Manchester United will be hoping to extend their winning run to three games in all competitions when they face in-form Everton in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
Manchester United will shift their attention to the Carabao Cup this midweek as they travel Goodison Park to face Everton in the quarter-final. The Red Devils have bounced back well recently after their Champions League exit, having secured back-to-back wins over Sheffield United and Leeds United.
On Wednesday, however, they will be welcomed by an Everton side, who are currently one of the most in-form teams in England. They are, in fact, heading into this game on the back of three consecutive wins in the Premier League and are only trailing Manchester United due to an inferior goal difference, although the Red Devils do have a game in hand.
It is fair to point out, though, that both the sides are expected to field their secondary teams, as the respective managers look to keep their squad fresh ahead of the congested holiday schedule.
Yet, for Carlo Ancelotti, the Carabao Cup should serve as an ideal opportunity to win silverware at Goodison Park, knowing his team is a mere pony in the title race. As for Man United, who have emerged as strong title contenders and still have a legitimate chance of landing the FA Cup or the Europa League title, it remains unlikely Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would want to surrender the opportunity of winning a trophy.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this exciting quarter-final encounter of the Carabao Cup this midweek.
Team News & Tactics
Everton were without two of their star players in James Rodriguez and Lucas Digne in the win over Arsenal at the weekend. While Digne and Jean-Philippe Gbamin are long-term absentees, Ancelotti has also confirmed the unavailability of Rodriguez in this midweek encounter against Manchester United.
However, as iterated earlier, the Everton manager will be looking forward to making an attempt to win the Carabao Cup so we might witness minimal changes made to the side that beat Arsenal in the last game.
🤕 | Carlo confirms James Rodriguez will miss our #CarabaoCup quarter-final against Manchester United.
— Everton (@Everton) December 22, 2020
Fortunately for Everton fans, Ancelotti has confirmed the return of Coleman during the pre-match press conference, and we expect the Irishman to replace Mason Holgate at right-back, though Ben Godfrey may have to continue on the opposite flank due to the continued absence of Digne.
Yerry Mina, however, could be handed a breather, thus allowing Holgate to retain his place in the side, but in the central defensive slot – alongside Michael Keane. There could a change in goal as well with Robin Olsen coming in for Jordan Pickford.
In midfield, Ancelotti heaped praise on Tom Davies heading into this game, and the Englishman is likely to form the central midfield combo alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure, as Everton continue to miss out on the services of Allan while Andre Gomes is a slight doubt heading into this game.
And finally, in the attacking unit, there could be a breather for Alex Iwobi, thus paving the way for Bernard to form the creative trifecta alongside Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison as they look to provide the supply for in-form centre-forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin this midweek.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Olsen; Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey; Davies, Doucoure; Bernard, Sigurdsson, Richarlison; Calvert-Lewin
Despite the eagerness to advance to the Carabao Cup’s semi-final, Solsjkaer should certainly keep one eye on the important Premier League fixture against Leicester City on Boxing Day. He could, thus, ring in the changes, knowing he simply cannot waste the opportunity of leading his side into a potential title race this season.
Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood are both expected to be in the Manchester United squad for Wednesday, with the latter almost destined to start at right-wing, at the expense of Daniel James. There could be another change in attack with Edinson Cavani replacing Anthony Martial in the number nine position while Donny van de Beek should replace Bruno Fernandes just in behind the main striker.
Juan Mata, meanwhile, is hoping for a start as well. However, the veteran Spaniard might have to settle for a place on the bench, particularly due to Greenwood already operating on the right flank. So, we expect Marcus Rashford to retain his place in the side. Lingard is another player hoping to make a substitute appearance in the second half.
In midfield, Scott McTominay’s brilliant performance against Leeds United was marred by an injury that saw him struggling with his groin following his substitution. He definitely won’t feature in this midweek game, thus paving the way for Paul Pogba to earn a start in midfield, alongside Nemanja Matic.
Both the full-backs in Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw could be rested in favour of Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Alex Telles while Axel Tuanzebe should replace Victor Lindelof.
In goal, Dean Henderson should replace David de Gea despite making an absolute howler in the last game. That should leave Harry Maguire as the only player, apart from Rashford, to retain his place in the starting lineup from the weekend clash and rightly so, as the Englishman’s leadership and experience could be critical in keeping the Everton attack at bay.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Fosu-Mensah, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Pogba; Greenwood, van de Beek, Rashford; Cavani
- This is Manchester United’s third consecutive away tie in this year’s competition, with Luton Town and Brighton & Hove Albion both seen off 3-0 on the road in September.
- Everton have played an extra game in their Carabao Cup route so far, beating Salford City 3-0 at Goodison Park before getting past Fleetwood (5-2) on the Lancashire coast and defeating West Ham 4-1, again at home.
- Everton and Manchester United have met in the Premier League earlier this season, where a first-half brace from Bruno Fernandes helped the Red Devils register a 3-1 victory at Goodison Park.
- Manchester United are looking to reach the League Cup semi-final in consecutive seasons for the first time since dong so in 2008/09 and 2009/19.
- Manchester United and Everton last met in a League Cup tie back in 1993, when the Red Devils beat the Merseysiders 2-0 in the fourth round.
Player to Watch
Donny van de Beek
van de Beek on IG: “Good training day today 💪🏼⚽️” pic.twitter.com/64AHZod8Ek
— DonnyXtra💫 (@DonnyXtra) December 21, 2020
Donny van de Beek clearly hasn’t enjoyed a great season since joining Manchester United in the summer. The midfielder has struggled with a lack of game-time, having last started a Premier League match back in late November against Southampton.
This midweek, the Dutchman will have an excellent opportunity to make an impression. A solid performance against the in-form Everton should definitely raise some eyebrows, thus helping him potentially gain the trust of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which could be necessary now more than ever as the Norwegian tactician prepares for life without Pogba.
Although van de Beek will primarily operate as a replacement for Fernandes in the number ten role. His ability to rotate possession and ease his team’s transition play could be under the microscope at Goodison Park on Wednesday.
Everton 2-1 Manchester United
Manchester United haven’t particularly performed well in the cup matches this season barring from a couple of excellent wins over RB Leipzig and PSG in the Champions League. And with Solskjaer likely to field a largely rotated, we are expecting the in-form hosts to seal a narrow this midweek.