Preview: United set to face City with little creativity and looking lacklustre in both the midfield and attack

Manchester United -v- Manchester City

Carabao Cup

Old Trafford, Manchester

Tuesday 7 January 2020, KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Mike Dean Assistants: Ian Hussin; Darren Cann Fourth Official: Lee Mason

VAR: Kevin Friend VAR Assistant: Stephen Child

Manchester United will be back in action on Tuesday evening, welcoming Manchester City to Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg. It is hard to be excited ahead of United matches of late as the squad is dwindling due to injury and is crying out for reinforcement, which seems to be played down by the manager, whether he has plans to delve into the January transfer market, we shall soon see but he needs to.

United have not won a match in 2020 – losing 2-0 to Arsenal on New Year’s Day and enduring a 0-0 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup not even registering a single shot on target in the match and now a replay will be played during a week which United were not scheduled to play which is the last thing the club needed at this time with so many player out injured and youth not being utilised as maybe they should.

Something will need to give at some stage which is why delving into the transfer market this month is needed as United are still struggling from the lack of reinforcement in the summer, especially in midfield with just Fred and Nemanja Matic the only experienced players in the position whilst Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay are injured. There is also a lack of creativity at the club which needs to be sorted. A big job to do.

Form: United winless in 2020 winning three, drawing once and losing twice in their last six matches; City unbeaten in 2020 with five wins and one defeat in their last six matches.

Manchester United: DLWWLW

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D, Arsenal 2-0 L, Burnley 2-0 W, Newcastle United 4-1 W, Watford 2-0 L, Colchester United 3-0 W

Manchester City: WWWLWW

Port Vale 4-1 W, Everton 2-1 W, Sheffield United 2-0 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2 L, Leicester City 3-1 W, Oxford United 3-1 W

Top Scorers: 48 goals scored by United this season with Marcus Rashford scoring 16; 85 goals scored by City this season with Raheem Sterling leading with 20.

Manchester United Goals: 16 – Marcus Rashford, 10 – Anthony Martial, 8 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United ended 2019 in style by winning six times, drawing twice and losing once during the month of December. However, on New Year’s Day, Solskjaer’s side fell to a 2-0 defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates then three days later, drew 0-0 to Wolves in the FA Cup at the Molineux – not having a single shot on target. Something has got to give with United delving into the transfer market to aid the season.

Manchester City Goals: 20 – Raheem Sterling, 15 – Sergio Agüero, 13 – Gabriel Jesus, 7 – Kevin De Bruyne, 6 – Riyad Mahrez, 5 – Bernardo Silva, 4 – Ilkay Gündogan, 3 – Phil Foden, Nicolás Otamendi, David Silva, 2 – Rodri, 1 – João Cancelo, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Kyle Walker, Oleksandr Zinchenko

City ended 2019 in stile winning six times and losing twice during the month of December. In 2020, they have beaten Everton and Port Vale, scoring seven goals and conceding just twice. Granted, their reign as the Premier League champions may be short-lived with Liverpool sitting 14 points clear – with a game in hand but City still hold dominance against most teams in the league and beyond.

Team News: United without McTominay, Pogba, Rojo, and Tuanzebe through injury whereas Bailly and Fosu-Mensah are not match fit. Martial and Lingard could recover from illness in time whereas Shaw could miss this match too through illness.

United with be without four players due to injury; Scott McTominay will be out of action until the end of February with a knee injury, Paul Pogba could return before the end of the month with an ankle injury, Axel Tuanzebe (thigh) and Marcos Rojo (other) could be out for the next three weeks. Eric Bailly and Tom Fosu-Mensah have recently returned to training after recovering from knee surgery.

Harry Maguire could be missing from the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against City after he suffered during the first half of the FA Cup draw with Wolves on Saturday and might not recover in time ahead of Tuesday’s match. Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw missed the match due to illness with the latter having a 50% chance of recovering in time to face City at Old Trafford.

City will face United without Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane (both knee injuries) whereas Nicolas Otamendi did not face Port Vale and could be missing from the team that faces United. Goalkeeper Ederson Moraes could well be back in the team to face United after missing the FA Cup fixture due to illness. Other than that, Pep Guardiola has a full squad for his first trip to the Theatre of Dreams this season.

Predicted Starting XI: Martial to lead the line; Rashford, James and Greenwood in support with Garner and Fred in midfield?

I fully expect David De Gea to be back in the starting XI against City on Tuesday evening and there is a chance that Phil Jones features against the noisy neighbours if Maguire does not recover in time. Brandon Williams should keep his place in the team as he played well against Wolves and is a better option ahead of Shaw. In midfield, Dylan Levitt or James Garner could get a game playing alongside Fred.

Match Prediction: United seeking to overturn recent poor form with a defeat and a draw in the two matches played in 2020 so far; City will be seeking to get the better over United after their victory last month at the Etihad.

United and City have played a total of 179 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 53 times. The last defeat to City came in the Premier League back in April 2019, a 2-0 defeat at the Old Trafford with Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sané scoring in the second half of the game. City did the double over United last season, winning 3-1 at home.

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 second Manchester derby this season, with two more to come.

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City

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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.