Manchester City and Manchester United will lock horns on Wednesday night in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester United will be looking to overturn a two-goal deficit from the first leg when they go head to head against neighbours Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final at the Etihad.
The first leg of the contest, at Old Trafford, ended in a comfortable 3-1 win for Pep Guardiola’s side, following which the Cityzens have won three of their four matches in all competitions (D1). Their most recent fixture ended in a resounding 4-0 win over Fulham in the FA Cup and they will be hoping to carry forward that momentum this week.
Manchester United, on the other hand, have had mix fortunes since that defeat to their neighbours. The Red Devils have won three and lost two of their subsequent five games. But, their 6-0 thrashing of Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup, will have lifted the morale of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
Manchester United put in a fine performance on their last visit to the Etihad, beating Manchester City 2-1 and will need to put on a similar showing if they are to stand a chance of making a comeback in the two-legged tie. And here at The Hard Tackle, we take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Pep Guardiola will not be able to call upon the German speedster Leroy Sane, while Joao Cancelo is also a doubt after picking up a knock in the win against Fulham. Aymeric Laporte is experiencing fatigue and the Manchester City manager might not risk the centre-back with a healthy lead from the first leg.
Claudio Bravo has been the designated goalkeeper for cup competitions and that should not change for the derby at the Etihad on Wednesday. Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy ought to return in the full-back slots after not featuring against Fulham. Fernandinho should slot in as one of the centre-halves, with Nicolas Otamendi likely to partner him.
Rodri wasn’t part of the starting XI at the weekend, but should come into the side, slotting as the defensive midfielder. Ilkay Gundogan, who scored in the last game, should be retained in the side while Kevin De Bruyne should come back into the team for the derby.
Guardiola left out both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus from the lineup in the first leg against Manchester United. However, he is likely to field Aguero in the side at the Etihad. The Argentine will be flanked by Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling, with Riyad Mahrez dropping to the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Bravo; Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; B. Silva, Aguero, Sterling
Injuries continue to hamper Manchester United as they will once again be without the services of Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe, while Timothy Fosu-Mensah is working his way back to fitness. Nemanja Matic is a fresh concern for Solskjaer, having come off with an injury in the last game.
Sergio Romero has been in top form, but David de Gea is likely to return in goal after sitting out against Tranmere Rovers. Solskjaer used a three-man backline in the last game and could stick to a similar setup on Monday with while Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and the fit-again Eric Bailly set to take up the three slots.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams are set to return as the wing-backs in place of Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw. Fred did not start against Tranmere, but should come back to the side in the middle of the park. With Matic’s involvement a doubt, Andreas Pereira is likely to line up alongside his compatriot in midfield.
No changes are expected in the attacking third as Jesse Lingard should continue in the No. 10 role after scoring in the last game, while Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood operate as the two forwards, with Daniel James providing an option from the bench.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): de Gea; Lindelof, Bailly, Maguire; Wan-Bissaka, Pereira, Fred, Williams; Lingard; Greenwood, Martial
- There have been no draws between Manchester City and Manchester United in their last six meetings. The Cityzens have won four of those fixtures, while the Red Devils have come out on top twice.
- Manchester City have won just one of their last five home matches against Manchester United (W1 D1 L3), all in the Premier League between 2016 and 2019.
- Manchester United are looking to record consecutive away victories against Manchester City for the first time since winning four in a row between November 1993 and November 2000, with all wins in that run coming in league games.
- Only one of the previous 29 teams to win a League Cup semi-final first leg by two or more goals have then been eliminated, with Tranmere Rovers going out against Aston Villa in 1993-94 (3-1 first leg, 1-3 second leg, lost 5-4 on penalties).
- Manchester City are looking to become only the third team to reach three League Cup finals in a row, after Liverpool (four in a row between 1981 and 1984) and Nottingham Forest (1978 to 1980).
Player to Watch
Kevin De Bruyne
The Belgian international has been in sensational form in the ongoing campaign, having netted 7 goals and set up a mind-boggling 18 goals in 29 matches across all competitions. His ability to carve open defences with precise passes and the goal-scoring prowess from distance will be a major hindrance in Manchester United’s way of mounting a comeback.
If the Red Devils want to stand a chance of making through to the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, they will need to stop Manchester City from scoring at the Etihad on Wednesday night. And stopping De Bruyne could go a long way in helping their cause.
Manchester City 2-1 Manchester United
Manchester City have come out on top against Manchester United just once in their last five meetings at the Etihad. The Cityzens lost the last home game to their neighbours in the Premier League earlier this season. However, they come into Monday’s match on an eight-game unbeaten run and will be hard to stop.
Manchester United haven’t made the best of start to the new year, but the 6-0 win against Tranmere will have buoyed their confidence, and the memory of beating Manchester City at the Etihad last time out will be fresh as well.
But, the Red Devils have been extremely inconsistent over the course of the campaign and the absence of Marcus Rashford will definitely be felt. And that is why, we at The Hard Tackle are tipping Manchester City to come out on top and take a step closer towards retaining the Carabao Cup.