Manchester United will be hoping to put an end to their miserable winless streak when they travel to already relegated Huddersfield on Sunday.
The 2018-19 Premier League season is all but over. For Huddersfield though, it has been over for a few gameweeks. The Terriers were unable to beat the drop and have been confirmed as one of the three teams that will be relegated to Championship for the 2019-20 campaign.
Now, it is about playing for pride and perhaps, the prospect of finishing with more points on the board than their current paltry sum of 14. Their performances were improving, but the Liverpool game showed the gulf of difference between the top Premier League teams and Huddersfield.
Manchester United’s season has unraveled quite quickly. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seemed to have steadied the ship. But, the manager has seen the early push vanish, with the club recording just 2 wins in their last 10 matches in all competitions. Now, they are sixth on the Premier League table, with a slim chance of making it into the top four by the end of the season.
To do that though, United have to ensure they win both of their remaining matches and hope other results go their way. The first step starts on Sunday when they face Huddersfield, a team that shocked Manchester United when the two teams last met at The John Smith’s Stadium in the Premier League.
Team News & Tactics
While Ben Hamer and Abdelhamid Sabiri are sidelined for the rest of the season, Huddersfield will have to assess the trio of Philip Billing, Demeaco Duhaney and striker Laurent Depoitre, who are all doubtful for the Manchester United clash.
Despite the 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool, we should not see any changes to the back four and the goalkeeper, with Jonas Lossl likely to retain his position between the posts. Christopher Schindler was named Huddersfield’s Player of the Year and will hope to end the campaign on a strong note defensively, starting with the match against Manchester United.
Aaron Mooy should come in for Jonathan Hogg, with Juninho Bacuna set to retain the other spot in central midfield. Florent Hadergjonaj should come in on the right, with Isaac Mbenza making way. Karlan Grant will be stationed on the left and Jon Gorenc Stankovic is likely to keep his spot in holding midfield despite his mare of a display against Liverpool.
With Depoitre doubtful, Steve Mounie should continue upfront for the Terriers.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Lossl; Smith, Schindler, Kongolo, Durm; Stankovic, Hadergjonaj, Mooy, Bacuna, Grant; Mounie
The injuries have piled up for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is in a precarious situation, especially in attack, with Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and even Mason Greenwood either injured or doubtful to make the team on Sunday. Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are also either sidelined or on the ‘maybe’ list, which makes things a lot tougher for the manager.
Sergio Romero’s injury means David de Gea should continue as the Manchester United goalkeeper, despite his recent awry form. Antonio Valencia has returned to training. But, Sunday should see Ashley Young start once again, amidst much criticism from the United faithfuls. Victor Lindelof is certain to start at the back and we could see Jones partner the Swede, if he can be fit in time.
Luke Shaw is the only Manchester United player who has shown a bit of positive curve during the dreaded 10-match run and he will start on the left side again, looking to influence the result with his presence on both sides of the pitch.
Solskjaer should opt for the 4-4-2 diamond once again and is likely to retain the midfielders he started against Chelsea – Nemanja Matic to sit at the base of the diamond, Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera as the two central midfielders and Juan Mata in a number 10 role up ahead.
We could see Anthony Martial being handed a start, with the other spot likely to go to United flop Alexis Sanchez, who will be looking to redeem himself to an extent with a good performance against Huddersfield.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2 Diamond): de Gea; Young, Jones, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic; Herrera, Pogba; Mata; Sanchez, Martial
1. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.66
2. Manchester United Asian Handicap – 1.5 @ 1.960
1. Anthony Martial to score 2 or more @ 7.50
1. Manchester United have won just two games in their last 10 in all competitions.
2. Huddersfield are on a current streak of 8 Premier League losses.
3. Manchester United have failed to score in five of their last 10 matches in all competitions.
4. David de Gea has failed to record a clean sheet in any of his last 13 appearances in all competitions.
5. No Huddersfield player has been able to touch the 5-goal mark in the Premier League this season. Karlan Grant is the leading goalscorer, with 4 goals from just 11 appearances.
Player to Watch
There has been much criticism directed at the Frenchman after clips appeared of his lax attitude in the pre-game warm-up ahead of the Chelsea tie. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also raised questions over the player’s attitude problems, citing that Martial has the talent but also needs the temperament to become what he has always been touted to be.
With Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Mason Greenwood all not fit enough, we could see Martial start upfront in a two-pronged attack with Alexis Sanchez. Both have something to prove and Manchester United’s top four hopes will be in Martial’s hands. He has shown he has it in the locker. Now it’s time to deliver.
Huddersfield Town 0-4 Manchester United
Manchester United need a win and are already aware that anything less than three points will end their hopes of earning a top four finish in the Premier League. Huddersfield are playing for pride. But, the players are also playing in hopes of earning a move to some other team in the top-tier in the big leagues or to impress and earn a regular place in the starting eleven for the upcoming campaign.
We expect Manchester United to come in with intent and perhaps, to deliver a battering quite similar to what Huddersfield received at the hands of Liverpool last gameweek. An easy 4-0 win for the visitors and finally a clean sheet for David De Gea.