Friday 2 February 2018

Match preview: United v Huddersfield Town

Saturday's visit of Huddersfield is an occasion far more important than just another Premier League match - it will be a poignant and emotional day as United remember those we lost in the Munich air crash. Tuesday marks the 60th anniversary of the disaster - the darkest day in the club's history - and Old Trafford will fall silent before kick-off against the Terriers to pay respects to the 23 people, eight of whom were United players, who lost their lives on that fateful day. Fans will also pay their respects outside the ground with readings and prayers, and a rendition of the "Flowers of Manchester" underneath the memorial on the East Stand concourse.
As well as commerorations on the day itself, the home fixture closest to the 6th February is one that always has added significance, and this year even more so 60 years on. The players will wear black armbands and Jose called for his side to honour those who died in the most fitting of ways - with victory. 

He said: "I think it should affect the team in a positive way, if we believe those victims are watching the match I think it's one more reason for a happy day and for a good performance and result. It is an amazing day to show respect to them and their families, the passion for the club, the strength and yes, a minute's silence, but they would love happiness, joy, a Manchester United victory, points and goals. It is something we will try and bring them. 
"As Manchester United manager of course it becomes more important and for me, every supporter and every player, tomorrow is a special day."

Marouane Fellaini will miss the match through the knee injury he sustained at Wembley, but Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are back in training and could return later this month.  Alexis Sanchez is set for his home debut and David de Gea will make his 300th appearance for United in goal. For Huddersfield, Danny Williams (dead leg) is out, and defender Chris Lowe has picked up a minor knock. Congolese forward Elias Kachunga is the Terriers only long term absentee. 
David Wagner's side inflicted United's first league defeat of the season back in October in a superb start to their first ever Premier League campaign. First half goals from Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre sealed one of the shock results of the season, and Marcus Rashford's late strike proved merely a consolation.
But the Terriers have lost their bite since then and arrive at Old Trafford winless in seven and on a run of four successive league defeats. In the ridiculously congested scrap at the bottom of the table, Huddersfield currently sit 17th, a single point outside the bottom three, and they could find themselves in the drop zone for the first time this season if other results go against them. The two sides could meet again in the FA Cup on 17 February, if Wagner's men beat Championship side Birmingham in their midweek replay. This is Huddersfield's first visit to Old Trafford for 46 years, when United won 2-0 in the 1971/72 season. 

Form guide: United W W W W W L Huddersfield Town L W L L D L 
Match odds: United 8/1 Draw 15/2 Huddersfield Town 50/1
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

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