City’s targets? Staying up and finishing above Swansea...
So, the Welsh football renaissance continues apace... Indeed. League Cup holders Swansea are now joined in the top flight by fierce rivals Cardiff, who strolled to the Championship title last season after years of trying – 51 years, to be exact.
What do we need to know about the new boys? Managed by 41-year- old Scotsman Malky McKay, the former Watford boss gave the Bluebirds the promotion they were so desperate for in just his second season in charge. The club was bought by the current Malaysian owners in 2010 and while they have helped deliver the Premier League dream after only three years, they’ve also courted controversy by changing the club’s colours from blue to red and adding a Welsh dragon to the badge.
A bold move. So have they added to the squad in advance of their top-flight challenge? Not as much as many may expected. They spent a record £8.5m on striker Andreas Cornelius from FC Copenhagen (who scored 18 goals en route to the Danish Superliga title last term), but lost out to Southampton in the battle for Celtic’s midfield muscleman Victor Wanyama. They then topped their club record again by paying a reported £9million for Tottenham defender Steven Caulker. They also signed Chilean international Gary Medel from Sevilla; nicknamed 'Pitbull', it's thought he'll add some bite to the Bluebirds' midfield.
So when do we cross the border? United’s first trip to the new Cardiff City Stadium (they moved there from Ninian Park in 2009) is on Sunday 24 November, while Cardiff will no doubt fill their old Trafford allocation on Tuesday 28 January.
Who’s their main man? He has a Marmite effect on many – particularly among United fans thanks to his ties with Liverpool and City – but local lad Craig Bellamy is undoubtedly the Bluebirds’ talisman.
Any interesting facts or figures? It’s been 37 years since United and Cardiff faced off – in our brief trip to Division Two back in 1975. United won that OT clash 4-0.