On the road yet again, United face Premier League newcomers Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s stadium. David Wagner’s men started the season in spectacular style; challenging José Mourinho’s men for top spot due their unbeaten & equally impressive starts. Despite being two hugely different clubs, it could be very tight between them as their Premier League journey’s continue.
The Yorkshire club have not won since their three match winning run to start the season – meaning they are winless in six games. However, they have only lost once at home this season; and that was to Tottenham Hotspur who were at their best. Unfortunately for the Terriers, injuries have plagued the usually high-pressing, forward-thinking team. As it stands, Phillip Billing, Michael Hefele, Kasey Palmer, Collin Quaner, and Steve Mounie all out injured for the match this weekend. Their draw away to Burnley was the last point Wagner’s men picked up and that was now almost a month ago. In terms of individuals, goalkeeper Jonas Lössl made a solid start to the season but has since faltered. Their ranks also include centre-midfielder & playmaker Aaron Mooy; whose exploits last season earned him a permanent move from Manchester City. Going forward, Tom Ince & Laurent Depoitre are their main focal points to either create chances or finish them off. The aforementioned likeable style that Huddersfield adopt has earned Wagner praise but he comes up against his true opposite in Mourinho now. The match will be the first top-flight meeting between the two sides since the 1971/72 season, with United winning both games.
With a hampered squad, United were solid in their last match but continue on their away travels in hope of getting over a deficit of key players once again. Mourinho will have to pick from the same pool of players he had in midweek as he confirmed that there were no changes to the squad in terms of fitness prior to the match. That injury still is at considerable length too, with Eric Bailly, Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Phil Jones, Paul Pogba, and Marcos Rojo on the sidelines at the moment. Marcus Rashford is fit in spite of picking up a knock in that midweek victory but if Mourinho’s rotation strategy yet again continues, it will be Anthony Martial starting ahead of him; due to the fact the pair have been consistently rotated in terms of starting eleven and substitute since the beginning of the season. Chris Smalling & Antonio Valencia should start in defence but Daley Blind & Matteo Darmian’s are not as assured with Luke Shaw and even Axel Tuanzebe available. Jesse Lingard could be in line for a start along with Juan Mata & Romelu Lukaku going forward, as Henrik Mkhitaryan’s dip shoes no sign of changing. It United keep a clean sheet, likely with the key aid of David De Gea, they will become the first ever Premier League team to keep eight clean sheets from their opening nine games. Finally, Lee Mason will referee the match.
It’s sure to be a more intriguing match out on the pitch than on paper, as both teams really need a win. Despite opposite goals for the season, this is a crucial match for both clubs none-the-less. Mourinho against Wagner is real clash of philosophies & styles; but who will come out on top?