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Confirmed Starting XI: Martial and James lead the line against City, Fernandes behind them; McTominay, Greenwood and Ighalo on the bench – No De Bruyne for City

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action this afternoon, welcoming Manchester City to Old Trafford. Back in December, during a big week for United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side beat both City and Tottenham Hotspur in 2-1 scorelines, which was not something many expected to happen. United has faced City twice since then, losing 3-1 and winning 1-0 with both wins against City at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola’s side will come to the Theatre of Dreams full of confidence after winning the Carabao Cup for the third time in a row last weekend, which is not really a big bragging right considering most City fans did not treat it like it was a major trophy when they did not win it. But now, it seems to be something to brag about – how strange. United need to beat City at Old Trafford, which could see them do the double over them.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Wan-Bissaka, Matic, Fred, Williams;

Fernandes;

James, Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Tuanzebe; Mata, McTominay; Ighalo, Greenwood

Manchester City:

Ederson;

Cancelo, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Zinchenko;

B. Silva, Rodri, Gündogan;

Foden, Agüero, Sterling

Substitutes:

Bravo; Walker, Mendy, Garcia; D. Silva, Mahrez; Jesus

United and City have played a total of 181 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1891. United have won 75 times, drawn 52 times and lost 54 times. This will be the fourth match between the two clubs this season; United have won twice, both at the Etihad, losing once, at Old Trafford. Solskjaer’s side could do a league double over City with a win in this match. United have lost their last three home matches against City.

In the reverse fixture which was played in December, United won 2-1 with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scoring the goals for United with a late consolation from Nicolás Otamendi. In the other match which United won, played in the Carabao Cup, it was a 1-0 victory with Nemanja Matić scoring the only goal of the game. The 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford, also in the Carabao Cup saw goals from Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an Andreas Pereira own goal before Rashford’s consolation.

How United could look against City in the Manchester derby; Martial, Ighalo and Fernandes to cause the damage, McTominay, Fred and Matic to boss the midfield?

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action on Sunday afternoon, welcoming Manchester City to Old Trafford. Back in December, during a big week for United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side beat both City and Tottenham Hotspur in 2-1 scorelines, which was not something many expected to happen. United has faced City twice since then, losing 3-1 and winning 1-0 with both wins against City at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola’s side will come to the Theatre of Dreams full of confidence after winning the Carabao Cup for the third time in a row last weekend, which is not really a big bragging right considering most City fans did not treat it like it was a major trophy when they did not win it. But now, it seems to be something to brag about – how strange. United need to beat City at Old Trafford, which could see them do the double over them.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Manchester City in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has been hot and cold this season. There are times when he shows that he is nearing the form he had which helped label him as one of the best goalkeepers in world football but at other times, he looks like that rookie goalkeeper that signed for the club just under a decade ago. De Gea will need to ensure his mistakes are behind him – especially when coming up against City, who have an eye for a goal or two and can make that happen against United. With both teams well out of the title race – City being 22 points behind Liverpool, pride is all that both will be playing for but United also need to break into the top four this season to earn UEFA Champions League football next season.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

The defence have been playing well recently with United on a nine match unbeaten run right now, scoring 22 goals but only conceding two, keeping seven clean sheets in all competitions they have played in; the Premier League, Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire missed the 3-0 victory over Derby County on Thursday evening with Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly both playing. These four players could become the best four-man defence United has at the club at this current time with Bailly and Maguire forming to become a competent central defensive partnership. United will need to be at their best against City. They know what could happen but so do City, being on the end of two defeats against United already this season.

Midfield: Fred, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay

The midfield trio of Fred, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay is the strongest midfield United can play at this moment in time. When Paul Pogba is back and performing, one of these three players could miss out, two if the formation changes with Bruno Fernandes playing further forward at this moment in time, which might just be because of injuries to the squad right now. Recently, Fred and McTominay have scored three goals between them with Matic getting much more involved from his deeper midfield position. With these three playing behind Fernandes, Martial and Ighalo, the defence will be safer and there will be plenty of work linking the defence to the midfield and attack, which has been missing for much of the season due to injury, in the most part.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese midfielder has been in top form since he arrived at the club in January. In seven appearances so far, Bruno Fernandes has three goals and two assists, which is good to see. The ability he puts into his performances shows that United were missing out when they did not buy him last summer and if that happened, this season could have been much different. However, we can only think about what could happen now he is here. He is unplayable on his day and this being the first time he will be playing in a local derby, he could be a deciding factor in the game. The creativity he offers shows just what he can do with might be something Pep Guardiola needs to structure his team for.

Forwards: Odion Ighalo, Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial and Odion Ighalo could be the duo to carry United forward at this stage of the season with both players getting involved with the goals this season. In the past week alone, the Nigerian striker has scored three goals and Martial scoring 15 this season, which is close to his best season at the club – his first season which saw him score 17 goals with 11 in the Premier League along – he has 10 so far this season. Ighalo knows how to score a goal and hold up the ball with Martial using his trickery to get the better of his opposition. It could be a good move for Solskjaer.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Tim Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Daniel James; Mason Greenwood

Solskjaer will need to have capable players on the bench. With two top players on the sidelines through injury, he will have to make do with the squad he has – for now. Sergio Romero, after keeping another clean sheet on Thursday will move to the bench with Tim Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams adding to the depth of defensive players on the bench – they may be needed at some point. Juan Mata and Daniel James could be the only midfield players on the bench for this game with Mason Greenwood the only outright attacking player available, especially if both Martial and Ighalo are played from the start, which is how it should be.

Preview: Solskjaer seeking to do the league double over City; Martial, Ighalo and Fernandes to make their mark in the big game?

Manchester United -v- Manchester City

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 8 March 2020, KO 16:30 GMT

Referee: Mike Dean Assistants: Darren Cann, Dan Robathan Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor 

VAR: Andre Marriner Assistant VAR: Stephen Child

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action on Sunday afternoon, welcoming Manchester City to Old Trafford. Back in December, during a big week for United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side beat both City and Tottenham Hotspur in 2-1 scorelines, which was not something many expected to happen. United has faced City twice since then, losing 3-1 and winning 1-0 with both wins against City at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola’s side will come to the Theatre of Dreams full of confidence after winning the Carabao Cup for the third time in a row last weekend, which is not really a big bragging right considering most City fans did not treat it like it was a major trophy when they did not win it. But now, it seems to be something to brag about – how strange. United need to beat City at Old Trafford, which could see them do the double over them.

Form: United unbeaten in their last nine matches in all competitions with City unbeaten in their last five; United has won four and draw twice in the last six with City winning five and losing once.

Manchester United: WDWWDW

Derby County 3-0 W, Everton 1-1 D, Club Brugge 5-0 W, Watford 3-0 W, Club Brugge 1-1 D, Chelsea 2-0 W

Manchester City: WWWWWL

Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 W, Aston Villa 2-1 W, Real Madrid 2-1 W, Leicester City 1-0 W, West Ham United 2-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L

Top Scorers: 75 goals scored in all competitions for United this season, which is not great but it is impressive considering the injuries and the lack of creativity for most of the season.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 15 – Anthony Martial, 11 – Mason Greenwood, 4 – Scott McTominay, 3 – Bruno Fernandes, Odion Ighalo, Daniel James, 2 – Fred, Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United are undefeated in their last nine matches, last losing 2-0 against Burnley at the end of January. Solskjaer’s side has scored 22 goals in all competitions in these nine matches, conceding two goals and keeping seven clean sheets – which shows improvement at the right part of the season. Now United need to keep chase on Chelsea to fight for a top four place in the Premier League this season to guarantee UEFA Champions League football next season and they still have two chances to get that.

Manchester City Goals: 23 – Sergio Agüero, 20 – Raheem Sterling, 18 – Gabriel Jesus, 9 – Riyad Mahrez, 7 – Bernardo Silva, 5 – Ilkay Gündogan, 4 – Rodri, 3 – Phil Foden, Nicolás Otamendi, David Silva, 1 – João Cancelo, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Kyle Walker, Oleksandr Zinchenko

City seem to be well ahead of United, despite their own downfall this season – which was partly down to the way the club is run and has seen them banned from the Champions League for two seasons, although they will appeal. City may think they are the best thing since sliced bread but they sit 22 points behind Liverpool, albeit with a game in hand. That is not something to brag about. The big spenders have ben made to look inferior by Liverpool this season, even with the leaguer leaders spending less money – good for football?

Team News: Rashford, Pogba and Grant to miss City match, James, Maguire and Wan-Bissaka could be involved – Fosu-Mensah lacking match fitness; Laporte and Sane could miss out whereas De Bruyne could be back in time.

Solskjaer will be without Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Lee Grant our to injury. Daniel James has missed the last two matches, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka missed the last match – the trio could be involved in the squad to face City and the manager seemed optimistic this happening. Tim Fosu-Mensah lacks match fitness despite playing for the U23s in their victory over Stoke City at the start of the week.

When asked if Harry Maguire could be involved against City at Old Trafford on Sunday, Solskjaer said:

“Well, he’s touch and go because he rolled his ankle but, hopefully, he’ll recover quickly. I wasn’t going to rest him today, I didn’t give him a day off birthday-wise but I hope he’ll be fit.”

Solskjaer was asked whether Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka could be involved against City, saying:

“I hope so, yes, but none of them have been training yet since the last game, so we’ve got to look at them on Saturday probably because tomorrow is a recovery day.”

City will be without both Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane because of injury, however, Guardiola seems optimistic over the fitness of Kevin De Bruyne, who could be back for this fixture. City will be seeking to stop United from a Premier League double over them this season, winning 3-1 at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup semi final first leg, a competition they won for the third time in three seasons last Sunday.

Predicted Starting XI: Martial and Ighalo leading the line against City with Fernandes just behind them? Could this be the way to do the double over the noisy neighbours?

Solskjaer could have problems ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby with three players as doubts; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Daniel James. I think both Wan-Bissaka and Maguire will start with James on the bench. United should have a strong team to face City with Bruno Fernandes pulling the strings in an attacking sense with Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic fortifying the midfield. Anthony Martial and Odion Ighalo could cause the damage in front of goal to get the win.

Match Prediction: United have beaten City twice this season, both at the Etihad but in their last three matches against City at Old Trafford, United are winless and in need of a good result on Sunday.

United and City have played a total of 181 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1891. United have won 75 times, drawn 52 times and lost 54 times. This will be the fourth match between the two clubs this season; United have won twice, both at the Etihad, losing once, at Old Trafford. Solskjaer’s side could do a league double over City with a win in this match. United have lost their last three home matches against City.

In the reverse fixture which was played in December, United won 2-1 with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scoring the goals for United with a late consolation from Nicolás Otamendi. In the other match which United won, played in the Carabao Cup, it was a 1-0 victory with Nemanja Matić scoring the only goal of the game. The 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford, also in the Carabao Cup saw goals from Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an Andreas Pereira own goal before Rashford’s consolation.

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City

Review & Ratings: Matic winner kept United's winning run, Fred Man of the Match, Maguire a class act, De Gea getting back to form

Manchester United beat Manchester City 1-0 at the Etihad in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday evening. Nemanja Matic scored the only goal of the game, was booked early in the second half then sent off 25 minutes later. United had improved from the first leg but it was not enough as they ended up losing 3-2 on aggregate. United will now concentrate on Wolverhampton Wanderers, facing them for the third time in a month on Saturday.

City started the game well, pressing United from the very start, having a few chances to open the scoring with David De Gea making a string of good saved to deny the noisy neighbours. United pressed forward at times and in the 35th minute of the match, they took the lead through Nemanja Matic. Fred took a free-kick which was cleared with Matic getting the ball beating Claudio Bravo at the near post.

Seven minutes after United’s goal, Raheem Sterling had the ball in the net after Kevin De Bruyne played the ball across the face of the goal with Sterling beating De Gea from close-range. However, despite looking onside initially, a short VAR review took place with the offside decision. It was good for United, who needed another goal to make it a 3-3 draw on aggregate. Matic was sent off in the 76th minute, a second yellow card.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one had a good game against City, making quite a few good saves to deny City from scoring. It was the De Gea of old. Perhaps shining through at the right time with United seeking to make this season much better.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Getting Bailly back in the team cannot come fast enough. Lindelof seemed too nervous at times and shaky at others. Not what any defence needs. Improvement is needed if he wants to keep his place in the starting XI.

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5 Harry Maguire

I think this was Maguire's best match for United. Sunday's victory much have shown him what United were capable of, even plagued by injuries. He was commanding, like any leader should be. Should be partnered by Bailly though to see how the duo do together.

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23 Luke Shaw

Played on the left of a back three. Not a role he has played before. His performance was alright, considering.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back was not at his best at the start of the game but soon found his feet. He was booked in added time for a bad tackle.

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17 Fred

The Brazilian was the engine of this team, as he has been recently. He ran his socks off and tried to do all he could to in order to get a victory in this match and reach the final at Wembley.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The Serbian midfielder scored the only goal of the game against City, was booked at the start of the second half then found himself sent off late in the second half for a second booking.

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33 Brandon Williams

Gave Walker some problems at times. A good player to have in this team. He's definitely the main left-back at the club when United play four at the back.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Poor. Seemed to be the target of shouting from the gaffer. When Fernandes is at the club and playing, Lingard will be seeing much of his football either from that stands or on the television at home.

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11 Mason Greenwood

The 18-year-old had little impact against City but went off with a slight injury at half time.

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9 Anthony Martial

Still not convinced that he's a striker. He's a winger. I don't care what Martial FC say, they are mostly clueless. He needs to do so much more otherwise, he's going to find himself occupying a position on the bench as Rashford is better than him on the left. He put plenty of work into his game though, despite the low output.

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Substitutes

Review & Ratings: Matic winner kept United's winning run, Fred Man of the Match, Maguire a class act, De Gea getting back to form

Replaced Greenwood 46'. He's not a game changer, yet. He used his pace to help take the game to City but there was no real end product. He's been relied upon too much this season and needs a break. The winter break might just do that after this weekends matches.

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15 Andreas Pereira

Replaced Lingard 65'. The Belgian-born Brazilian played his part in the game but in terms of bringing something to the table, he fell short. His mind may have been to get United another goal but his ability is still playing catchup.

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8 Juan Mata

Replaced Shaw 79'. Came on too late to be that decisive player in this match. City had their backs to the wall and their squad quality helped to get the better of United, despite losing.

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Goals: Nemanja Matic 35′

Assists: N/A

Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw (Mata 79′); Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Matic, Williams; Lingard (Pereira 65′); Greenwood (James 46′), Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly, Jones, Dalot

Bookings: Rodri 57′, Nicolas Otamendi 87′; Nemanja Matic 51′, 76′ s/o, Aaron Wan-Bissaka 90+4′

Confirmed Starting XI: Martial and Greenwood lead the line against City; three at the back again for United – high press incoming?

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 have announced the singing of Bruno Fernandes who is currently on his way to Manchester for a medical, however, the signing came too late for this evening’s match and he will most likely made his debut at Old Trafford on Saturday when United welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to the Theatre of Dreams in the Premier League. United still have more to do in order to strengthen the team but creativity should improve with this new signing.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Matic, Williams;

Lingard;

Greenwood, Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Jones, Dalot; Mata, Pereira, James

Manchester City:

Bravo;

Walker, Rodrigo, Otamendi, Cancelo;

De Bruyne, Gündogan, B. Silva;

Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling

Substitutes:

Ederson; Stones, Zinchenko, Garcia; D. Silva, Foden; Jesus

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.

The Manchester derby League Cup semi-final: 10 years on

Manchester United will be attempting to try and turn around a first leg deficit in a League Cup semi-final second leg on Wednesday night, just as they were in 2010 when the Reds knocked the ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City out on the way to winning the competition. 

The infamous two-legged tie was one of the first indications that City were going to spend the next ten years collecting most of the trophies in English football, even if Sir Alex Ferguson and United fans didn’t want to believe it at the time.

The previous summer City splashed the cash on Emmanuel Adebayor, Joleon Lescott, Gareth Barry and Roque Santa Cruz. Although most of these signings majorly flopped, their most astute acquisition was that of Carlos Tevez, with City jumping on the chance to sign him when United decided against making his loan permanent.

“Not in my lifetime.”Sir Alex Ferguson on whether Manchester United would ever go into a derby match as underdogs – 19 September 2009

One of Tevez’s first games in the light blue of City was in the Manchester Derby in September of 2009. Booed and mocked for ‘not winning trophies anymore’ throughout the game, Tevez could only look on as his replacement in the team Michael Owen scored a dramatic last-minute winner in a 4-3 victory.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaIiCvoISv8

However, in January 2010, Tevez got ‘his revenge’, scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory at the Etihad to give City a first leg advantage in the then named Carling Cup. The bitterness from Tevez’s departure the previous summer spilled over in the match. After the Argentine’s first goal, his provocative celebration resulted in him going over to substitute Gary Neville who was warming up and famously cupping his ears. Neville subdued response was to raise his middle finger. 

The first leg was also Roberto Mancini’s first Manchester derby and City fans took to him the moment he first donned his blue and white scarf on the touchline. Alex Ferguson wasn’t quite as charmed by Mancini however, as he instantly recognised him as a man who could take City to another level, in similar ways to how he saw Arsene Wenger at Arsenal when he first arrived.

By the time the second leg came around two weeks later, City fans were dreaming of a first trip to the new Wembley and the chance to tear down the ‘34 years’ banner reminding them of how long it had been since their club had won a major trophy. United claimed bragging rights once more as a last-minute Wayne Rooney header saw them turn the tie around, stemming the blue tide for at least the short-term.

The second leg was just as ugly as the first, with a strong tackle by Darren Fletcher on Micah Richards starting a brawl between the two players. Many would say that with lack of Mancunian born players on each team that this sort of passion and commitment has been lost, but the recent derby in December had plenty of strong tackles and unprofessional fouls, for example Andreas Pereira’s naughty clip on Raheem Sterling.

Unfortunately, what we also saw in the second leg in 2010 was the unsavoury side of the Manchester Derby when passions run too high. Craig Bellamy was hit by a bottle whilst taking a corner in front of the United fansand sadly this is something still prominent as seen in the game in December when Fred was racially abused by a City fan and also in 2013 when Rio Ferdinand’s head was cut by a coin thrown from the City end.

Those two legs in January of 2010 set the tone for years of rivalry, with the year after City finally ending their trophy drought, winning the FA Cup in 2011 after beating United in the Semi-Final. Another year after they pipped United to the Premier League title in 2012 in the last second thanks to Sergio Aguero’s dramatic winner. Mancini had taken City to the next level just as Ferguson feared with the likes of Aguero, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Touré and David Silva all becoming world class players.

Both Mancini and Ferguson left their posts in May 2013 after Sir Alex had wrestled the title back off of City to end on a high and put United back on top. Despite his efforts, in the years since City have made smart, calculated decisions to leave them now light years ahead. Manuel Pellegrini layed the foundations for Pep Guardiola to win back-to-back titles and a domestic treble.

All the while United are no closer to similar success through both dreadful recruitment and planning, with several managers failing to find the answer. In 2010, after the second leg of that semi-final tie, United fans would laugh if told that City would spend the next decade finishing above the Reds in the league and winning trophies nearly every season. In 2020, it’s now more than likely a city fan would laugh if you said the same to them about United.

Written by Alex Metcalfe

How United could look in the Carabao Cup against City; 3-4-3 Lindelof, Bailly and Maguire in defence, Greenwood, Martial and James in attack?

Manchester United will face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at the Etihad on Wednesday. This will be a big game for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he looks to find a way for his team to beat Pep Guardiola’s City after their 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford at the start of the month. The 6-0 Emirates FA Cup victory over Tranmere Rovers on Sunday could well have boosted the confidence of the squad and given them a chance total on City with a different formation.

United would need to win this match by three clear goals if they were to make it to the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 1 March 2020, however, at least 90 minutes of football stands in the way of achieving that feat, not to mention a City team in resurgent form, scoring 20 goals and conceding just five goals in the past six matches, winning five and drawing once. It is form that United can only dream about.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at the Etihad on Wednesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper was rested for the 6-0 FA Cup victory over Tranmere on Sunday meaning he should be fit to face City for the second time this month. De Gea has not been in the best of form this season but he has made some impressive saves. If the players and the supporters stick by him like they did at the start of his United career, it could well pay off again with him raising his form. Of course, having the best side available would be helpful along with the squad being strengthened significantly, which should be a plan this month with injuries to key players in the squad for long spells of the season.

Defenders: Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire

Three at the back worked against Tranmere. Maybe it was because United were playing against a team struggling in League One – perhaps it was because United were able to play to a higher tempo further up the pitch. That formation could have been a test by Solskjaer to find a way of coming back from behind to beat City. Remember Paris in March? It could work. I expect both Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire to keep their places in defence but Eric Bailly should be tested against City, which might add something to the defence and the rest of the team. There is a period of rest coming up too, giving these players a significant break, of around two weeks before playing again.

Midfield: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Nemanja Matic, Fred, Brandon Williams

Four across the midfield worked on Sunday and it has worked for other clubs in the Premier League and beyond. Diogo Dalot played well against Tranmere but Aaron Wan-Bissaka should be ahead of him after a rest this weekend with Brandon Williams replacing Luke Shaw on the left side. Fred should start ahead of Andreas Pereira with Nemanja Matic keeping his starting place after playing 45 minutes in the FA Cup. This is the best United has in this area at this moment in time, unless something magical happens before kick off on Wednesday, which is unlikely. United will miss the likes of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, which could have made this area even stronger for this match.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Daniel James

The forward three can be played in so may ways. A straight three at the front, two forward with one behind them, one forward with two behind; this can interchange throughout the match, which might help in getting the better of United’s noisy neighbours. With Marcus Rashford out of action and a lack of attacking players to choose from, Anthony Martial should be the main striker – he did well against Tranmere on Sunday. Mason Greenwood should keep his place in the team also as he adds something to the team. Daniel James was rested against Tranmere, meaning he should be ready to face City, although Jesse Lingard could keep his place in the team. James could do something on the left, as he did at the start of the season. Lingard from the bench could be good for United, if his confidence from his performance on Sunday continues into Wednesday.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Phil Jones, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw; Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Angel Gomes

United will need players on the bench who can come on and do a job should they be required. Sergio Romero will move to the bench for this game after keeping another clean sheet on Sunday. Defensively, Phil Jones, Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw could also add something, should they be needed. Both Dalot and Shaw got forward a lot of the time against Tranmere and they could offer that against City too. Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Angel Gomes, if chosen in the squad could all provide in the midfield/attacking areas too, should they too be needed. Of course, Tahith Chong could make the bench ahead of Gomes, just like he did in Sunday’s victory over Tranmere in the FA Cup.

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

Review & Ratings: Rashford, Greenwood, Fred and Williams stand out in 3-1 City defeat; the squad needs reinforcement NOW!

Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are still in with a chance of reaching the final of the competition but only if they win by three clear goals to beat City’s aggregate scoreline, which is something that can only be dreamed about at this moment in time.

United conceded the first goal in the 17th minute of the match after Bernardo Silva finished superbly, leaving David De Gea guessing as to where he put it. United started the match well but soon lost their feet. City doubled their lead in the 33rd minute through Riyad Mahrez, assisted by Silva putting City into the driving seat in the match. An own goal by Andreas Pereira put City 3-0 up with United out of ideas.

United eventually got a goal from the game through Marcus Rashford, scoring his 17th goal of the season. It gives United a chance to get something from this fixture when they visit the Etihad at the end of the month. A win by three clear goals could see United make the final of the competition, although that seems pretty unlikely after witnessing the shocking state of the club in this match. Changes needed and fast.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

There was absolutely nothing that De Gea could have done to stop Silva's opening goal in the game. Mahrez's goal was pretty much untouchable too. In terms of leadership, De Gea should be offering more. I'm not sure where this poor form will end up. It seems it could be a much bigger rebuild that was first thought.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back was one of the best defenders in this game, the other being Williams at left-back. He was not in the best of form but has played a lot recently.

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4 Phil Jones

Granted, the veteran defender is rusty after playing very few minutes this season but even after a run of matches, he puts in the same poor performances. It is so underwhelming seeing him play for United after all of this time, achieving nothing.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Swede has fallen in stature over the past few matches and has started to become a liability. United certainly know how to pick defenders who will let the club down. Saying that though, with a better midfield ahead of him, he could be a much better player. Where is it all going wrong?

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33 Brandon Williams

He has everything that is needed at the club right now. Fight, determination, hunger, desire. He also plays like it is him that has been playing first team football for the past five years. Shaw has a fight to get the left-back position back, in my opinion.

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17 Fred

Fred was the best midfielder at the club against City but that is not exactly hard when you are lining up alongside Pereira. United need investment in this position, immediately or Fred will one day decide that he's not going to try anymore as with these players in the team, what is the point?

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15 Andreas Pereira

He's not a midfielder. That was apparent last season. Granted, United have injury problems at this moment in time but promote youth rather than seeing this guy struggle in a position he's not going to excel in.

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Review & Ratings: Rashford, Greenwood, Fred and Williams stand out in 3-1 City defeat; the squad needs reinforcement NOW!

He has been a great addition to the team this season but of late, it has gone stagnant for him. His technique needs to improve and in terms of crossing, they need to be successful in order to create something for his teammates. Every player has an off day its just that many at United have off days regularly, I don't want him heading in that direction.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Rubbish again. Hacked at half time. He's been linked with an exit this week. Why would any team want to buy an attacking player who creates nothing? Something needs to give and it won't be Lingard all of a sudden pulling it from the bag. That is a surety.

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10 Marcus Rashford

The clubs top scorer looked lively throughout the match and scored United's only goal, that counted for them anyway. 17 goals this season, which is good but United are struggling massively. Investment needed to aid the players that want to fight for the club.

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11 Mason Greenwood

He's a better option that Martial right now. He assisted for Rashford's goal and has all the ingredients to make it in this game. I think he should have stayed on the pitch though, however, with Saturday's match fast approaching, any bit of rest will be good for him to get up to speed as he should be leading the line.

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Substitutes

31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Lingard 45'. The Serbian should have started in midfield, however, playing at the weekend, he might have needed the rest. He helped the midfield tick over in the second half. United played much better with him in the midfield.

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Review & Ratings: Rashford, Greenwood, Fred and Williams stand out in 3-1 City defeat; the squad needs reinforcement NOW!

Replaced James 64'. He's better on the pitch than Lingard. He won the ball which led to United's goal late in the game. It is a shame that he could be leaving the club at the end of the season. Perhaps United need to try and change that.

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9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Greenwood 81'. Came on late in the game. He's not an impact striker. I'm not convinced that he has much impact at all right now.

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Goals: Marcus Rashford 70′; Bernardo Silva 17′, Riyad Mahrez 33′, Andreas Pereira 38′ (og)

Assists: Kyle Walker 17′, Bernardo Silva 33′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Jones, Lindelof, Williams; Fred, Pereira; James (Gomes 64′), Lingard (Matic 45′), Rashford; Greenwood (Martial 81′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Dalot; Mata, Chong

Bookings: Jesse Lingard 35′, Fred 52′, Brandon Williams 73′; Rodrigo 63, Kyle Walker 82′

Confirmed Starting XI: Greenwood leads the line against City; Rashford, Lingard and James in support; Martial on the bench

Manchester United will be pitted against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Old Trafford this evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United got the better of Pep Guardiola’s City a month ago at the Etihad in the Premier League. This will be a tough match for United as City will be seeking both revenge for their last defeat and to retain the trophy they won last season.

Solskjaer has some problems to contend with ahead of this match from the injuries of Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba, which has a negative effect on the team and the fact that there is a massive lack of creativity in the team, followed by an inability to pressure the opposition which was seen in the last match away to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Emirates FA Cup where United had no shots on target.

It will be the second Manchester derby of the season, the first at Old Trafford so tensions will be high with the current Premier League and Carabao Cup holders arrive at the Theatre of Dreams. The players should be motivated for this game, if not, why not. It would be good to see United return to winning ways but much like in the last match, United need to ensure they actually turn a corner, not regress once again.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Jones, Lindelof, Williams;

Fred, Pereira;

James, Lingard, Rashford;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

Romero; Dalot; Mata, Gomes, Matic, Chong; Martial

Manchester City:

Bravo;

Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy;

Rodrigo, Gündogan, De Bruyne;

Mahrez, Sterling, Bernardo

Substitutes:

Ederson; Cancelo, Garcia; D. Silva, Foden; Jesus, Aguero

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.

copyright: JW