Paul Higham previews the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final between the two Manchester clubs at Old Trafford.
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These first legs are tough and at times cagey affairs, but perhaps not in a Manchester derby at Old Trafford where both sides have plenty of reasons for giving this everything.
For differing reasons both sides need to put in a good display, City seem resigned to missing out on the league this year so need to try and sweep up the cups again, while United have hit yet another slump after yet another false dawn and could do with a pick-me-up.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side did win a couple of games over Christmas, but they were sandwiched between defeats to Watford and Arsenal, and followed with a drab stalemate at Wolves.
City also have revenge on their minds after United went to the Etihad and beat them 2-1 in a classic smash-and-grab on the counter attack. United managed just 28 percent possession that day but could have won by more as CIty left themselves open at the back time and time again.
Despite this game being at Old Trafford, United will again operate in the same style and sit back, looking to spring forward with pace in behind City's defence - which remains their huge weakness.
United actually hold a 5-4 record in the last 11 Manchester derby games, and the Red Devils have certainly got a better record against the better sides this season. They're unbeaten against top eight teams and have won at Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.
Harry Maguire is a big doubt with injury though, and he'd be a big miss for the hosts who are already a massive price at around 4/1 to win the game, and almost 3/1 just to get a draw. That's a big price considering this is just the first leg.
City should win though but with both teams having scored in four of the last five Manchester derbies, and neither confident at the back, take them to do so having conceded.
Prediction: Man Utd 1-2 Man City (Sky Bet odds: 15/2)
Manchester United v Manchester City Opta stats
- Manchester United beat Manchester City in their last meeting in December in the Premier League; the Red Devils haven’t won consecutive games against their rivals since April 2010.
- Manchester City have won six of their last nine away games against Man Utd in all competitions (W6 D1 L2), one more than they managed in their previous 39 at Old Trafford.
- Manchester United have eliminated Man City in each of their last two League Cup ties, knocking them out in the 2009/10 semi-final and the fourth round in 2016/17.
- Since losing 1-0 to Man Utd in the fourth round in October 2016, Man City are unbeaten in 15 League Cup matches (W11 D4). The last team to have a longer run was Chelsea between 2004 and 2008 (18 games), though they were eliminated on penalties in that run.
- This will be Manchester United’s 15th League Cup semi-final – only Liverpool (17) have featured in more in the competition’s history.
- Pep Guardiola has won his last five domestic semi-final matches with Manchester City since losing 2-1 to Arsenal in the 2016/17 FA Cup semi-final. Four of those wins were in the League Cup, winning both legs against Bristol City in 2017/18 and Burton Albion in 2018/19.
- Man Utd striker Marcus Rashford has been involved in eight goals in his last five League Cup appearances (5 goals, 3 assists), scoring three goals so far this campaign.
- Since the start of the 2013/14 season, Man City’s Raheem Sterling has been involved in more League Cup goals than any other player (14 – 8 goals, 6 assists).
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