Old Trafford, Manchester
EFL Cup 2016/17
Wednesday 26th October 2016 – KO 20:00 [Live on Sky Sports]
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistant Referees: Simon Long and Ian Hussin
Fourth Official: Lee Mason
Manchester United will be pitted against local rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford for the second time this season. Pep Guardiola’s side got the victory over United back in September, winning 2-1 with United not really showing up in the first half of the match. It was the start of a three-match losing streak for United, who turned their form around to open a six-match unbeaten run, which was ended with the devastating 4-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, which saw United struggle to even demonstrate the ability to play the game, let alone do anything of note. The travelling United supporters did the club proud at Stamford Bridge, not that the players cared about them as they were only interested in laughing and swapping shirts with their Chelsea counterparts, which shows how far United have fallen. Tonight will need to see a big result from United, who will need to step up their game considerably in order to change their fortunes.
Jose Mourinho has a good team, but when they refuse to get involved, or even try to play for the shirt, it becomes something very frustrating. The players currently are showing that they don’t care about the club, the manager, the fans – seemingly cashing in their weekly pay cheques and lording it over us minions, who have effectively allowed them to become underserved millionaires. Things need to change in order for Manchester United to prevail. United ended up being hit with two injuries from the Chelsea defeat; Marouane Fellaini with a knee injury, who will miss the match against City, and Eric Bailly, who suffered from ligament damage in his knee, which will keep him out for a period of up to two months. United already have Phil Jones on the sidelines, but to be fair, when isn’t he injured?
Mourinho will be up for getting one over Pep Guardiola at Old Trafford tonight, being that he failed more than a month ago. Guardiola has his own problems with his team with Kevin De Bruyne ruled out of the match and possibly Yaya Toure being brought in from the cold. Many United fans have suggested that Bastian Schweinsteiger should also be brought back in from the cold, but with Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin, Michael Carrick and even Marouane Fellaini ahead of him, what would be the point. He is not the player he once was, never really got involved in anything last season and seemed to prioritise his fitness for Germany over that of United. I see no point in bringing him back, letting him leave the club in January to allow him to continue his career. Many seem to criticise Jose Mourinho for this, but in bringing in another manager in three years, this kind of upheaval was always going to happen.
Let Mourinho build his team, give him this season to find the fit, judge him at the end of next season. If United lose, stop moaning about it, it has happened and cannot be changed. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get ready for the next match. Support is something you should never pick up and drop off based on results – if you do that, you are fickle.
The Derby has been fiercely contested throughout the years and tonight will be no difference. We’ve seen red cards a plenty, as well as some late, late drama – think Wayne Rooney in the League Cup in 2010, Paul Scholes securing a 1-0 away win (before receiving a smacker from G-Nev..) and Michael Owen famously sealing a 4-3 victory over their arch-rivals at Old Trafford. A fixture known for late drama, if you fancy the trend to continue tonight, you can get odds of 33/1 for United to score an injury time winner against City tonight.
Or if you’re less optimistic (and rightly so..) about a free-falling United, you can get odds of 15/1 to fail to register a shot on target in 90minutes tonight.
The ill-feeling and discontent at United at the moment was summed up by Jose Mourinho’s post-match whispering sweet-nothings into Antonio Conte’s ear. If you think he’ll be caught whispering into Guardiola’s ear this evening, you can get odds of EVENS with 888sport. Sticking with the jovial theme, any Manchester City player to celebrate by revealing a ‘Why Always Me’ T-shirt (Sunday was the 6-1 anniversary) is 100/1 with 888sport.
Manchester United Form:- LWDDW
Chelsea 4-0 L, Fenerbahçe 4-1 W, Liverpool 0-0 D, Stoke City 1-1 D, Zorya Luhansk 1-0 W
Manchester United need to turn their form around quickly. The defeat to Chelsea shows no backbone, no determination or anything to suggest that this United team was actually united. Sir Alex Ferguson would have erupted at these players at half time, making them come out onto the pitch and fight for a result. Mourinho may have erupted himself in the dressing room, but the players just did not react like they should have done. The defending was poor, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind looked out of sorts. Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera were the two players able to hold their heads high. Luke Shaw was missed, as was Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who I hope will play a part this evening.
Manchester City Form:- DLDLD
Southampton 1-1 D, Barcelona 4-0 L, Everton 1-1 D, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L, Celtic 3-3 D
Manchester City can do nothing wrong this season. Pep Guardiola is a footballing genius who does everything right and has built teams all by himself, never inheriting a good side and continuing their good form, honest. City has not won in five matches. No criticism, only praise. Guardiola has not managed in the Premier League before, so this is fine, even for the footballing genius he apparently is (not). Guardiola is a fraud, but the City faithful will continue to scream about how great he is. If United do hit back and get a result, knocking City out of their favourite cup competition, things might just get worse for the Bald Fraud, which would be funny. It is not as if many City fans passionately follow their team is it, the Etihad is never full.
Manchester United Top Scorers:
6 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 4 – Marcus Rashford, 3 – Paul Pogba, 2 – Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, 1 – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling
Manchester City Top Scorers:
11 – Sergio Agüero, 5 – Manuel Nolito, Raheem Sterling, 4 – Kelechi Iheanacho, 2 – Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, 1 – Gaël Clichy, Fabian Delph, Aleix García Serrano, Ilkay Gündogan, David Silva
Manchester United Squad;
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone
Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe
Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford
Injuries and Suspensions: Phil Jones (knee), Eric Bailly (LCL knee ligament), Marouane Fellaini (knee), Wayne Rooney (muscular injury)
Manchester City Squad:
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo, Willy Caballero
Defenders: Bacary Sagna, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandar Kolarov, Gaël Clichy, John Stones, Nicolás Otamendi
Midfielders: Fernando, Raheem Sterling, İlkay Gündoğan, Nolito, Jesús Navas, Kevin De Bruyne, Fabian Delph, David Silva, Fernandinho, Yaya Touré
Forwards: Sergio Agüero, Leroy Sané, Kelechi Iheanacho
Suspensions/Injuries: Kevin De Bruyne (calf), Pablo Zabaleta (foot), Bacary Sagna (hamstring), Fabian Delph (muscle injury)
Predicted Starting XI:
Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City