Defending Premier League champions Manchester United will take the pitch for the first time in two weeks on Sunday when they travel to Wales to battle an upset-minded Cardiff City squad.
A month ago, it looked as if David Moyes' first year at Old Trafford was poised to go up in flames. But three consecutive victories have quieted naysayers and launched United up the league table.
Meanwhile, Malky Mackay's Bluebirds have been unable to build any momentum this season. Cardiff have beaten up on other struggling clubs like Fulham and Swansea City since stunning Manchester City two games into the new season, but have fallen flat against stiffer competition.
That will have to change this weekend if the Welsh side hope to establish themselves as contenders.
Here we'll get you set with everything you need to know before kickoff.
Date: Sunday, November 24, 2013
Start Time: 11 a.m. ET, 4 p.m. GMT
Where: Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
Watch: NBC Sports Network (U.S.), Sky Sports (U.K.)
Cardiff City: 22.5 percent
Manchester United: 53.2 percent
*Percentages according to Bloomberg Sports.
Top Storyline: Red Devils Aim to Continue Hot Streak
As already mentioned, United have rebounded from a dismal start to win three straight matches and climb all the way up to fifth in the league table. The Red Devils' most recent victory was the most impressive of the three, as it came against league-leading Arsenal. And as a result, Moyes' club is now just five points back of the Gunners for the top spot.
Therefore, the conversation leading up to and throughout Sunday's matchup is sure to center on the defending champions and their much-improved play all around.
A victory over Cardiff could lift United even further up the table.
Red Devils leading goalscorer Robin van Persie, who has helped spark United's turnaround, will also be a topic of conversation if he ends up playing. The Dutchman has been a goalscoring machine as of late and is only one goal off the pace of the league-leading mark with seven in 10 appearances.
The Bluebirds have been up and down at home this season and have yet to record a signature victory in Wales since their shocking 3-2 upset of Manchester City back in August.
Meanwhile, this is a United squad that have feasted on the league's lesser teams on the road in 2013-14, recently swallowing up Sunderland and Fulham.
With a sizzling van Persie having scored a goal in each of his past four Premier League outings and boasting seven goals total to just nine for the entire Cardiff City squad, you've got to feel good about United's chances on Sunday if he's able to play.
The Red Devils possess an unfair firepower advantage in this matchup and shouldn't be expected to come away with anything less than three points.
Cardiff City 1, Manchester United 2
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