United's Welsh legend Ryan Giggs is desperate to feature in what he calls an "emotional" return to his home city, while the fixture also marks the 60th anniversary of Duncan Edward's debut against this weekend's opponents.
David Moyes, however, will be more concerned with his side's fitness than any historical significance. The Red Devils are without the injured Phil Jones, Michael Carrick, and Danny Welbeck (who we learned this week will not need an operation for his knee), while defenders Nemanja Vidic and Rafael Da Silva face late fitness checks. The boss can afford no more injuries as United embark on a hectic period of 13 matches in 6 weeks.
And with leaders Arsenal easily dispatching Southampton on Saturday, Moyes will know this is no time to squander the momentum his side have picked up over a nine-match unbeaten run. Of course, Cardiff present a threat at home, but this is a side better exemplified by last week's lackluster loss to Aston Villa than their famous 3-2 win over Manchester City earlier this season. United must expect a win.
Cardiff City have no such fitness worries. Peter Odemwingie and Aron Gunnarsson have been passed fit after returning from international duty, and big Danish forward Andreas Cornelius is finally back again too. On the pitch, the irrepressible Craig Bellamy will relish the chance to burn United once again--it was the fiery Welshman who scored twice to grab the lead in that famous 2009 Manchester derby before Michael Owen bagged the winner. At the other end, Steven Caulker, Gary Medel, and keeper Gary Marshall compose an impressive spine for a promoted side that will have to be at its best if Cardiff hope to keep United's front-men at bay. Scoring early to silence the boisterous crowd will be key.
<a href="http://sharemytactics.com/3166/" title="Click to view tactic"><img src="http://sharemytactics.com/3166/Manchester-United-v-Cardiff-formation-tactics.png" alt="Manchester United v Cardiff - Football tactics and formations" /></a>
On the back of a busy international break, United's lineup is as hard to predict as ever. Expect RVP (if fit) and Rooney to resume their partnership up front. A fresh Ryan Giggs will likely start on his return to the city of his birth.
Injuries mean the defence largely picks itself: Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, and Smalling may be the only available players with any experience. That said, if there was a time to toss in Fabio or Buttner, this is it. Patrice Evra could perhaps use some time to recover after France's emotional WCQ over Ukraine.
Fellaini, suspended for Leverkusen midweek, beats out Anderson--the Brazilian should get his chance on Wednesday. Januzaj, unlike Kagawa, has spent the last two weeks training for this match and should join either Antonio Valencia (a Moyes favorite) or Nani on the wings.
On that note, it's time for some help from the TBB readers. Can you guess United's protean midfield? Pick your wingers in the poll, and, as always, feel free to drop your team selection in the comments below.