28th January, 2020
Manchester City welcome local rivals United to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night for the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi final, with Pep Guardiola’s side on the brink of a third successive League Cup final appearance.
United have it all to do after being blown away at Old Trafford at the start of January. City hit three goals in 38 electrifying first half minutes as they tore United apart, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side with a mountain to climb on Wednesday evening.
However, Marcus Rashford’s 70th minute strike has offered the Red Devils a flicker of hope, and United can take heart from the huge performance they put in at the Etihad in December, as they emerged 2-1 winners.
With a place at Wembley and a shot at the season’s first piece of silverware up for grabs, an exciting Manchester derby under the lights awaits.
Pep Guardiola remained coy when asked whether Eric Laporte would feature on Wednesday. The centre back returned after five months on the sideline against Sheffield United during City’s most recent Premier League outing. However, he missed out against Fulham in the FA Cup due to fatigue.
Riyad Mahrez was substituted after 53 minutes against Fulham after picking up a knock, but Guardiola confirmed the winger has recovered well. Joao Cancelo also sustained an injury to his ankle during City’s cup tie, and will be monitored. Leroy Sane is City’s only long-term absentee.
United will be without Marcus Rashford, who is out until March after suffering a double stress fracture to his back, and Paul Pogba is expected to return in February after undergoing ankle surgery.
Scott McTominay remains sidelined with knee ligament damage, and so is Marcos Rojo, who has a hamstring problem.
|Manchester City||Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Mendy; Rodri, De Bruyne, Gündoğan; B Silva, Sterling, Agüero|
|Manchester United||De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, Williams; Matić, Fred, Pereira; Greenwood, James, Martial|
Wednesday’s fixture will be the 181st meeting between the pair. United hold the bragging rights, with 74 wins to City’s 54, with the remaining 52 encounters finishing all square.
City were outstanding when the two sides met at the beginning of January, as goals from Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, and an Andreas Pereira own goal helped them on their way to a 3-1 win.
However, United came out on top during their last visit to the Etihad, cutting City open time after time during their 2-1 victory in the Premier League.
City are unbeaten in their last eight, winning seven and drawing one. They have been irresistible at times, including in their 6-1 win at Aston Villa, and frustrating at others, as they were held at home to Crystal Palace.
United have endured a testing month, losing to Burnley, Liverpool and Arsenal, and failing to find the net in four of their last eight. However, the Red Devils avoided a potential banana skin in the FA Cup in their last outing, running riot at Tranmere despite the difficult conditions.
Here’s how the pair have fared in their last five.
|Manchester City||Manchester United|
|Man City 4-0 Fulham (26/01)||Tranmere 0-6 Man Utd (26/01)|
|Sheffield United 0-1 Man City (21/01)||Man Utd 0-2 Burnley (22/01)|
|Man City 2-2 Crystal Palace (18/01)||Liverpool 2-0 Man Utd (19/01)|
|Aston Villa 1-6 Man City (12/01)||Man Utd 1-0 Wolves (15/01)|
|Man Utd 1-3 Man City (07/01)||Man Utd 4-0 Norwich (11/01)|
Manchester United have nothing to lose, and can really afford to go for it on Wednesday. City have been pretty vulnerable at the back this season, however with Laporte potentially returning and the absence of Rashford, United’s main attacking threat, the Red Devils will struggle to cause City a host of problems, let alone overturn the two-goal deficit.
This City team should be able to use their big game experience to see the tie out and secure themselves yet another Wembley visit. But if Manchester United get an early goal, it could make things very interesting.