Manchester United will be looking to capitalise on their two-goal lead from the first leg when they take on Hull City in the EFL Cup semi-final.
After an impressive showing against Hull in the first leg, Manchester United have a two-goal cushion for Thursday’s encounter against the Tigers. Second half goals from Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini proved to do the trick and gave the Red Devils something to show for from their first leg at home.
A similar performance is expected from the Manchester outfit at KCOM Stadium, but as they saw earlier in the season, it is going to be a tough ask. Despite having a two-goal lead, they are not likely to sit back and will look to add another goal to put the game beyond all doubt.
However, in the third game of the league this term, they had to rely on Marcus Rashford to score a Fergie time winner to pick up three points against Hull. The Tigers maintained a compact shape and rarely gave a hint of a chance to the opposition.
Thus, this game, has the billing to be an intriguing mid-week match. Also, the winner of this game will face Southampton in the cup final at Wembley in February.
Jose Mourinho isn’t likely to tinker with his main team and is expected to field the strongest possible eleven. David de Gea will start in goal with a back four of Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw ahead of him.
Shaw was expected to start the first leg as well, but an illness ruled him out of the game. Defender Eric Bailly was unfortunately part of the Ivory Coast side that got knocked out in the group stages of the African Cup of Nations. However, this game has come too soon for the defender, and he will join the squad over the next few days.
After being rested for the weekend clash against Stoke, Michael Carrick is set to return to the eleven and will be partnered by Ander Herrera in midfield. Paul Pogba is likely to play in front of the two midfielders in the number 10 role.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial will start as wingers, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing centrally.
For the visitors, David Marshall is expected to start in goal with a centre-back pairing of Harry Maguire and Michael Dawson ahead of him. Playing as full-backs will be Omar Elabdellaoui and Andrew Robertson.
Tom Huddlestone will be looking to strengthen Hull’s resolve in the middle of the mark, while new signing Lazar Markovic and Adama Diomande will give the Tigers guile down the wings. Abel Hernandez will lead the line for the home side.
- Hull haven’t scored in any of their last four matches against United – their last scorer was Matty Fryatt in a Premier League clash in May 2014.
- The only two teams Hull have played more often than Man United (five) at the KCOM without winning are Arsenal and Chelsea (both six games).
- The Tigers are unbeaten in their last six home League Cup matches (W3 D3), scoring exactly once in each match.
- Manchester United have won 12 and lost none of their last 13 matches against Hull City in all competitions (D1).
- The Red Devils have lost four of their last five away League Cup matches against Premier League opposition (W1), most recently losing 2-1 to Sunderland in January 2014.
- United have never lost a match at the KCOM Stadium, winning four and drawing one in five previous Premier League clashes there. Their last away defeat to Hull came in November 1974 at Boothferry Park in a Second Division match under the management of Tommy Docherty.
- Wayne Rooney has had a hand in five goals in his last four appearances at the KCOM Stadium for Man United (two goals, three assists).
Watch out for
The Argentine has stepped in to replace the likes of Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Dailly Blind. While Rojo has looked decent at the back alongside Phil Jones, his decision-making has been a tad questionable. Now, with Bailly likely to come straight into the fold, this game might prove to be crucial for Rojo if he is to justify his starting-eleven credentials for Manchester United.
Hull City 1-2 Manchester United
Hull go into the game as underdogs, and with little hopes of overcoming a two-goal deficit. However, playing with nothing to lose, the Tigers will go all out in search for a couple of goals and are likely to be left exposed at the back. United, too, will have two defenders just returning to the lineup, and may deal with a few defensive problems of their own on the day.