Holders Manchester City will face off against lower league side Burton Albion in the semifinal of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.

Manchester City will welcome League One outfit Burton Albion to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday for the first leg of the 2018-19 Carabao Cup semifinal.

Manchester City, the current holders of the trophy, made it to the final four of the competition, after they defeated fellow Premier League side Leicester City on penalties in the last round.

Having tasted back to back defeats against Crystal Palace and Leicester in the Premier League, Pep Guardiola’s men have bounced back with three wins in a row, beating Southampton, Liverpool in the league and most recently thrashing Rotherham United 7-0 in the FA Cup. And they will be hoping to take a step closer to retaining the Carabao Cup with a win at home this week.

Burton Albion, having been relegated to the League One, have had a fantastic run in the Carabao Cup. The Brewers, led by manager Nigel Clough, have beaten Shrewsbury Town, Aston Villa, Burnley and Nottingham Forest in the first four rounds, before getting the better of Middlesbrough (0-1) in the quarterfinal.

Coming into Wednesday’s game, Albion are on a four-match unbeaten run in the English third division, with their latest match ending in a 4-0 win over Rochdale. Having beaten four teams from higher divisions in the cup competition already this term, the Brewers will be aiming to cause a huge upset at the Etihad.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester City

The defending champions will be without the services of second-choice goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, while full-back Benjamin Mendy also remains sidelined. Having fielded a strong side against Rotherham at the weekend, Guardiola is unlikely to pull his punches once again and should send out a formidable lineup on Wednesday.

Arijanet Muric has been the preferred choice in goal in the Carabao Cup for the Citizens and is likely to get the nod against the Brewers. Danilo did not start against Rotherham, but is expected to feature from the kick off at right-back in the midweek game, while Fabian Delph should come in at left-back in place of Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Aymeric Laporte should get a look in at the heart of the defence against Burton Albion. He is likely to be partnered by captain Vincent Kompany, who wasn’t involved in the last game against Rotherham.

Phil Foden, who was on the scoresheet at the weekend, is expected to continue in the middle of the park, while Ilkay Gundogan is expected to start again as well, after a sensational display in the previous game. Kevin De Bruyne could be given a break though, with David Silva set to return after being left out of the squad for the last match.

Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane were both on the bench in the FA Cup match, but could be in line for a start on the right and left flanks respectively. However, Gabriel Jesus is likely to continue as the striker ahead of Sergio Aguero.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Muric; Danilo, Kompany, Laporte, Delph; David Silva, Gundogan, Foden; Bernardo Silva, Jesus, Sane;

Burton Albion

Kyle McFadzean and Marvin Sordell are unlikely to be involved for the visitors on Wednesday night, while Stephen Quinn is also a major doubt after being taken off injured against Rochdale in the Brewers’ last game. Clough is expected to set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation against the Premier League champions.

21-year-old Bradley Collins should once get the nod between the sticks for the visitors. John Brayford, who was not involved in the last game, should come back into the starting XI at right-back, with Reece Hutchinson starting as the left-back. Jake Buxton and Ben Turner will pair up at the centre of the backline for the visitors.

With Quinn a doubt for the game, Ben Fox could find himself starting in the middle of the park. He is likely to be partnered by Jamie Allen and Scott Fraser, both of whom were in the starting line-up at the weekend against Rochdale.

22-year-old Marcus Harness, who scored a brilliant hat-trick in the last game for Burton, is expected to hold on to his spot on the right flank, while David Templeton is also likely to be retained in the starting XI on the opposite side. Spearheading the attack for the Brewers will be striker Liam Boyce, who came off the bench to score at the weekend.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Collins; Brayford, Buxton, Turner, Hutchinson; Fraser, Fox, Allen; Harness, Boyce, Templeton;

Key Stats

  • Wednesday’s meeting will be first encounter between Manchester City and Burton Albion.
  • Manchester City come into the game on the back of three consecutive wins, in which they have scored 12 goals and conceded just twice.
  • Burton Albion are unbeaten in their last four fixtures (W2, D2), over the course of which they have netted eight times and let in just two goals, keeping two clean sheets in the process.
  • The Cityzens have kept two clean sheets in their three Carabao Cup fixtures this season, while the Brewers have managed two shut-outs as well, albeit in five matches.

Player to Watch

Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

Running the show (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Running the show (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The German international was at the heart of Manchester City’s thumping win over Rotherham United this past weekend, as he controlled the game with his incisive distribution and vision. Gundogan finished the game having assisted four of the seven goals that the Premier League champions scored on Sunday.

So far in the 2018-19 term, the 28-year-old has featured 23 times in all competitions, scoring four goals and setting up seven more. And manager Guardiola will be hoping that the former Borussia Dortmund man will be in his elements once again, when City set out to take on the Brewers on Wednesday night.

Prediction

Manchester City 4-0 Burton Albion

After a small hiccup that saw them lose two games in a row, Manchester City are back in their groove again. Impressive wins against Southampton and Liverpool were capped with an absolute mauling of Rotherham in the FA Cup this past weekend.

Burton Albion have been impressive in their Carabao Cup run and are coming into the big game on a good run of results. However, given how ruthless City were on Sunday, it is hard to imagine that Nigel Clough’s side stand any chance on Wednesday night at the Etihad Stadium. A comfortable win is on the cards for the defending champions.