The Manchester United will face Manchester City once again in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup this year. Unlike last year, this year’s semi-finals will be single legged and the Derby will take place at Old Trafford. United, who are on a good run of form recently will be looking to get the better out of a deflated City team, who have lost some of their key players to Covid.
If we look at Manchester City, even after loosing some players with Covid, City were able to beat a strong Chelsea side 3-1 last week. That shows how strong City are and their brilliant squad depth. Even though their squad is light, they have enough quality to beat any team on their day.
Before today’s Manchester Derby at Old Trafford, let us look at some important informations regarding this encounter.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his pre-match press conference confirmed that the only absentees would be Edinson Cavani, who has been banned for 3 games, and Phil Jones, who has been injured for a long time. This would mean Victor Lindelof who was recovering from a back injury would be fit and available for selection.
Manchester City on the other hand have several players out due to Covid, which include Gabriel Jesus, Kyle Walker and Eric Garcia. Couple of players who are under isolation are Ederson and Ferran Torres, they might also miss the derby. City also has some injury concerns with Aymeric Laporte being out with a hamstring injury and Nathan Ake failing to pass his fitness test against Chelsea.
- The last time these two teams met, the game ended in a stalemate with neither team being able to score a goal.
- United managed to do a league double over Manchester City last season, which was their first against City since 2009/10. Ole’s men completed the league double with a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford.
- The last time United and City met at the Carabao Cup semi-finals last season, the blues went on to win the 2-legged semi-final with a 3-2 aggregate score. Even though United managed to win the second leg 1-0, the scoreline was not good enough to get them to the finals. City eventually went on to win the Carabao Cup for the 4th time in last 5 years.
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- This is the fourth time Man Utd and Man City have met in the League Cup semi-finals, also doing so in 1969-70, 2009-10 and 2019-20, the joint-most of any fixture along with Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last three games against Man City in all competitions (W2 D1) without conceding a goal. They haven’t gone four without defeat against their rivals since February 2011.
- The home team has ended on the winning side in just three of the last 14 matches between Man Utd and Man City in all competitions (D3 L8).
Thoughts On The Game
Manchester United are currently on a great run. They haven’t lost a single game since their exit from the Champions League against RB Leipzig. The Reds come into this semi-finals after beating Everton 2-0 in the quarter finals. They are also coming to this game on the back of a 2-1 home win against Aston Villa in the league. Looking at all these, United could go into this game with slightly more confidence. And they would believe they can get a positive result out of City.
Whereas City are also looking pretty good. Apart from their injury concerns and missing couple of games due to Covid, their results have not been affected much. They haven’t lost a game since loosing 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspur on 21st November across all competitions. They come into this semi-finals after defeating Arsenal 4-1 in the quarter finals. And their most recent result being the 3-1 win over Chelsea in the league. Apart from some players being out, City are still a force to reckon with. And United will have to play their A-game if they are to go through to the finals.
It’s surely going to be a cracker of a game. Both teams will be looking to continue their great runs and take that momentum into the finals. Last time these two teams played in the league, it was a caggy affair with neither teams pushing for the win. Everyone expected atleast City to push for the win like Pep always has, but they didn’t. This approach of theirs got a lot of critics questioning Pep and his tactics.
If United are to win this game, they have to dominate the game from the start. United should control the first 30mins and try getting a goal or two in the first half itself. Getting the first goal would open up the play and give us more space for counter attacks. But United should be wary of City’s attacking threat. If Bailly starts in defence, his pace can sort out most of the trouble caused by City. But since Lindelof will be back fit, Ole might start him over Bailly resulting in a totally different style of play.
Let’s hope Ole picks his best XI today and we dominate the game like we want. We have to give our best and go into the finals with huge confidence. A positive result today will also allow us to push forward with our race for the league title and build momentum towards it.
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What are your thoughts going into this big game? Would you go with a back four or a back five today against City? Do let us know your thoughts.
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