On a Saturday when Manchester United will mark the 60th anniversary of the Munich disaster by observing a minute’s silence – they will host Huddersfield Town as the two sides will aim to dust themselves off and get back in winning ways – as Premier League moves into the busy month of February.
Manchester United suffered a league defeat for the first time in a while – at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur in the capital, where they were out-thought and outperformed from kick-off to the final whistle. The defeat was United’s fourth this season which further accentuated Mourinho’s poor record away from the home against the top six sides – with the win at Emirates back in November being his only positive result since he took over the reins at United.
Yet, with other results going their way, particularly Chelsea’s corresponding loss to Bournemouth at home – has kept the Red Devils second in the league – now 15 points below the league leaders as Mourinho virtually threw in the towel in the post-match with regard to the Premier League title race or the lack thereof, this campaign. In a month where Manchester United face winnable opposition leading up to the home fixture against Chelsea, it is important that they start the month on a positive note.
For Huddersfield, things look pretty bleak at the moment. The Terriers sit 17th in the league – with only a point keeping them above the drop zone, David Wagner’s side could do with not losing at this moment in time. The visitors are on a four-game losing streak – with their most recent defeat coming at Anfield.
Having accrued only 2 points from the last 18 available, Huddersfield Town are officially the worst side in the league based on recent form in the last six fixtures and will most certainly need a miracle at Old Trafford – something they managed to achieve in the reverse fixture early on in the season.
Marouane Fellaini sustained knee ligament damage against Tottenham and is now set for another lengthy period on the sidelines. Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are still nursing long-term injuries while out of favour Daley Blind may not feature on Saturday.
Danny Williams and Martin Cranie are still doubts for Huddersfield, while Jon Gorenc Stankovic and Elias Kachunga are certainly injured. Laurent Depoitre and Steve Mounie will battle for one spot in attack after both starting up front on Tuesday.
- Huddersfield could become the first promoted side to complete a league double over Manchester United since 1986/87, when the Red Devils lost both of their matches against Wimbledon.
- United have not lost consecutive PL matches since May 2017, which also featured a defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.
- Huddersfield are winless in their last seven PL outings (three draws followed by four losses).
- Since the start of last season, Alexis Sanchez has been involved in eight goals in his nine PL matches against promoted sides (seven goals, one assist), including a strike against Huddersfield in Arsenal’s 5-0 win in November.
Paul Pogba – Manchester United
The French midfielder has had a mixed bag of a season so far – with his numbers in line with the best performing individuals in the league yet somehow not exactly mirroring their influence on the side. Pogba was sensational in the early weeks of the campaign, playing a vital role not just to sustain a high level of results but also affected the way Manchester United played football home and away.
His absence in the middle of the season left a void that unsettled Mourinho and while his comeback has not been spectacularly successful, one could see how much better United could be with him in midfield, orchestrating the football. Even with clear signs of him not being used in a way that would allow him to operate at his maximum capacity, Pogba will be crucial to the process of experimentation that the Portuguese is carrying out and one that will continue on to Saturday.
Aaron Mooy – Huddersfield Town
The Australian midfielder seemed to have set the tone of the Yorkshire-based club when he scored the opening goal in the famous victory against the Red Devils in the first half of the campaign. But the Terriers have nose-dived into reality and struggled since to get themselves out of a rut they are in at the moment – with no win in 7 games. The visitors will need to be playing out of their skin – right from the first whistle to the last and exploit the obvious uncertainty of United at the back – if they were to leave Old Trafford with their heads held high.
Manchester United to emerge victorious on a comfortable afternoon.
Manchester United 3-0 Huddersfield Town