Preview: Northampton Town v Manchester United – EFL Cup 2016/17


Sixfields Stadium, Northampton

EFL Cup 2016/17

Wednesday 21st September 2016 – KO 19:45 [Live on Sky Sports]

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Assistant Referees: Steve Child and Marc Perry

Fourth Official: Andre Marriner

Manchester United will battle League One side Northampton Town in the third round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday evening, after losing three matches in a row in the Premier League and the UEFA Europa League. Jose Mourinho’s United side started the season well, winning their first four matches of the season in August, then after the international break they seem to be struggling to scrap any kind of play together. United on paper are a good side, but in practice, they have been playing terribly, especially in the first half of the last three matches. Against Manchester City and Feyenoord, United did play better in the second half, but that did not happen again Watford at the weekend, where United lost 3-1 in the final minutes of the match, despite battling back from 1-0 down with Marcus Rashford equalising.

Losing three matches in a row is not the best form for a club to be in at this moment in time, especially going against a side who will turn up to face United. Northampton Town could have been declared bankrupt 10 months ago and now face their biggest match of the season hosting United at the Sixfields Stadium. Rob Page had banned talk of entertaining United until yesterday with the Cobbler’s having all eyes on the match, which if they win, will put them into the stratosphere, in the media at least, which will see more negative press heading United’s way. United have one eye on the Premier League clash with Leicester City on Saturday, which will be a match they need to hit back in, beating the champions, who do not seem to be in great form this season and sit in eleventh place this season, which is not a great start for champions and makes you look back last season at Chelsea, who were not in great form throughout the season, and were champions themselves.

United need to find themselves again. Their play is lethargic and they don’t seem to have the winning mentality that they had at the start of the season. Watching United U23’s play against Derby County at Old Trafford on Monday night, taking the lead, then being pegged back by a Derby goal, then taking the lead again, before Derby equalised again, before taking the lead again. That is the United way many misses. United, despite being pegged back, did once try to find the lead again. That never give up attitude seems to have gone and needs to be found. Having a team like Watford beat you, fir the first time in 30 years at Vicarage Road, you do wonder whether the fire will ever come back. After conceding the first goal, United should have hit back hard, putting themselves into the lead, and show no fear in doing so again and again. That was not the case, though. United were more like a pussy cat than a lion, and of that does not change, it is going to be a long, hard season.

Wayne Rooney is a problem that Jose Mourinho needs to get to the bottom of. His fire is no longer there and looks like it has been dampened out and never to return. He is pulling Paul Pogba back and keeping players out of the team which should be ahead of them if they are fit. When Henrikh Mkhitaryan comes back, he should be ahead of Rooney in the number ten role. Rooney has no place in any United team at the moment until he can find his feet and show that he is worth something to the team. The captain should be leading from the front, but he is one of the main bottlers this season and if he does not shape up, he should be shipped out. I don’t see a United win. If the United that has turned up over the last three matches turns up. The Cobblers could seek all they can from this match if that is the case.

Manchester United Form:- LLLWW

Watford 3-1 L, Feyenoord 1-0 L, Manchester City 2-1 L, Hull City 1-0 W, Southampton 2-0 W

Northampton Town Form:- LWWDW

Chesterfield 3-1 L, Walsall 2-0 W, MK Dons 3-2 W, Coventry City 1-1 D, West Bromwich Albion 2-2 (4-3 penalties) W

Manchester United Top Scorers:

5 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 2 – Marcus Rashford, 1 – Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney

Northampton Town Top Scorers:

4 – Alex Revell, 2 – Harry Beautyman, Own Goal, Matthew Taylor, 1 – Paul Anderson, Zander Diamond, John-Joe O’Toole

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: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (thigh muscle strain), Phil Jones (knee), Luke Shaw (groin), Anthony Martial (concussion)

Northampton Town Squad:

Manager: Rob Page

Goalkeepers: Adam Smith, Paddy Kenny, David Cornell

Defenders: Brendan Moloney, David Buchanan, Zander Diamond, Gabriel Zakuani, Aaron Phillips, Raheem Hanley, Lewin Nyatanga, Rod McDonald

Midfielders: Paul Anderson, Lawson D’Ath, Joel Byrom, Kenji Gorré, Jak McCourt, Alfie Potter, Harry Beautyman, Shaun McWilliams, Emmanuel Sonupe, John-Joe O’Toole, Matt Taylor

Forwards: Marc Richards, Alex Revell, Sam Hoskins, JJ Hooper

Injuries and Suspensions: N/A

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Northampton Town 2-1 Manchester United

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