Tuesday 25 October 2016

Match preview: United v City

United entertain City for the second time this season with both sides looking to put the weekend's disappointments behind them and progress to the EFL Cup quarter-finals.

Sunday's defeat to Chelsea was instantly forgettable but the games comes and thick and fast and a home Manchester derby cup tie could be just the tonic even if there are no league points on the line this time.

Pep Guardiola's side won their first ten games in all competitions this term, including September's 2-1 win at Old Trafford, but have not won in five after a 1-1 draw with Southampton on Sunday.

They also suffered a chastening 4-0 defeat of their own last week in the Camp Nou (conveniently glossed over by critics, of course) when they were dismantled by Barca and rarely have the two sides gone into a derby in such wayward, inconsistent form. 

United are definitely without Marouane Fellaini and Eric Bailly, Wayne Rooney is doubtful and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (whose last appearance was in that league derby) is expected to feature in what looks to be a much-changed line up for the hosts.

City boss Guardiola has also hinted at a rotated side but Kevin de Bruyne, Bacary Sagna, Pablo Zabaleta and Fabian Delph will all miss the fourth round tie for the league leaders.

Jose said that his side will "come out fighting" after the Stamford Bridge setback, and said:

"I am 100% Manchester United, it is not a good situation but there is only one answer: to keep fighting, keep training and keep working hard.
"Something bad happened but that can happen in football and we owe the fans a big performance and big result so this game against another difficult opponents is a chance to do that.
"I would prefer to play in the Premier League because it is a bad feeling with the combination of results meaning there is a gap of six points to the top.
"We've had a very difficult period of tough matches, I am not saying that Burnley, Swansea and West Ham are easy but we need to win.
"The top five all have to play between themselves and they will lose points too so we are still in the run." 

City overcame Swansea to reach the last 16 with a 2-1 win at the Liberty last time out while United avoided the scalp of a lower league side to knock out third tier Northampton 3-1.

The most memorable League Cup meeting between ourselves and City came in 2010 when a late Wayne Rooney header settled a thrilling semi final 4-3 on aggregate and United went on to lift the trophy that season. 

Form guide: United W W D D W L City W D L D L D 
Match odds: United 13/8 Draw 18/5 City 9/5
Referee: Mike Dean 

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