Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Sunday’s Premier League meeting between Huddersfield Town and Manchester United.
Manchester United take on Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon knowing that only victory will be enough to boost their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Already-relegated Huddersfield head into their final home game of their stay in the Premier League looking to register just their fourth win of a dismal top-flight campaign.
Huddersfield have known for some time that they will be playing Championship football next season, but head coach Jan Siewert will want to see an improvement from his players before the end of the season.
The Terriers have given a good account of themselves in a number of matches since Siewart’s arrival, but the German will be hugely disappointed with how his team have performed in recent games.
As many as fifteen goals have been conceded in their last four matches, and the manner of the 5-0 defeat at Liverpool would have set alarm bells ringing with Siewert ahead of the meeting with United.
Huddersfield’s squad should not need any extra motivation ahead of a clash with a club of that magnitude, but there have been signs that some players have already started to look ahead to the summer.
The first aim for Huddersfield at the weekend will be to avoid conceding an early goal having already found themselves behind within five minutes against each of Watford and Liverpool.
There was a period not so long ago when Huddersfield shipped just seven goals from five games, but any progress during that run of fixtures has been forgotten for some time.
Huddersfield also face the possibility of having no players reach five goals for the season, although January signing Karlan Grant has been a huge hit with four strikes coming from 11 appearances.
The 21-year-old is crucial to Huddersfield’s plans going forward, but Siewert will not guide the club to an immediate return to the top flight unless he is able to form a more resolute setup at the back.
Recent form: LLLLLL
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spent much of the last couple of weeks having to fend off questions regarding his under-performing squad, but the United boss will be confident that his side can still end the campaign on a positive note.
Whether that leads to Champions League football next season remains to be seen, but United cannot really afford to fail to defeat two of the division’s poorest teams ahead of a summer of upheaval.
Solskjaer would have been relatively satisfied with his team’s display in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea, with United being restricted to a share of the spoils due to a mistake from David de Gea.
The long-serving goalkeeper will keep his place in the side for Sunday’s encounter, but the spotlight will remain on the Spain international given the current uncertainty surrounding his future.
Solskjaer finds himself in a similar situation with a number of his squad, and the Norwegian may feel relieved to see the back of a six-month period which has brought highs and lows in equal measure.
The least that Solskjaer will expect from the closing two fixtures is for his players to prove their desire to remain in his long-term plans, with too many question marks currently hovering above Old Trafford.
Solskjaer and his squad are also under pressure to improve on a run of just two wins from seven outings, with the victories over Watford and West Ham United arguably coming in fortunate circumstances.
United have not put together a convincing win and performance since the Fulham game back on February 9, but Solskjaer will have little excuses if that is not rectified against Huddersfield and Cardiff City.
Recent form: WLWLLD
Recent form (all competitions): LWLLLD
United could be without Romelu Lukaku for the rest of the season due to a hamstring injury, but Marcus Rashford is available after a shoulder problem.
Eric Bailly is also missing with a knee injury, while doubts remain over Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jesse Lingard.
Alexis Sanchez could be given an opportunity by Solskjaer, with Anthony Martial having to make do with a place among the replacements.
Aaron Mooy may return to the Huddersfield starting lineup after missing the game with Liverpool, while Laurent Depoitre is also back in contention after recovering from a foot problem.
Centre-back Mathias Jorgensen will play no part in the match due to illness.
Huddersfield Town possible starting lineup:
Lossl; Smith, Schindler, Kongolo, Durm; Mooy, Stankovic, Bacuna; Hadergjonaj, Mounie, Grant
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Young, Jones, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic, Herrera; Sanchez, Pogba, Mata; Rashford
Head To Head
Sunday’s fixture will represent the 50th competitive game between the two clubs, with United recording 23 wins in comparison to 11 victories for Huddersfield.
Just four matches have taken place since 1972, and United have scored seven times in order to register wins in the last three contests.
However, Huddersfield did prevail by a 2-1 scoreline in the corresponding game last season.
We say: Huddersfield Town 0-3 Manchester United
United have been heavily criticised in recent weeks, but this is the perfect fixture to get back to winning ways. Solskjaer is having to deal with a number of fitness issues, but we still feel that the visitors will ease to victory in Yorkshire.