Manchester City are looking to reach their third successive Carabao Cup final, with just rivals Manchester United standing in their way. George Pitts previews the semi-final second leg.
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Manchester City v Manchester United
- 1945 GMT kick-off on Sky Sports Premier League
Man City have one foot in the Carabao Cup final - which would be their fourth in five years in the competition.
The first leg seems a blur now, City winning 3-1 at Old Trafford at the start of the month and they just need to avoid a capitulation on Wednesday night.
They look to be back on track after that early season wobble and are now on a run of losing just one of their last 13. Their loss before that, though, was against United in a lively derby at the Etihad at the start of December.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were impressive in the first half and memories of that display might give them some confidence travelling across the city, even without the injured Marcus Rashford who inspired them to victory and scored on the night.
The other goalscorer was Anthony Martial, who could lead the line here in Rashford's absence. The Frenchman got a confidence-boosting goal in the FA Cup thrashing of Tranmere at the weekend and he was a key part of that attacking line which terrorised Man City's defence in that surprise away result.
He averages just under three shots per game in all competitions this term and, in the two Premier League games since Rashford was ruled out, he has had a total of eight shots, so he is clearly trying to fill that void left by the England international.
United have no reason but to go for it and they should score against a City back line that is usually suspect without Aymeric Laporte, regardless of changes made by Pep Guardiola.
With that in mind, and the fact City's players are so short in this market, it could well be worth a small play on Martial to find the back of the net anytime - but the 11/1 on him to get it first is more tempting as United will need to start well.
Sticking with the same theme, the confidence United will have from the weekend - a confident performance in a banana skin fixture - and from their Premier League win over City earlier in the campaign, leads us to thinking they may net a couple.
They have nothing to lose with it being a knockout competition and there is no reason why they cannot at least win on the night. If City keep it close then it will still see them through to the final.
The Red Devils have a strange knack of surprising us when we least expect it under Solskjaer, especially in the bigger games, so the 10/3 on them to net a couple is also appealing.
Prediction: Man City 1-2 Man United (Sky Bet odds: 22/1)
Sporting Life will be at the Etihad for the clash - keep an eye on @SportingLifeFC on Twitter for all the coverage and post-match reaction...
- 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.
- Man Utd are looking to record consecutive away victories against Man 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.
- In all competitions, the home side has won just two of the last 11 matches between Man City and Man Utd (W2 D2 L7) – indeed, the away side has won five of the last six, including each of the last three.
- 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).
- Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has been directly involved in more League Cup goals than any other player (6 goals, 3 assists). However, the England forward will miss this match through injury.
- Manchester City have scored exactly three goals in all of their League Cup matches so far this campaign – the only previous team to score three or more in every game on their way to reaching the final was Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in 1977-78.
- Manchester United have progressed from two of their last three knockout ties when losing the first leg by two goals, eliminating Olympiakos and PSG in the Champions League last 16 in 2013-14 and 2018-19 respectively.
- Pep Guardiola has progressed from 23 of the previous 24 knockout ties in his management career when winning the first leg, with the exception coming against Monaco with City in the 2016-17 Champions League last 16.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could become only the third manager to win two away matches against Pep Guardiola in his managerial career, along with José Mourinho and Jürgen Klopp, while only one team has ever beaten Man City twice at the Etihad in a single season, with Arsenal winning two games in 2004-05.
West Ham United v Liverpool betting preview: Free Premier League tips, score prediction, best bet and stats
Liverpool play their game in hand on Wednesday, travelling to West Ham looking to extend their lead at the top to 19 points.
George Pitts looks at the betting - take a look by clicking the image below...
Odds correct as of 1750 GMT on 28/01/20
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