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Preview: Manchester United -v- Manchester City – Carabao Cup – United to push City aside to earn place in the final?

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Manchester United -v- Manchester City

Carabao Cup

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 6 January 2021, KO 19:45 GMT

Referee: Martin Atkinson  Assistants: Harry Lennard, Nick Hopton

Fourth Official: David Coote

VAR: Jonathan Moss Assistant VAR: Lee Betts

Manchester United will go head to head with Manchester City once again in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looking to push his team into their first final. On Wednesday evening, it will be the second Manchester derby of the season at the Theatre of Dreams with United reaching the same stage of the competition that they did last season, seeking to get further this season – it being the fourth semi-final Solskjaer has managed the club, losing the previous three. Last season, this was a two-legged match but because of the coronavirus pandemic, it will be a one off tie this season.

The final this season has been delayed until April, giving supporters a chance to be at Wembley instead of the match being played behind closed doors, as is the case in the country at this time. The match will kick of at 19:45 GMT and will be broadcast live in the United Kingdom on Sky Sports. United have seemingly turned a corner this season with an uptick in form and results, being that Solskjaer’s side are undefeated in their last six matches, winning five and drawing once, which was against Leicester City on Boxing Day. United and City drew 0-0 at Old Trafford some weeks ago too.

Manchester United: WWDWWW

Aston Villa 2-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Leicester City 2-2 D, Everton 2-0 W, Leeds United 6-2 W, Sheffield United 3-2 W

Manchester City: WWWWDD

Chelsea 3-1 W, Newcastle United 2-0 W, Arsenal 4-1 W, Southampton 1-0 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-1 D, Manchester United 0-0 D

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford have score 29 goals between them this season with 55 goals scored in all competitions. City have scored just 45 with Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres scoring seven goals each.

Manchester United Goals: 15 – Bruno Fernandes, 14 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Anthony Martial, 4 – Edinson Cavani, 3 – Mason Greenwood, Scott McTominay, 2 – Daniel James, Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, 1 – Own Goal, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United have scored 16 goals, conceded seven, kept two clean sheets, winning five and drawing one of their last six matches. United have seen themselves rise to second in the Premier League, which is a good example of the way things have chanced over the course of the season so far. United exited the UEFA Champions League in December, falling into the UEFA Europa League but this seems to have made the players more determined of achieving something this season. There is positivity to be seen in this squad of players but some seem to ignore that, concentrating on the negativity and their agendas. Sad really.

Manchester City Goals: 7 – Raheem Sterling, Ferran Torres, 6 – Phil Foden, 5 – Ilkay Gündogan, Riyad Mahrez, 4 – Gabriel Jesus, 3 – Kevin De Bruyne, 2 – Sergio Agüero, 1 – Nathan Aké, João Cancelo, Liam Delap, Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker

With have scored 11 goals, conceding three, keeping three clean sheets, winning four and drawing twice in their last six matches. City sit fifth in the league and will have two games in hand over both Leicester City and Liverpool before they kick a ball against United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. It has not been the best season for City, who were unstoppable over the past few years but seem to be easy to stop this season, unless you are Chelsea or Arsenal, who both got destroyed by the club. This season could be different for City, who need to do well on the pitch to even challenge Liverpool for the Premier League title this season.

Team News: Six players missing for City and four players missing for United ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-final. City’s coronavirus test positives could give United an advantage, not that they did Chelsea much good.

Phil Jones (knee), Victor Lindelof (lower back) and Marcos Rojo (calf) are all ruled out of the clash with City on Wednesday evening. Edinson Cavani was banned last week for three matches, sitting out the first in the 2-1 victory over Aston Villa, also missing the clash with City in the Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup clash with Watford. The Uruguayan Football Association released a statement on Monday to contest the treatment of Cavani, but it is unlikely that the FA will do anything about it. Still, it is only two matches and he will be back ready for the Liverpool match, which is the important one this month.

Aymeric Laporte (thigh), Ederson Moraes, Kyle Walker, Ferran Torres, Gabriel Jesus and Eric Garcia (Covid-19) are likely to miss the clash with United on Wednesday, however, negative tests could result in the affected players being allowed to resume training, providing they are fit to do that. Ilkay Gundogan was on the sidelines with a foot injury prior to Sunday’s victory over Chelsea, him scoring the first goal of the match, so this means he should be fit to face United, after a longer period of rest because of postponed matches because of coronavirus. City have won the Carabao Cup for the last three seasons.

Predicted Starting XI: Dean Henderson to continue playing in the Carabao Cup this season? Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles to start in defence?

Solskjaer has a few options ahead fo the City clash in the Carabao Cup but will be without Edinson Cavani, who received a three-match suspension for his tweet after the victory of Everton earlier this season. It has been announced that teams in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup will be able to name nine players on the bench, using five of them throughout the match. I think the formation will chance to a 4-1-2-1-2 with Dean Henderson keeping his place in the Carabao Cup this season. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles will start in defence. Fred, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba will start in midfield with Bruno Fernandes playing just behind both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

Match Prediction: 18 matches played in the domestic cups between United and City. United have won 10, drawing once and losing seven times. United have scored 29 goals, conceding 26.

United and City have met 18 times in domestic cups (FA Cup and League Cup). United have won 10 times, drawing once times and losing seven times. United have scored 29 goals against with City scoring 26 goals. United have kept five clean sheets against their noisy neighbours in cup competitions. United have faced City nine times in the FA Cup and nine times in the League Cup (now the Carabao Cup). In the League Cup, United have won four times, drawing once and losing four times, scoring 11 goals and conceding 14. In the FA Cup, United have won six times, losing three times, scoring 18 goals and conceding 12. United and City last met in a cup competition last season.

In the Carabao Cup during the 2019/20 season, United and City were drawn against each other at this same stage, the semi-final. Back then, before the coronavirus pandemic hit, this was a two-legged fixture. In the first match, which was played at Old Trafford, City won 3-1 with Bernardo Silva (17), Riyad Mahrez (33) and an Andreas Pereira own goal (39) all coming in the first half. Marcus Rashford got a consolation goal in the 70th minute. In the second leg, played at the Etihad, it was a 1-0 victory for United with the only goal of the match scored by Nemanja Matic in the 35th minute with United losing 3-2 on aggregate, which was a shame. United will be seeking to avenge that first semi-final defeat last season, aiming to win this one.

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW