Preview: United in the driving seat to reach the Carabao Cup final. Beating Forest won’t be a problem. Weghorst to bag his first United goal?

Scoring three goals should be easy enough for this United team

Nottingham Forest -v- Manchester United

Carabao Cup

City Ground, Nottingham

Wednesday 25 January 2023, KO 20:00 GMT

Manchester United travel to the City Ground in Nottingham where they will face Nottingham Forest in the semi final first leg of the Carabao Cup. United could be 180 minutes away from their first Cup Final of the Erik ten Hag era. It has been almost 24 years since United last faced Forest at the City Ground – winning that match 8-1 on the 6 February 1999 with Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole both scoring braces and Ole Gunnar Solskjær scoring four goals.

Forest’s form has risen since United beat them 3-0 on the 27 December 2022. They have won three, drawn two and lost one of their last six matches and have risen from the relegation places in the Premier League to 13th but only have 21 points from the 20 matches they have played so far this season. Dean Henderson is ineligible to face United but he is also injured and will miss the two matches anyway. Jesse Lingard has recovered from injury but did not feature on Saturday.

United made the semi finals of the Carabao Cup by beating Aston Villa 4-2, Burnley 2-0 and Charlton Athletic 3-0 and will now be tasked with beating Forest over two legs to reach the final of the Carabao Cup on Sunday 26 February 2023. Forest reached the semi final by beating Grimsby Town 3-0, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0, Blackburn Rovers 4-1 and Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Both teams will be up for the challenge but United should prevail.

Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Arsenal 3-2 L, Crystal Palace 1-1 D, Manchester City 2-1 W, Charlton Athletic 3-0 W, Everton 3-1 W, Bournemouth 3-0 W

Goals: 17 – Marcus Rashford, 5 – Anthony Martial, Antony, Bruno Fernandes, 3 – Own Goal, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, 2 – Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Fred, Alejandro Garnacho, Scott McTominay, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw

Assists: 9 – Christian Eriksen, 5 – Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, 4 – Casemiro, Alejandro Garnacho, 2 – Anthony Martial, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luke Shaw, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Anthony Elanga, Scott McTominay, Facundo Pellistri, Jadon Sancho, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Nottingham Forest – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Bournemouth 1-1 D, Leicester City 2-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 (4-3) W, Blackpool 4-1 L, Southampton 1-0 W, Chelsea 1-1 D

Goals: 6 – Brennan Johnson, 5 – Taiwo Awoniyi, 3 – Sam Surridge, 2 – Morgan Gibbs-White, Jesse Lingard, Ryan Yates, 1 – Serge Aurier, Willy Boly, Emmanuel Dennis, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Renan Lodi, Lewis O’Brien

Assists: 4 – Morgan Gibbs-White, 2 – Cafú, Emmanuel Dennis, Brennan Johnson, Jesse Lingard, Sam Surridge, 1 – Willy Boly, Harry Toffolo, Neco Williams, Ryan Yates

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Forest have met 106 in all competitions, meeting for the first time back in 1892, a 1-1 draw between Forest and Newton Heath. United have won 49 times, drawn 24 times and lost 33 times. The last defeat to Forest was back in 1994; a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Stan Collymore and Stuart Pearce put Forest 2-0 up before Eric Cantona scored. Since then, eight matches have been played; one draw and seven consecutive wins.

In the League Cup, United and Forest have met three times with United winning all three of them; 1983 – 4-0 with Steve Coppell, a Gordon McQueen brace and Bryan Robson all scoring. 1992 – 1-0 with Brian McClair scoring the only goal and 1998 – 2-1 with Ole Gunnar Solskjær scoring a brace for United and Steve Stone scoring for Forest. United have scored seven goals, conceding once and keeping two clean sheets in the League Cup against Forest.

Jonathan Greening, Scott Wootton, Roy Keane, Danny Higginbotham, Lee Martin, Andy Cole, John Curtis, Viv Anderson, Teddy Sheringham, Michael Stewart, Federico Macheda, Neil Webb, Saidy Janko, Jesse Lingard and Dean Henderson have all played for both United and Forest. The stand out players here are Roy Keane, who signed for United just £3.75 million, Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham – who all won the treble with United in the 1998/99 season.

Team News

Axel Tuanzebe, Diogo Dalot, Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial have all been ruled out of the Carabao Cup semi final first leg against Forest at the City Ground on Wednesday evening. Jack Butland has still not been involved for United after signing on loan last week and could make his debut in goal against Forest. Casemiro was suspended for the 3-2 defeat against Arsenal on Sunday and will be available once again in this match. Hopefully Facundo Pellistri gets a chance.

Jadon Sancho recently returned to training with United with Ten Hag confirming that he would not be available for the Crystal Palace (1-1 draw) and Arsenal (3-2 defeat) matches, so could be a shoe-in for the next three matches which are in the Carabao Cup (Forest) and the Emirates FA Cup (Reading). It will be good to see him back challenging for a place in the starting XI, or to even come off the bench later in the match. Youth could have some involvement too.

Cheikhou Kouyate, Giulian Biancone, Moussa Niakhate, Omar Richards, and Taiwo Awoniyi have all been ruled out of the clash against United due to injury. Chris Wood is cupid. Dean Henderson is currently injured and set to miss both matches against United but his parent club never gave him permission to play anyway, so he was always going to be out of these matches. Ryan Yates is suffering from an illness and has a 50% chance of featuring against United on Wednesday.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Malacia;

Casemiro, Fred;

Pellistri, Fernandes, Rashford;


Predicted Nottingham Forest Starting XI – 4-3-1-2


Aurier, Worrall, Boly, Lodi;

Freuler, Danilo, Mangala;


Johnson, Dennis

Match Prediction

United played a good game against Arsenal, the best team in the Premier League this season, on Sunday and took the lead in the 17th minute of the match through Marcus Rashford. Arsenal then equalised, took the lead for the first time and United then equalised through Lisandro Martinez, who scored his first goal for the club. For the last ten minutes of the match, Arsenal pushed for the winner and United hung on, seeking a draw. But Arsenal got the winner.

United will be up for the test of winning this semi final as quickly as possible. The beat Forest 3-0 at Old Trafford just under a month ago and will be seeking to get a similar result which will put them in good stead of making the final of the Carabao Cup for the first time since the 2016/17 season when Jose Mourinho took them all the way, lifting the cup after a 3-2 victory over Southampton at Wembley. United have the team to beat this Forest side.

There will need to be some changes with United facing Reading in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford on Saturday evening so that Ten Hag can keep the squad fresh as they face Forest at Old Trafford the following Wednesday in the second leg of the semi final before then even have to think about participating in the Premier League again – which will be against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday 4 February 2023.

Nottingham Forest 0-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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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.