On Wednesday night, the two best form teams in the Premier League will meet in the Carabao Cup as Manchester United welcome our rivals and neighbours Manchester City to Old Trafford. It is the second year in a row that we meet each other in the semi-final stages of the competition as both teams are coming into this game following wins at the weekend.
The Manchester Derby is always highly anticipated and this game has even more riding on it as there is a place up for the grabs in the final at Wembley in April. With the victory over Aston Villa on New Year’s Day and Liverpool losing at Southampton on Monday night, United has been talked up as potential challengers for the Premier League title.
United have made up for their inconsistent start to the season. We have taken 26 points from an available 30 as the victory against Villa moves us level on points with current league champions Liverpool. United currently sit three places and four points above our neighbours, albeit having played a game more.
The Red Devils have had good success in the league competition. It will be our 16th appearance in the semi-finals, second only to Liverpool. United have progressed beyond 9 of their 15 previous semi-finals but we have been knocked out two of the last three. Manchester City has held the bragging rights over this competition and had beaten us at this stage last year with a 3-2 aggregate win despite us winning the second leg at the Etihad.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær record against Pep Guardiola is quite good as he won three of the six meetings between each other. This is the worst loss percentage for Guardiola of any manager he faced at least five times. United have hit a good run of form lately that has seemingly put to bed any media reports from over a month ago that Solskjaer’s job was under threat.
Following our 2-1 win against Aston Villa on New Year’s Day, we have won four and drawn one of our last five home league games.
Manchester City is also coming into this game tomorrow in fine form. They have won three in a row and only suffer one defeat in the last 15 across all the competitions. City will be looking to lift the League Cup for the sixth time in the last eight seasons, and for the fourth time in a row. This a feat only achieved by Liverpool from 1981 to 1984.
They have only lost two of their last 23 league cup games under Guardiola. Both defeats coming at the hands of Manchester United. The most recent defeat came in the second leg of the semi-finals during last season’s competition. United won 1-0 but City still went through having won the first leg 3-1 at Old Trafford.
Pep Guardiola has had 17 victories out of 24 matches in the League Cup. Whilst Manchester City has got beyond their last five semi-finals of this competition, and have won the trophy each time.
Manchester United vs Manchester City Match Details
Teams: Manchester United vs Manchester City
Date: January 6th, 2020 (Wednesday)
KO Time: 19:45 GMT
Competition: Carabao Cup
Stadium: Old Trafford
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Pep Guardiola
Manchester United Team News
Edison Cavani is still suspended following his ban from the FA. Victor Lindelof remains a doubt for the game after he missed the last two games through a back injury. Dean Henderson is expected to replace David De Gea in goal. Ole Gunnar Solskjær will have to decide whether he would stick with the same side that beat Aston Villa. Or whether he will look to bring the likes of Alex Telles, Mason Greenwood, Donny van de Beek into the side.
Solskjær did have this to say about team news for Wednesday night’s game, “We’re disappointed not having Edinson involved. But he’s probably the only one not [available] and, of course, Phil Jones has been out for a long time. They’re the only two not available for selection, which is a good position to be in.”
Pre-Match Press Conference
During the pre-match press conference, Ole was asked how important tomorrow’s game is. He said, “Very. The next game is always important but a semi-final is always very important and a chance to get to the final and to get your hands on a trophy in the next round. For this team it would be a very big step, getting your hands on a trophy. We’ve developed a lot in the last six months, or 12 months from the last Carabao Cup semi. It’s not just learning to win semis, we’ve also earned the right to feel we can go all the way with our performances. We’re confident; we go into the game in form. There are no excuses.”
Ole was also asked about former Manchester United player Darren Fletcher joining as a first-team coach. He said, “He’s got the Man United DNA and there was a spot open because Mark Dempsey has moved to the Academy. We felt he is so valuable there; he has been brilliant in the Academy. So then when this opening came… Darren has been away from the club for a few years and then he has been back doing coaching with the [Under] 16s. With his experience of being here through both successful and difficult times, we felt it was right now for Darren to come in and give us that input. I think it’s important that we bring in ex-players who have been somewhere else.”
A member of the media asked Ole what sort of game he is expected. He responded with the following, “Well, you have two teams who want to get to the final. We’ve had four days now after Villa so, hopefully, we’ve got more fresh legs. I think the last game showed two teams with respect for each other. They weren’t as much possession-based against Chelsea, they were more counter-attacking. They’ve got quick players on the break – of course, we have to be aware of that, as well as their possession game.”
Manchester City Team News
Manchester City will be without Ederson, Gabriel Jesus, Kyle Walker, Ferran Torres, Eric Garcia. They missed the game against Chelsea due to testing positive for covid-19. Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker will have completed their 10-day isolation period by the time this game comes around and may feature. Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake are likely to miss the game after not featuring against Chelsea through injury.
United’s EFL Cup form: WWW
United‘s form (all competitions): WWWDWW
City’s EFL Cup form: WWW
City’s form (all competitions): DDWWWW
- United have yet to concede a goal in this season’s Carabao Cup.
- This is the fourth time United and City have met in the League Cup semi-finals, also doing so in 1969-70, 2009-10, and 2019-20.
- United are unbeaten in their last three games against City in all competitions without conceding a goal.
- This is United’s 16th appearance in the League Cup semi-finals, with us progressing to the final nine times.
Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, Pogba; Fernandes; Martial, and Rashford.
United have had two more days rest than our rivals City and Ole Gunnar Solskjær will have the opportunity to name a full-strength squad for the game. This game will be an intriguing affair as United will not want to make a mistake that costs us a place in the final at Wembley in April. We have shown lately that we can come through games where we have been under pressure or having to come from behind. We are in fine form at the moment and we want to carry this on and lift this trophy.
Manchester United 1-0 Manchester City