Preview: Carabao Cup final place at stake if United can beat City by three clear goals; resurgent City to avoid defeat?

Manchester City -v- Manchester United

Carabao Cup

Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Wednesday 29 January 2020, KO 19:45 GMT

Referee: Andre Marriner Assistants: Simon Long, Richard West Fourth Official: Peter Bankes

Manchester United will travel across the city to face rivals Manchester City at the Etihad in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday evening. After losing 3-1 at Old Trafford at the start of the month Ole Gunnar Solskjaer side will have a lot to do in order to knock Pep Guardiola’s side out of the competition. United will need to score twice to level the tie on aggregate.

United beat City at the Etihad back in December with a 2-1 victory, something which Guardiola’s team were not ready for. After seeing this United side dominate, albeit against Tranmere, if the same formation and mentality were applied in this game, United could get a result away from home with could put them into the final but it will need to be a big result with United needing to aim for a clean sheet, which will be a big task.

United need to strengthen their squad with days left before the closure of the January transfer window and nothing seemingly happening although rumours still link United to Bruno Fernandes with other reports suggesting that the club is seeking a new striker in this transfer window – too little too late? However, with little seeming to materialise, it could be that United will continue with what they have, which is not enough.

Form: City in much better form than United, however, the belief from the victory over Tranmere could inspire United to achieve what may seem the impossible against City.

Manchester United: WLLWWL

Tranmere Rovers 6-0 W, Burnley 2-0 L, Liverpool 2-0 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Norwich City 4-0 W, Manchester City 3-1 L

Manchester City: WWDWWW

Fulham 4-0 W, Sheffield United 1-0 W, Crystal Palace 2-2 D, Aston Villa 6-1 W, Manchester United 3-1 W, Port Vale 4-1 W

Top Scorers: City have scored more goals than United this season but despite a lack of creativity, United have not done all that badly.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 12 – Anthony Martial, 10 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

This season has seen United taking a step or two forward, then moving back at least two steps soon after. There is little consistency in the team after being beaten 2-0 by both Liverpool and Burnley recently. Un iced hit back and suck Tranmere for six in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup on Sunday, gaining themselves some confidence ready for the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against City on Wednesday.

Manchester City Goals: 21 – Sergio Agüero, 20 – Raheem Sterling, 16 – Gabriel Jesus, 9 – Riyad Mahrez, 7 – Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, 5 – Ilkay Gündogan, 3 – Phil Foden, Nicolás Otamendi, David Silva, 2 – Rodri, 1 – João Cancelo, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Kyle Walker, Oleksandr Zinchenko

City may not be the runaway leaders in the Premier League this season, like they once were but they are still a team in form which will take a lot to beat them. A 3-1 victory at Old Trafford at the start of the month gave United a slight lifeline to remain in this competition with a place in the Carabao Cup final at stake. However, winning by three clear goals will be tough at the Etihad, even though United won 2-1 there last month.

Team News: Injuries still problematic for United with four key players on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. City have players out of action but the impact, for them, has been small.

United will be without Scott McTominay (knee), Axel Tuanzebe (thigh), Paul Pogba (ankle/foot), Marcos Rojo (calf/shin/heel), and Marcus Rashford (lower back) for this match. Tim Fosu-Mensah is lacking match fitness so might be included in the squad, albeit on the bench. Solskjaer may need to use the same players from Sunday’s match. He did manage to rest David De Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Daniel James.

City will definitely be without Leroy Sane (knee), and could see the likes of Riyad Mahrez (knock) and Joao Cancelo (ankle/foot) as doubts. However, Aymeric Laporte (fatigue) has only just recovered from four to five months on the sidelines through injury, so it is not yet known when he will be available to ply for City again. Guardiola’s side have few injury concerns that will weaken the squad – unlike United.

Predicted Starting XI: The 3-4-3 formation could have been a test ahead of the City match with United dominating with high pressing football – could it work against City?

Solskjaer used a formation with three at the back against Tranmere which was look at as strange, being that United were playing against a team struggling in League One. However, it could have been a test ahead of utilising a similar formation against City on Wednesday. De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, and James, all rested at the weekend could start with Bailly coming back into the fold. It might work for United.

Match Prediction: City may be twenty victories behind United but over the past decade, defeats come more often than victories; 13 defeats, 11 victories and three draws – City on top!

United and City have played a total of 180 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1891. United have won 74 times, drawn 52 times and lost 54 times. United lost in their last meeting at the start of the month, a 3-1 defeat for United with Marcus Rashford scoring for United when they were 3-0 down. City’s goals came from Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, and an Andreas Pereira own goal.

At the start of December 2019, United met City at the Etihad in the Premier League, winning 2-1 after Marcus Rashford scored a penalty in the 23rd minute of the match with Anthony Martial doubling the lead six minutes later. A late consolation from Nicolás Otamendi spoiled the party a little with United not keeping a clean sheet. This will be the third Manchester derby this season, with one more to come.

Manchester City 0-3 Manchester United

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About editor 2143 Articles
I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.