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EFL Cup - It's United vs City

EFL CUP

MANCHESTER UNITED vs. MANCHESTER CITY

Live on Sky Sports Main Event + Sky Sports Football, Tuesday 20:00 GMT

 

 

Manchester's red and sky blue halves face off in a tie that could theoretically kick-start their respective seasons. If the carrot of a Wembley final was not enough then the chance to assert local bragging rights should be sufficient motivation and City, in particular, have a recent score to settle. Last month United, in one of the best tactical displays of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer s tenure, executed a supreme counter-attacking performance to beat City at the Etihad and drill yet another nail into the coffin of their title defence.

More of the same at Old Trafford would be a surprise and Guardiola surely has a plan to ensure City are not caught out badly again. But there is every incentive for Solskjaer to conjure up a repeat.

United remain woefully inconsistent and reserve their best displays for matches against opponents who push high and leave gaps at the back; if the Norwegian can get a tune out of his side this time, setting them up positively ahead of the second leg and then sending them to the final, it might just improve his long-term job prospects.

The key men

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford played havoc on the break in that Premier League meeting and will surely be crucial to anything United can achieve on Tuesday night. Martial missed the weekend s FA Cup trip to Wolves through illness and Solskjaer will be desperately hoping his return to training on Monday passed with no further issues.

City can call upon Sergio Aguero, who was absent from their previous clash and might well have finished off one of their second-half chances, and may find United offer up more space on their own turf. But their defensive players will need to be sharp and it is the kind of occasion on which Rodri, so positionally astute in his deep midfield role, will need to drop in effectively and cover when United spring a fast break.

 

The big question

Can City get it right from the start this time?

In the league game at the Etihad they were - down within half an hour and more of the same, in front of a keyed-up Old Trafford crowd, could give them a mountain to climb. They will have noted how Arsenal blew United away in the first half on New Year s Day, before sitting in and exposing their inability to unlock a packed back line. A similar approach could pay dividends here.

 

Prediction: Manchester City @ 4/6 General

 

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