiff City saw themselves relegated to the Championship last weekend after a 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace. It was a poor season for the Welsh side and it will mean that no Welsh sides will play a part in the Premier League for the first time since the 2011/12 season (Swansea City). Cardiff has scored four goals, conceded 10 with one clean sheet in six matches.

Manchester United and Cardiff City have played 30 competitive matches. United has won the most matches with 15 victories, drawing eight and losing just seven times. United are unbeaten against Cardiff in their last eight matches, going back to 1961. United beat Cardiff 5-1 earlier in the season, Solskjaer’s first match as manager.

Mason Greenwood to start against Cardiff City? 4-3-3 formation with Chong, Pereira and McTominay giving Manchester United a youthful look in Premier League finale

Manchester United will host already-relegated Cardiff City at Old Trafford on Sunday in the final Premier League match of the season. Both teams are in poor form but United, who will be embarking on another rebuilding process this summer, will be seeking to end the season with a bit of a high, despite the poor form, playing style and lack ability, determination and desire of late.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be boosted with the fact that Mike Phelan has committed to the cause for three years in signing a new contract as the clubs assistant manager but there is plenty of work for both ahead of what will be seen as a busy summer. Beating Cardiff is necessary to end the season with better intentions which the supporters deserve.

This Sunday, the only races in the Premier League will be between Manchester City and Liverpool for the title and between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal to finish inside the top four. United could, of course, finish fifth in the league this season with a win over Cardiff, however, Arsenal will need to draw or lose against Burnley for that to happen.

Manchester United and Cardiff City have played 30 competitive matches. United has won the most matches with 15 victories, drawing eight and losing just seven times. United are unbeaten against Cardiff in their last eight matches, going back to 1961. United beat Cardiff 5-1 earlier in the season, Solskjaer’s first match as manager.

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one has not been in the best of form for the past two months or so but needs to see this season out. The summer will be a welcome break for him as he gets to literally take time out from the game, although Spain face both the Faroe Islands (7 June) and Sweden (10 June) in European Championships qualifiers, which may scupper any early holiday plans, if he is going to be part of the squad, of course.

Defence: Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw

The defence needs some strengthening this summer as I don’t have much faith in Phil Jones or Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly’s injuries over the past two seasons have become problematic. However, with this being the final match of the season, having Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw as the fullbacks would be welcome with both Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling forming a partnership in the centre of defence, which at this stage is the best partnership the club could muster.

Midfield: Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay, Ander Herrera

I would like to see players who want to wear their Manchester United shirts, fight for the crest on the front of the shirt, also showing the desire and determination to succeed. Based on this, I don’t want to see Paul Pogba in the squad to face Cardiff City. Solskjaer should trust Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay and Ander Herrera to fortify the midfield, which should add more to the team instead of the petulance Pogba has brought with every recent appearance for the club.

Forwards: Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford

Solskjaer confirmed that some youth players will start in this game. One of them should be Mason Greenwood who has been waiting for his opportunity at this level but missed it last week due to injury. He is a player that Solskjaer rates and feels that he has the attributes to succeed in his squad. Tahith Chong should start on the right with Marcus Rashford on the left, as I don’t particularly want to see Anthony Martial or Alexis Sanchez (although both seem to be injured) playing in this match. They do not deserve to start or occupy a place on the bench. Rashford needs to sort himself out too, showing his ability more for United.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Fred, Angel Gomes,

I might not be right based on the substitutes but we shall see when the team news comes out on Sunday. One thing is for sure, Antonio Valencia will be seeking a good farewell from the Theatre of Dreams. I don’t think he will be fit enough to start but could play a part in the game, maybe coming on for the last 25 minutes or so. Juan Mata could also be a player saying his goodbyes as his contract is up in the summer and he does not seem to want to sign the contract he has been offered by the club. I would like to see more of Angel Gomes in this match, playing with Chong and Greenwood could suit him. It would be great to see James Garner too but I don’t think he will be included in the squad, sadly.

Preview: The end of the season cometh; will Manchester United use youth over petulance?

Manchester United -v- Cardiff City

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 12 May 2019; KO 15:00 BST

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Manchester United will host already-relegated Cardiff City at Old Trafford on Sunday in the final Premier League match of the season. Both teams are in poor form but United, who will be embarking on another rebuilding process this summer, will be seeking to end the season with a bit of a high, despite the poor form, playing style and lack ability, determination and desire of late.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be boosted with the fact that Mike Phelan has committed to the cause for three years in signing a new contract as the clubs assistant manager but there is plenty of work for both ahead of what will be seen as a busy summer. Beating Cardiff is necessary to end the season with better intentions which the supporters deserve.

This Sunday, the only races in the Premier League will be between Manchester City and Liverpool for the title and between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal to finish inside the top four. United could, of course, finish fifth in the league this season with a win over Cardiff, however, Arsenal will need to draw or lose against Burnley for that to happen.

Form: Cardiff City have already been relegated and United need a boost to end the season on a (slight) high before the rebuilding process starts to begin this summer

Manchester United: DDLLLW

Huddersfield Town 1-1 D, Chelsea 1-1 D, Manchester City 2-0 L, Everton 4-0 L, Barcelona 3-0 L, West Ham United 2-1 W

United has a very poor record heading into the final match of the season. One win, two draws and three defeats in the last six matches. Four goals scored, 12 goals conceded, no clean sheets and a squad which (largely) seems out of touch with reality. Form is temporary and class is permanent but there is a big job ahead to bring any class back.

Cardiff City: LLLWLL

Crystal Palace 3-2 L, Fulham 1-0 L, Liverpool 2-0 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 W, Burnley 2-0 L, Manchester City 2-0 L

Cardiff City saw themselves relegated to the Championship last weekend after a 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace. It was a poor season for the Welsh side and it will mean that no Welsh sides will play a part in the Premier League for the first time since the 2011/12 season (Swansea City). Cardiff have scored four goals, conceded 10 with one clean sheet in six matches.

Top Scorers: United’s players have scored many goals this season but seem to have hit a wall. Now is the time they start scoring again, rewarding the supporters as they are the real reason that they’re all millionaires

Manchester United: 16 – Paul Pogba, 15 – Romelu Lukaku, 13 – Marcus Rashford, 12 – Anthony Martial, 6 – Juan Mata, 5 – Jesse Lingard, 3 – Ander Herrera, 2 – Marouane Fellaini, Scott McTominay, Alexis Sanchez, Ashley Young, 1 – Fred, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling

Cardiff City: 5 – Víctor Camarasa, Bobby De Cordova-Reid, 4 – Sol Bamba, Callum Paterson, 3 – David Junior Hoilett, Josh Murphy, 2 – Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, 1 – Bruno Ecuele Manga, Aron Gunnarsson, Kadeem Harris, Sean Morrison, Danny Ward, Kenneth Zohore

Team News: Youth to be given a chance against Cardiff City but players such as Antonio Valencia, Juan Mata, and Ander Herrera will also want to say goodbye to the Old Trafford faithful if they all leave the club this summer

Solskjaer currently has many players on the sidelines. It is suggested that Romelu Lukaku (hamstring), Anthony Martial (knock), and Alexis Sanchez (ankle) are all doubts for this match, whereas Jesse Lingard (knee) could be back in action. Mason Greenwood (knock) should be involved in the match.

It was also confirmed that Antonio Valencia (calf) has been training for a few weeks and could have a good send-off in what will be his final match at the club as he will leave in the summer. Eric Bailly (knee) is out of this match and Sergio Romero (knee) has been training but could still be a doubt. United could field a number of youth players in this match.

During the last few days, Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong, James Garner, Angel Gomes, Arnau Puigmal and Dylan Levitt have all been training with the first team at the Aon Training Complex in Carrington. It is not expected that all of these will be involved in this match but Solskjaer has confirmed that some young players will be given a chance.

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock currently has six players on the sidelines through injury; Sol Bamba (ACL), Matthew Connolly, Callum Paterson (both ankle), Harry Arter (calf), Joe Ralls (hamstring), and Victor Camarasa (dead leg), who could be subject to a late fitness test this weekend.

Predicted Starting XI: Giving youth a chance to shine in what will be seen as a meaningless fixture will not only point towards the future but it could send a message to those who think they are bigger and better than the club!

Solskjaer will need to make some changes to his team to face Cardiff City. Previously, the manager has said that he will be ruthless and last weekend, he stated that some players will be cleared out in the summer, saying; “I can’t talk about individuals now, but there is the chance you have seen the last of players.”

With this in mind, I think it would be time for Solskjaer to think ahead to the future and do what previous managers have done in the final fixture of the season – giving youth a chance to perform for the club. What is the worst that could happen? These young and hungry players embarrassing the likes of Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba et al, showing how footballers should be performing for their club.

Match Prediction: United unbeaten in their last eight matches against Cardiff City with runs back to the 1960s

Manchester United and Cardiff City have played 30 competitive matches. United has won the most matches with 15 victories, drawing eight and losing just seven times. United are unbeaten against Cardiff in their last eight matches, going back to 1961. United beat Cardiff 5-1 earlier in the season, Solskjaer’s first match as manager.

Manchester United 3-1 Cardiff City

Ratings: Jesse Lingard shone against Cardiff; Lindelof, Herrera and Martial were all in the running…

Manchester United beat Cardiff City 5-1 in the Premier League on Saturday evening. Marcus Rashford opened up the scoring with Ander Herrera doubling the lead. Cardiff then won a penalty, which was short-lived as Anthony Martial put United two goals clear again. Jesse Lingard then finished the game with a brace, one from the spot. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy with what he has seen. Scoring goals galore.

The confidence gained from this game will set this team up for the next few matches, as long as they are able to build on that confidence. Huddersfield Town, Bournemouth and Newcastle United are United’s next three matches, all being winnable. With the way United had picked Cardiff apart, the next three opposition teams will need to be on their best form otherwise the real Manchester United could be picking their bones.

Jesse Lingard was MOTM for me after his performance and two goals. However, Victor Lindelof, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial were all in the running to claim the prize in this game. It really has changed the perception of supporters as this United team seem to want to get in a score as many goals as they need to in order to overcome the poor season they have had so far. Getting three points on the road is important to get to the position United want to be in, and that right now has to be inside the top four.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Conceded once, from the penalty spot. Not sure when we last saw De Gea save a penalty. However, it was a superb spot kick. Made a few saves here and there, otherwise, his teammates kept the pressure down at Cardiff.

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18 Ashley Young

A good game from the veteran winger/defender. Spent. such of the game in a forward position, which was good to see. Really supported his attacking teammates.

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4 Phil Jones

Seemed to have been given permission to roam and did his defensive duties when he was needed. He even had a shot on goal, not his own, with a good volley.

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2 Victor Lindelof

A MOTM contender. Had a great game and played with attacking flair, playing the ball from the back and breaking through the midfield. It was a good glimpse of the player United signed almost two years ago.

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23 Luke Shaw

Played well in his left-back role. Helped both Pogba and Martial, who were both on the left side of the pitch. Had plenty of attacking options and did as much as Young did, pushing forward to help his attacking teammates.

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21 Ander Herrera

One of the contenders for MOTM. Scored a stunning goal. I would like to see him in a diamond formation with Fred, Pogba and Pereira.

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31 Nemanja Matic

This might have been his best game this season. He played the pivot between attack and defence. A simplified performance. This is the real Manchester United.

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6 Paul Pogba

Played his part in the game, which was a refreshing change. Had a role in the second goal of the game, also linking up well with Martial and Lingard.

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14 Jesse Lingard

MOTM for me. Not many people rate Lingard but I think he is a very competent player. His movement both on an off the ball is tremendous. Definitely a player to build this team around, with others, of course.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Opened the scoring with a sublime free-kick in the third minute, Worked hard throughout the game. Conceded the penalty for Cardiff though, which was unfortunate. Should lead the line for the next few matches, in the absence of Lukaku.

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9 Anthony Martial

Excelled in this game. It was good to see an attacking style of place once again. Martial scored s stunning goal, which was a team goal. He was hungry to perform and win the points for United.

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Substitutes

17 Fred

Replaced Rashford 79'. Needs to be given time at the club. He can obviously be a player United could use, maybe not a world beater, but not every footballer needs to be.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

Replaced Matic 87'. Came on late in the game. United were 4-1 up at the time of the substitution, scoring another goal afterwards.

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Andreas Pereira

Replaced Martial 87'. Did not have a great impact in the game. 4-1 up when he came on, ending 5-1 up.

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Goals: Victor Camarasa 38 (p); Marcus Rashford 3′, Ander Herrera 29′, Anthony Martial 41′, Jesse Lingard 56′, 90′

Assists: Paul Pogba 29′, Jesse Lingard 41′

Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Jones, Lindelof, Shaw; Herrera, Matic (Fellaini 87′), Pogba; Lingard, Rashford (Fred 79′), Martial (Pereira 87′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly, Dalot; Mata

Bookings: Aron Gunnarsson 58′, Greg Cunningham 79′; Luke Shaw 35′

Report: Five star Manchester United turn back the time and bring back attacking football against Cardiff

Manchester United beat Cardiff City 5-1 in the Premier League on Saturday evening. Marcus Rashford opened up the scoring with Ander Herrera doubling the lead. Cardiff then won a penalty, which was short-lived as Anthony Martial put United two goals clear again. Jesse Lingard then finished the game with a brace, one from the spot. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy with what he has seen. Scoring goals galore.

The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era has started for Manchester United. The Red Devils started with plenty of pace on the attack. United spent more time going forward with the ball, which was refreshing to see. Paul Pogba was fouled by Harry Arter giving United a free-kick 30-yards from goal. Marcus Rashford took the set-piece with Pogba running into the box. Rashford’s effort was a powerful one which beat Neil Etheridge. The first goal of another new era.

Cardiff won a free-kick in the sixth minute after trying to stage a rally. The set-piece was against from 30-yards out, a similar position to Rashford’s. It was taken by Josh Murphy but the power was not in the shot to cause any problems for David De Gea. Anthony Martial looked to be in the mood in the tenth minute as he took on defenders. He got the better of Sol Bamba on the left, winning a corner for United. The corner was aimed at Pogba but Sean Morrison cleared the danger.

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There was a stoppage in the game close to the 15-minute mark after a clash of heads between Luke Shaw and Callum Patterson. Aron Gunnarsson launched a long throw into the box and Shaw rose to clear the danger, clattering heads with Patterson. Both players were able to continue after a momentary pause in the game. In the 21st minute of the game, Bamba drove forward with the ball and had Murphy screaming for it. The wrong pass was made and United immediately went on the counter.

Martial had the ball on the left, found Rashford inside the area, who struck from 10-yards but Morrison did enough to divert the ball away from danger. Cardiff started to struggle around the 27th minute-mark, failing to create momentum against United. Arter did try to hook the ball down the line for Murphy but it went out of play. United went on to double their lead in the 29th minute through Herrera, assisted by Pogba and beating the keeper with his spectacular effort. 2-0 in the Solskjaer era.

Shaw was the first player to be booked in this game, receiving a yellow card in the 35th minute after a late tackle on Murphy. Three minutes later, a penalty was awarded against United after it was adjudged that Rashford handled the ball in the box. He controlled the ball with his shoulder so it was a fair decision by the assistant. Victor Camarasa stepped up to take the penalty, sailing his effort into the top left-hand corner.

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Cardiff seemed to be back in the game, still trailing to United though. It was a short-lived feeling for the home side after United scored their third goal of the game in the 41st minute. Martial, assisted by Jesse Lingard gave United a two-goal cushion once again. It was a great goal for the Frenchman, one to boost his and the team’s confidence. United looked to be a different team to what we have seen so far this season. The confidence was there and the goals were raining down in this new era.

There were three minutes added at the end of the half. The United side was enjoying themselves once again but Cardiff will not be enjoying this game. It seems to be very different from the days Jose Mourinho was in the dugout. The attacking flair of this team is what should be what United throw into their games. The love of football is starting to come back. This is how United need to be playing. It seems like the past two and a half years of this style of football has been a punishment.

There were no changes for either team at the start of the second half. With United still 3-1 ahead, they needed to keep it in their minds that coming back into the game was Cardiff’s thing in the Premier League. Arter signalled intent with a strong tackle on Herrera in the 48th minute. Camarasa then slid one behind for Murphy but he was not on the same wavelength. United saw a lot more of the ball, based on previous matches this season. Ashley Young, despite being the right-back was playing so far forward.

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Rashford saw an attempt saved in the 51st minute of the match with Etheridge getting his hand on the ball to tip it around the post. United were then camped in the Cardiff half with Pogba starting to boss the game with Martial and Rashford always looking to break behind Cardiff’s defensive line. United won a penalty in the 55th minute, the second penalty of the game. Lingard was fouled in the box by both Morrison and Bamba, both were arguing with the referee.

Lingard stepped up to take the penalty, after having a discussion with Pogba. The Academy graduate then thundered the ball confidently into the back of the net, putting United 4-1 up in this game, the second time four goals have been scored in a single game this season. This is not a good day for Cardiff, who seem to be beaten with around half an hour still to play. It is great to see United bounce back from such a poor showing this season. There will be many reds like myself who are satisfied, so far anyway.

United had another shot in the 61st minute after Martial skipped down the left-wing with the ball dropping to Shaw around 18-yards out. He then hit a low ball towards goal but it was deflected behind. Three minutes later, United had another chance, this time with Victor Lindelof breaking forward, releasing Rashford. The 20-year-old only had the goalkeeper to beat but his low drive was just off target, which was a shame. This United side were in the mood to punish the poorer teams in the league.

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Cardiff tried to get themselves back into the game, forcing a save from De Gea in the 65th minute after Kenneth Zohore, who replaced Arter in the 61st minute, pulled out of the left and found Camarasa on the edge of the box. He aimed for the far corner and De Gea read it well and pushed the ball out for a corner, which came to nothing for the home side. United had a chance in the 70th minute with Pogba dropping into space 22-yards out and curling a sensational effort, which was just saved by Etheridge.

Cardiff made a second substitution in the 73rd minute with Junior Hoilet being replaced by Kadeem Harris. Cardiff then had a chance in the 75th minute after Camarasa sent in another brilliant ball in from the left which was heading towards the back post. Bamba charged in but ended up heading his effort wide of the target. In the 77th minute, Cardiff had another chance with Zahore giving the home side some confidence. De Gea kept the shot out of the back of the net.

Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 79th minute of the match with Fred replacing Rashford. Rashford put in a fantastic performance in the game and received applause as he left the pitch. Cardiff then made their final substitution with Gunnarsson being replaced by Joe Ralls. Gunnarsson was outclassed by his United opposition in this game, which is probably one of few players that this could be said about this season. This is a game of confidence for United. Huddersfield Town may need to ready themselves.

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It was nice to see Fred get an opportunity and in the 85th minute, that seemed to pay off as he played a good ball into Pogba in the left, who then drove it into the box. Martial was waiting to fire another shot on goal by Bamba booted clear. Solskjaer then made a double substitution with Marouane Fellaini replacing Nemanja Matic and Andreas Pereira replacing Martial. United were not finished though.

Lingard scored United’s fifth goal of the game, the first time United have scored five goals in a Premier League game since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson. Pogba was pulling the strings in midfield, slotting a wonderful ball in behind Morrison, who could not deal with the pace of Lingard. He then got around Etheridge and rolled the ball into an empty net. It was a great game for United and an even better start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. I wonder if the media will find critics for this Manchester United?

Goals: Victor Camarasa 38 (p); Marcus Rashford 3′, Ander Herrera 29′, Anthony Martial 41′, Jesse Lingard 56′, 90′

Assists: Paul Pogba 29′, Jesse Lingard 41′

Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Jones, Lindelof, Shaw; Herrera, Matic (Fellaini 87′), Pogba; Lingard, Rashford (Fred 79′), Martial (Pereira 87′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly, Dalot; Mata

Bookings: Aron Gunnarsson 58′, Greg Cunningham 79′; Luke Shaw 35′

Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford, Martial and Lingard lead the line against Cardiff; Pogba starts…

Manchester United will face Cardiff City in the Premier League in Cardiff on Saturday evening. It has been a turbulent week for United. Losing 3-1 to Liverpool at Anfield last weekend was enough for the club to make a change and that came after the sacking of Jose Mourinho on Tuesday morning. Former United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been brought in to replace the Portuguese manager until the end of the season.

There has been some positivity this week, which has not been around the club since the first or Mourinho’s two and a half seasons at the club. Solskjaer has literally given the players a clean slate, also suggesting that the club will be playing attacking football, which will be a change based on the boring football that has been served up recently. Whether Solskjaer has what it takes to succeed at United remains to be seen but you cannot fault his positivity.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Young, Jones, Lindelof, Shaw;

Herrera, Matic, Pogba;

Lingard, Rashford, Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Dalot; Mata, Pereira, Fred, Fellaini

The problems at United were not just caused by Mourinho. Many seem to blame him for everything. However, similar problems, such as managers not being backed in the transfer market happened under David Moyes and to a point under Louis van Gaal. Also, the lack of footballing knowledge from above was inherent under all three managers. Some seem to solely blame Mourinho. He was at fault in places but many don’t give him credit for what he did.

At times, when United has lost matches, Mourinho made it all about him. Many scolded the former manager for this. However, few actually used the logic they were blessed with to think about reasons he made it all about himself. Mourinho was protecting his players from criticism. You only ever read criticism about Mourinho in the media after poor results, of which there had been a lot of this season alone. There are even people who suggested Mourinho abused players, such as Paul Pogba.

It just goes to show the character of people today. Criticism is seen as abuse. Supposed supporters of the club align support with individual players. Many of United’s players this season have not earned their stripes. The slate is clear for them now which gives them all a platform to put themselves on. However, after what some of these players have done, it is only time before attitudes take control and they assume they won against Mourinho, which in turn could see them do the same again.

Starting XI Prediction: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to commence new era with Marcus Rashford leading the line?

Manchester United will be looking to start a new era against Cardiff City in the Premier League on Saturday evening. A 3-1 defeat away to Liverpool on Sunday resulted in the sacking of Jose Mourinho on Tuesday morning with former United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming in to replace the Portuguese for the remainder of the season. United now have a clean slate to get back on the road to recovery with all to achieve this season and plenty of points to make up.

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Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one is once again close to signing a new contract, according to the media at least, which has been said many times before. He is the best bet in goal this season. He conceded three goals in his last match, two of which he was never going to save as they were deflected goals and Sadio Mane’s opener was hit with pin-point accuracy. Still, a few conceded goals does not take the talent away, if anything, if helps that talent be nurtured even more.

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Defence: Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw

Manchester United’s defence has been much-maligned this season. Conceding 29 goals in 17 Premier League matches so far this season, one more than the entirety of last season. The same players are in the squad so the results should be similar. It is clear that things have not worked out. United have a fresh start to get things ready for next season now. Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw should start, if all are fit. I feel that is United’s best defensive lineup right now.

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Midfield Three: Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba

The midfield is the area of the pitch that the best players in the squad need to be performing. Nemanja Matic has been trusted too much recently and at times he has been laboured and slow to react. Having a trio of Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba could bring out the best of this team. Mata is probably the talent in the three, based on current form. The slate is clean and United need a reaction. These players need to perform for themselves as uncertainty could strike in the summer.

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Forward Three: Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial

Manchester United need to be scoring goals galore in order to get back on the road to greatness. With Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez both out of contention, Marcus Rashford could lead the line. He has scored two goals in the last three matches played, which suggests he’s the closest to becoming in-form. Flanked by Jesse Lingard, who has scored twice in the last four matches and Anthony Martial, who has scored once in his last two matches.

Preview: Manchester United need to switch on the entertainment factor against Cardiff under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Cardiff City -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Cardiff City Stadium

Saturday 22 December 2018; KO 17:30 GMT

Referee: Michael Oliver

Manchester United will face Cardiff City in the Premier League in Cardiff on Saturday evening. It has been a turbulent week for United. Losing 3-1 to Liverpool at Anfield last weekend was enough for the club to make a change and that came after the sacking of Jose Mourinho on Tuesday morning. Former United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been brought in to replace the Portuguese manager until the end of the season.

There has been some positivity this week, which has not been around the club since the first of Mourinho’s two and a half seasons at the club. Solskjaer has literally given the players a clean slate, also suggesting that the club will be playing attacking football, which will be a change based on the boring football that has been served up recently. Whether Solskjaer has what it takes to succeed at United remains to be seen but you cannot fault his positivity.

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Pre-Match Opinion: Something needed to change for Manchester United. Not the change has been made, the players need to earn their stripes again!

The problems at United were not just caused by Mourinho. Many seem to blame him for everything. However, similar problems, such as managers not being backed in the transfer market happened under David Moyes and to a point under Louis van Gaal. Also, the lack of footballing knowledge from above was inherent under all three managers. Some seem to solely blame Mourinho. He was at fault in places but many don’t give him credit for what he did.

At times, when United has lost matches, Mourinho made it all about him. Many scolded the former manager for this. However, few actually used the logic they were blessed with to think about reasons he made it all about himself. Mourinho was protecting his players from criticism. You only ever read criticism about Mourinho in the media after poor results, of which there had been a lot of this season alone. There are even people who suggested Mourinho abused players, such as Paul Pogba.

It just goes to show the character of people today. Criticism is seen as abuse. Supposed supporters of the club align support with individual players. Many of United’s players this season have not earned their stripes. The slate is clear for them now which gives them all a platform to put themselves on. However, after what some of these players have done, it is only time before attitudes take control and they assume they won against Mourinho, which in turn could see them do the same again.

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Team News: Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez are both out of contention for the Cardiff City match

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez will miss the Cardiff City match on Saturday evening. Chris Smalling pulled out of the Liverpool match with an injury in the warm-up at Anfield and Phil Jones and Luke Shaw had both been absent recently. Eric Bailly replaced Smalling against Liverpool and Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof and Anthony Martial all returned in the defeat at Liverpool. Solskjaer stated that Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna will have an influence on the team:

“Romelu [Lukaku] has had a couple of days off, so I’ve not seen him yet. That was decided before [I arrived], so that’s fine. I’ve not seen Alexis [Sanchez], because he’s on his way back as well. Of course, it’s Michael [Carrick] and Kieran [McKenna] who have been here for the whole season. They’ve had their say and input, but there are so many games in the next 10, 15 days, so it’s about picking a team that you think is going to get results.

“We need results but, then again, every player needs to know that they’re probably going to get their chance in this period because that’s just the nature of the game over here in England, that we have to rotate. Kieran and Michael have been great, I have to say. It’s great being back home and seeing the development already, because I played with Michael, how good a coach and man-manager he is already, so it’s been really helpful.

“The job now is to get to know the players, observe them, see the qualities that we’ve got. Of course, I’ve seen more or less every game from Norway when I’ve had time from the other job [as Molde boss]. But, to get to know the players and think about what I can do to improve them, that’s my job.”

Predicted Starting XI: Back to basics for Manchester United? Let the attack help the defence by constantly adding pressure to Cardiff’s back line…

Manchester United have some good players in their team, on paper anyway. I don’t think they have helped themselves recently by not performing. However, that is in the past now and the players have a chance to redeem themselves. at least until the summer when the club is expecting to have a permanent manager lined up for the club. With both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez both out of action still, I am expecting Marcus Rashford to lead the line, flanked by Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.

A midfield trio of Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba could get the best out of this team, cutting the shackles of defensive football away from the club. Diogo Dalot as the right-back and Luke Shaw, if fit, in the left-back role will work wonders. A centre-back partnership of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof could bring out the best of the players, settling for a stable defence and one which could be trusted for each game. Of course, David De Gea will be in goal, which goes without saying.

Match Prediction: Cardiff City have never beaten Manchester United in the Premier League. A precarious position may bring the confidence to win

Cardiff City currently sits 16th in the Premier League, just two points and two goals above the relegation positions. Neil Warnock will need to get things going in the right direction or relegation could well happen for them again this season. United are down but not out and Cardiff could try to take advantage of that. However, confidence will have been building at United this week with players looking to overcome the defensive dire football to turn on the entertainment factor…

Cardiff City 0-4 Manchester United

copyright: JW