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Man Utd vs. Man City

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Manchester United will host Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday night, where an overnight win is enough to reach the final.

The rules of competition have changed ahead of this season which sees the two-legged semi-final system scrapped and replaced with penalties if there is no winner after 90 minutes. City prevailed last season as United lost one of three possible semi-finals, while Cityzens continued to retain the cup for a third consecutive season.

Pep guardiola
Pep Guardiola loves the league cup | Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

United have since improved under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and sit second in the Premier League behind Liverpool on goal difference. Home form remains an issue, but the Red Devils have gone undefeated in their last four appearances at Old Trafford.

With both sides realizing the importance of winning the first major trophy of the season, here is 90 minspreview of the derby.

Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier League
An empty Old Trafford will stage the game | Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

When does the kick-off take place? Wednesday January 6
What time is the kick-off? 19:45 (GMT)
Where is it played? Old trafford
TV channel / live broadcast? Sky Sports Main Event (United Kingdom),
Arbitrator? Martin atkinson

The home side are without Edinson Cavani, who played the first game of a three-game suspension, and Victor Lindelof, who remains out with a back injury. Otherwise, United have a choice of an almost fully fit squad.

Alex Telles was a late replacement in the win over Aston Villa and could start against City to keep things fresh and continue to serve as competition for Luke Shaw. Elsewhere, Eric Bailly impressed in Lindelof’s absence and significantly staked his claim if he were to maintain his fitness. Dean Henderson will likely return in the starting XI as well.

Edinson Cavani
United do not have their Uruguayan striker | Michael Regan / Getty Images

For City, Pep Guardiola continues to struggle with selection issues. Number one goalie Ederson, forward Gabriel Jesus and defenseman Kyle Walker are all in self-isolation due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Eric Garcia has tested positive and will also miss as a result.

In the positive news, however, Sergio Aguero made another substitute appearance in the win over Chelsea as he continues to recover from a recurring knee injury.

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Telles; Fred, McTominay; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial.

Manchester City: Steffen; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodri, Fernandinho, Gundogan; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Sterling.

The Red Devils have improved a lot since leaving the Champions League in December and maintained their dominant form until 2021, securing a New Years victory over Aston Villa.

United are now undefeated in the league since losing to Arsenal on November 1 and have clicked in attack and defense. Anthony Martial’s seven contributions in his last six appearances have been a welcome return to form for the Frenchman, while Bruno Fernandes’ penalty against Villa was his 15th goal in all competitions this season.

The Cityzens have also improved in recent weeks and are heading to Old Trafford after a convincing 3-1 win over Chelsea this weekend. Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogan were all on the scoresheet as City took four of four wins.

Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne
City have found new ways to score without strikers at their disposal | Visionhaus / Getty Images

They also dispatched Arsenal with ease en route to the semi-final. Foden was among the goals again, as were Riyad Mahrez, Aymeric Laporte and Gabriel Jesus in a 4-1 beating. City have proven they can adapt when needed; they have the best defensive record in the league this season and are capable of scoring goals even without a recognized striker.

Here’s how each team has performed in their last five games.

Manchester United

Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa (01/01/21)
Manchester United 1-0 Wolves (12/29/20)
Leicester City 2-2 Manchester United (12/26/20)
Everton 0-2 Manchester United (23/12/20)
Manchester United 6-2 Leeds United (12/20/20)

Manchester city

Chelsea 1-3 Manchester City (03/01/21)
Manchester City 2-0 Newcastle (12/26/20)
Arsenal 1-4 Manchester City (12/22/20)
Southampton 0-1 Manchester City (12/19/20)
Manchester City 1-1 West Brom (12/15/20)

While both teams were quite happy with the goalless draw in the league derby in December, there is no room for a deadlock in the Carabao Cup semi-final.

And with the new rule changes, neither side will be particularly keen on having to go through extra time and even penalties given the endless schedule.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Joao Cancelo
The Manchester derby in December was really disappointing | Michael Regan / Getty Images

Nobody knows the Carabao Cup like Guardiola’s team do. It’s their precious possession these days and a win could be huge to inspire the team to move up the standings once again. United, however, know they can’t afford to lose another semi-final and haven’t won a trophy since 2017.

In an extremely tight game, the Red Devils will win.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City

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