Manchester United will look to maintain their unbeaten run when they visit The John Smith’s Stadium to take on Huddersfield Town on Saturday

Premier League moves into Gameweek 9 this weekend, with the first quarter of the season already set to be completed. In West Yorkshire, Manchester United will be aiming to get back to winning ways and continue their unbeaten run when they travel to The John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

The hosts’ form has petered out after a strong start to life in the Premier League. The Terriers have failed to win any of their last six games, having gone unbeaten in August and have plummeted to 12th in the table. David Wagner’s men come into the match on the back of a 2-0 loss to Swansea last weekend.

Manchester United, on the other hand, are flying high at the start of the season. Jose Mourinho’s men are yet to lose a game thus far, and have won all but two of their games. Their most recent result was a hard-fought 1-0 win over Benfica in the Champions League after what was an equally hard-earned point at Anfield over the last weekend.

The two sides last met in the erstwhile Division One League, with Manchester United running out 2-0 winners at Old Trafford. Ahead of their first ever meeting in the Premier League, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.

Team News & Tactics

Huddersfield Town

David Wagner does not have any fresh injury concerns ahead of the visit of Manchester United. However, the Huddersfield boss has a number of players dealing with fitness issues, and could be without as many as six first-team players on Saturday.

Kasey Palmer (hamstring), Michael Hefele (Achilles) and Jon Gorenc-Stankovic (knee) are certain absentees, with none of the players expected to return till mid-November at the earliest. But, Wagner is sweating over the fitness of Steve Mounie (heel), Collin Quaner (knee) and Philip Billing (ankle).

Aaron Mooy, though, is poised to return to the starting eleven after being dropped from the side against Swansea last weekend. Meanwhile, Jonas Lossl will be hoping to rediscover his early season form in order to frustrate Romelu Lukaku & co.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lossl; Smith, Zanka, Schindler, Malone; Mooy, Hogg; Kachunga, Ince, van La Parra; Depoitre

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho’s injury woes are easing with each passing week, with only one long-term absentee from his first-team squad. However, the Manchester United boss is still dealing with a number of short-term roster issues ahead of the trip to Huddersfield.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the long-term absentee, but the Swede returned to training earlier this week, and is targeting a return in December – a month ahead of schedule. Marcos Rojo, too, has made an early recovery from knee injury, and will be available in the next two weeks.

There are concerns around the fitness of Eric Bailly (groin) and Michael Carrick (calf) though, with Mourinho unable to provide a set return date for the duo. But, Paul Pogba (hamstring) and Marouane Fellaini (knee) are expected to be available within the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, there are additional concerns on the team news front, with reports claiming that Henrikh Mkhitaryan isn’t a part of the travelling squad. In the Armenian’s absence, Juan Mata could start in the number ten role, with Jesse Lingard or Ashley Young likely to be deployed on the right flank.

However, Marcus Rashford is fit and available after recovering from a minor knee injury that caused him to limp off the field against Benfica. But, Anthony Martial is expected to start in the Englishman’s stead, with Mourinho unlikely to risk the teenager.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Blind; Herrera, Matic; Lingard, Mata, Martial; Lukaku

Manchester United

Key Stats

  • Manchester United and Huddersfield are meeting for the first time in the Premier League, although the Red Devils are unbeaten in their last ten top flight meetings with the Terriers (W7 D3).
  • Huddersfield have managed to score just one goal in their last six games, and have failed to find the back of the net in four consecutive matches for the first time since August 2004.
  • Jose Mourinho has lost just two of his 39 previous Premier League games against newly-promoted sides (W33 D4) – against Crystal Palace in 2013-14 and Bournemouth in 2015-16.
  • Manchester United have kept seven clean sheets in their first eight Premier League games this season. If they manage a shut out on Saturday, the Red Devils will become the first-ever top flight side to keep eight clean sheets in their first nine games of a season.
  • A win on Saturday would see Manchester United equal their club record for most points after the first nine Premier League games (23).

Betting Odds

Favourable Bets

1. Manchester United Half-Time/Full-Time @2.00

2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @1.95

3. Manchester United Clean Sheet – YES @1.72

4. Romelu Lukaku to score anytime @1.66

Underdog Bets

1. Manchester United to win Both Halves @3.00

Player To Watch

Juan Mata

A nippy old customer. (Photo courtesy - Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

A nippy old customer. (Photo courtesy – Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Considered as one of the best playmakers in the Premier League, Juan Mata has seldom been able to showcase his entire set of skills at Manchester United, having been mostly deployed on the right side of the attack, albeit with a slightly free role.

With Henrikh Mkhitaryan reportedly not making the trip to West Yorkshire due to unspecified reasons, Mata has the opportunity to start in his preferred number 10 role. The Armenian has struggled to produce his early season form in the last few gameweeks.

Thus, a strong outing in the hole by Mata could perhaps help him cement a place in the role he favours playing in. His creativity from a central role could also prove to be beneficial to the form of Romelu Lukaku, who hasn’t been as effective in recent weeks.

Prediction

Huddersfield Town 0-2 Manchester United

After a rampaging start to the campaign, things have slowed down somewhat in the last two games for Manchester United. The game against a struggling Huddersfield side though, provides Jose Mourinho’s men with a chance to get back to their best form ahead of far tougher tests in the coming weeks.

The Terriers have largely been listless since August and are unlikely to pose much of a threat against a solid Manchester United side. Romelu Lukaku might find this game as the perfect outing to get back to scoring ways, and the Belgian should guide his side to a comfortable 2-0 win on Saturday.

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