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Monday, 27 January 2014
Mata in line for Old Trafford debut
David Moyes has indicated he wants the former Chelsea man, who
completed a £37.1 million move on Saturday, to be involved, while Ole
Gunnar Solskjaer returns to his former club
The Spain midfielder completed his £37.1
million move from Chelsea on Saturday and is expected to go straight
into the starting line-up.
Mata's arrival is a timely boost for
United, who crashed out of the Capital One Cup on penalties in their
semi-final against Sunderland last week on the back of a 3-0 top-flight
defeat at Chelsea.
Manager David Moyes will be expecting Mata to provide the touch of
class that United have been lacking in what has been a disappointing
season so far for the Premier League champions.
prospects of retaining their title are forlorn, as Moyes' men are
seventh in the table and 14 points adrift of leaders Arsenal.
will still be confident of clinching qualification for the Champions
League, though, with Liverpool six points better off than the Old
United drew 2-2 at Cardiff back in November in
the first meeting between the two sides since 1975, but Solskjaer has
since replaced Malky Mackay at the Welsh club.
can expect a rapturous reception on his return to Old Trafford, where he
spent 11 years during his playing days and enjoyed a major role in such
a successful period in United's history, including scoring the winner
in the 1999 Champions League final.
The Norwegian has been
charged with the task of keeping Cardiff in the Premier League, but they
slipped to the bottom of the table with a 4-2 defeat at Manchester City
in their last top flight match.
Cardiff need to improve their
away form if they are to avoid a return to the Championship, as they
have won only once on their travels in the top flight.
side did win at Bolton Wanderers in the fourth round of the FA Cup on
Saturday, but Cardiff have taken just a point from their last six
Premier League games.
The Cardiff boss will be hoping United strike duo Robin van Persie (thigh) and Wayne Rooney (groin) are not yet ready to return.
will also assess the fitness of Rio Ferdinand (knee), Nani (hamstring)
and Michael Carrick (ankle), but captain Nemanja Vidic will not
definitely not feature as he serves the second of a two-match suspension
following his red card at Chelsea.
Kenwyne Jones could make his
Cardiff debut if a swap deal with Stoke City involving Peter Odemwingie
goes through in time and forward Jo Inge Berget could make his bow
following his move from Molde last week.
The likes of Fraizer Campbell, Steven Caulker and Craig Noone are expected to return to the starting line-up.