Predicted XI: Manchester United vs Cardiff City – Mata, Rooney and Januzaj start

Predicted XI: Manchester United vs Cardiff City – Mata, Rooney and Januzaj start

David de Gea – De Gea will be looking for a solid game against Cardiff after he made his first high-profile mistake of the season in Manchester United’s last match against Sunderland.

Rafael – He’ll be looking for a strong push now in the second half of the season in order to aid his increasingly desperate World Cup hopes.

Chris Smalling – With suspension to Nemanja Vidic and injury to Michael Carrick in midfield, Smalling is set to continue to start at centre-back.

Jonny Evans – Evans is United’s undisputed first-choice centre-back and will be looking for more goals this season to compliment his header last week against Sunderland.

cardiff-home-28-janPatrice Evra – The Frenchman proved his fitness coming on as a substitute last week, so will be ready to start on Tuesday night.

Phil Jones – The injury to Carrick means Phil Jones is set to continue as United’s defensive midfielder even with the return to training of Marouane Fellaini, who is set to start on the bench against Cardiff.

Tom Cleverley – After three games out of the starting line-up, Tom Cleverley may be ready to come back in to central midfield on Tuesday.

Juan Mata – Mata is set to be given his full debut against Cardiff in one of the three positions behind the striker.

Wayne Rooney – Rooney has returned to full training and is in line for a start against the Welsh opposition.

Adnan Januzaj – United’s in-form player is likely to make-up the creative trio playing behind the striker on Tuesday evening.

Danny Welbeck – Despite a return to training for Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck is likely to be given the chance to continue up front against Cardiff.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

The return to training of Rooney, Van Persie and Fellaini give Moyes some very welcome options in addition to the signing of Mata. Especially in the case of Rooney and Van Persie, Moyes will have the away game against Arsenal in a couple of weeks as a marker point for getting the pair back to complete match fitness. In the meantime, he may be sparing and careful with their playing time as to not recur any injury.

Despite the injury to Michael Carrick, United’s central midfield options are not bare. Any of Jones, Cleverley, Fletcher, Giggs and Fellaini could be involved against Cardiff.

It will also be a battle for Antonio Valencia, Shinji Kagawa and Ashley Young to find a place in United’s starting XI or even on the bench.

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About The Author

Tom has a degree in Politics & Economics. He was previously sports editor of a student newspaper and is now working in the charity sector.