Preview: Solskjaer seeking Carabao Cup semi-final place with victory over Colchester; youth to be given another chance to impress?

Manchester United -v- Colchester United

Carabao Cup

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 18 December 2019, KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: David Coote Assistants: Neil Davies; Nick Hopton Fourth Official: David Webb

Manchester United welcome Colchester United to Old Trafford in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could be 90 minutes from a semi-final place in the competition this season, which is further than they came last season as they lost to Derby County on penalties in the third round of the competition. United have not faced Colchester for 26 years and they have never played at Old Trafford.

Against Everton, United played their 4,000th match with at least one academy graduate in the first team. This record will continue against Colchester with the addition of some younger players in the squad to give them some experience in the first team, which will help their ability to meet the criteria to make it at the club. Solskjaer seems to have put a lot of attention into giving youth a chance, which is great.

Form: United are a team in much better form with one defeat in the last six matches. Colchester have two. United will be seeking a victory to head into the semi-final stage of the competition.

Manchester United: DWWWDL

Everton 1-1 D, AZ Alkmaar 4-0 W, Manchester City 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 W, Aston Villa 2-2 D, Astana 2-1 L

Colchester United: DWLDWL

Scunthorpe United 2-2 D, Salford City 1-0 W, Stevenage 2-1 L, Cheltenham Town 1-1 D, Ipswich Town 1-0 W, Coventry City 2-0 L

Top Scorers: Mason Greenwood has scored as many goals (seven) as Colchester’s top scorer, Luke Norris, this season. He will be seeking to catch up with Marcus Rashford.

Manchester United Goals: 13 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Mason Greenwood, 6 – Anthony Martial, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 1 – Andreas Pereira, Ashley Young, Brandon Williams, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Own Goal, Victor Lindelof

In the past six matches, United have become better with just one defeat, two draws and three victories. Solskjaer’s side has scored 12 goals in the six matches, conceding seven goals. The best result was the 4-0 victory over AZ Alkmaar almost a week ago which saw Mason Greenwood score twice in the game, adding a third goal for the week against Everton at the weekend. This match could give more experience for talented youth.

Colchester United Goals: 7 – Luke Norris, 3 – Tom Eastman, Frank Nouble, Theo Robinson, Courtney Senior, 2 – Brandon Comley, Luke Gambin, Ryan Jackson, Kwame Poku, Luke Prosser, 1 – Harry Pell, Ben Stevenson

In the past six matches, Colchester as won twice, drawn twice and lost twice. It could be suggested that they are a team that will be the underdog against United, no matter which players were on the pitch. However, with United recently being able to beat big teams but struggle against smaller teams, it could be a match that United will need to have a plan. Will Colchester be a match for United? We will find out on Wednesday.

Team News: Paul Pogba not ready to return this week, this time because of illness. Bad luck or convenience? Diogo Dalot could return, possibly to the bench.

United could be boosted by the return of Diogo Dalot in this match after he has come through a period of injury and been training for the last week or so. However, Paul Pogba is now injured so will not be back in action in the near future, which is either bad luck or convenience. Solskjaer has confirmed that the squad will be rotated for this match, as they were against AZ Alkmaar last week.

Marcos Rojo, Eric Bailly, and Tim Fosu-Mensah will also be out of this match. Despite playing on Monday evening, there could be some U23 players in the squad, which would be good for their development. However, I expect United to include the likes of Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay etc possibly on the bench in case they are needed at any time in the match.

Predicted Starting XI: Mason Greenwood to lead the line against Colchester United; supported by Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, and Largie Ramazani?

I would like to see Mason Greenwood lead the line for United against Colchester United as I feel he has the instinct to walk right into the team and lead based on the fact he’s scored seven goals for the club this season, playing fewer minutes that Anthony Martial. I would also like to see Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, and Largie Ramazani support the attack as this trio could also be the future of the club, in some respects.

Match Prediction: United have played Colchester twice winning both matches. However, it has been more than 26 years since the last meeting.

United and Colchester United have played a total of two matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1979. United have won both matches. The first was placed on 1979 in the FA Cup, a 1-0 victory for United with Jimmy Greenhoff scoring the only goal of the game. United got to the final of the FA Cup in the 1978/79 season but were beaten 3-2 by Arsenal, which was a shame.

The second match against Colchester United came just over four years later in 1983, this time in the League Cup. It was a 2-0 victory for United this time with goals score by Gordon McQueen and Remi Moses. United made it to the next round of the League Cup that season, drawing 1-1 with Oxford United, needing a replay, which also ended up a 1-1 draw with a second replay ending with Oxford United winning 2-1.

Manchester United 3-0 Colchester United

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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.