Manchester United vs Manchester City
Old Trafford’s the only place to be on Tuesday night when Manchester United host their City rivals in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg.
This game has lots of spice and plenty at stake, particularly after the Red Devils stunned Manchester City in a league game at the Etihad in December. That defeat put a huge dent in the Sky Blues’ Premier League title hopes, which have since all but disappeared.
That would have been even sweeter for United fans had Liverpool not been the beneficiary, but nevertheless, it put the current champions in their place. Having lived in the shadow of Manchester United for over two decades, City have evolved from being noisy neighbours to the dominant force in the league.
And it will be some time before the Red Devils approach parity again, so much so that
Manchester City are at 1.14 to advance to the final at the end of this tie, with the Red Devils at 5.16 to make it through.
How the Red side of Manchester would love that!
Underdog tag doesn’t suit United
During Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Old Trafford Manchester United won the Premier League a colossal 13 times, sweeping all before them with periodic interruptions from Arsenal and Chelsea.
But since his retirement in 2013, the loyal United fans have had to watch as others have run ahead, and they find themselves in the Europa League while their rivals play in the Champions League. But there remains an aura about the club, and head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is striving to galvanise his current crop of players to begin the climb back to the summit.
The Red Devils are struggling to put a run of results together. After back-to-back wins, they put in a limp performance in a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates last week and then were outplayed by Wolves in yesterday’s FA Cup 0-0 draw. It hasn’t helped that Paul Pogba’s future continues to dominate the big news around Old Trafford. The France World Cup winner is currently out with an ankle injury but it won’t have pleased OGS to hear Pogba’s agent, Raiola, tell Italian journalists that he would not send any of his other clients to Manchester United.
Pogba’s absence has seen the emergence of Andrea Perreira as a strong presence in midfield and, alongside Fred, his progress has been a bright spot at the Theatre of Dreams.
Pep’s Silverware Obsession
Team selection for cup competitions is normally a key factor in determining our SBOTOP tips but I have a feeling both head coaches will field very strong teams; particularly as City’s league title aspirations are all but gone. That will hurt Pep Guardiola so early in the season, and he will be determined to sweep up the rest of the silverware on offer.
Despite losing in last years Champions League, Pep insisted City had won a quadruple, including the Community Shield, but there is no denying he is a trophy magnet. He has won three La Ligas with Barcelona and two Champions Leagues, three Bundesligas with FC Bayern and two Premier Leagues with City.
With two goals in the opening fixture of 2020, Gabriel Jesus inspired City to a 2-1 win over Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton, and he’s joined Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling as an in-form hitman at the Etihad. And over the road, with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial both enjoying their best seasons, the Premier League top scorers table is littered with Manchester forwards.
Both Rashford and Sterling have three goals in this competition and each will be on the hunt for more on Tuesday.
In the 51 Manchester derbies played, since the outset of the Premier League era, Manchester United have won 27 to City’s 17 and there have been seven draws.
Almost everyone’s Manchester United vs Manchester City betting tips, the last time these two met, were wide of the mark as United pulled off a stunning win at the Etihad to virtually put an end to City’s title hopes as Rashford and Martial were on target again.
The Sky Blues won three of the previous four meetings and are on a three-match winning run, but the Red Devils are unbeaten in 13 at home.
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