Tuesday 19 September 2017

League Cup preview: United v Burton Albion

Holders United begin their defence of the newly-named Carabao Cup with a third round tie against lower league opposition for the second season in a row. 

The Reds overcame League One Northampton at the same stage 12 months ago en route to lifting the trophy, sealed with that dramatic 3-2 win over Southampton in the final at Wembley.

Having seen off the third-tier side at Sixfields, United edged out local rivals City and eased past West Ham before an aggregate victory over Hull in the semi finals.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was our hero in the showpiece as he popped up with the winner three minutes from time after Saints had cancelled his opener and Jesse Lingard's well taken second. 

That success was the first major silverware of Jose's Old Trafford career - and the fourth time he's won this competition - and the boss is set to name a much-changed side for the visit of Nigel Clough's Brewers.

David de Gea, Nemanja Matic, Eric Bailly, Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Valencia will all be rested as Jose shuffles his pack ahead of a hectic fixtures schedule.

Despite the wholesale changes, such is the strength in depth of United's squad that the team selection still looks likely to be a strong one. 
Michael Carrick, Matteo Darmian, Scott McTominay, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw are set to feature, but Marcos Rojo, Paul Pogba and Axel Tuanzebe are injured and will miss out. 

For the Championship visitors, summer signings Liam Boyce and John Brayford are injured and cup-tied respectively, but recent absentees Hope Akpan and Matt Palmer could be in line to return.

Following successive promotions, the Staffordshire side struggled in their first ever season in the second tier last term, as they avoided relegation by a single point.

Clough brought in 12 new faces in the summer and after losing their first three league games, they've since picked up eight points from a possible 15 to move up to 19th place. 

This is a tie that will spark memories of 2006 when the two sides met in the FA Cup, when Burton were then a non-league club.

Despite the second half showings of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, the first tie at the Pirelli Stadium ended goalless.
Sir Alex's United, however, proved too strong in the Old Trafford replay and ran out comfortable 5-0 winners. 

Burton have seen off League One side Oldham and high-flying divisional rivals Cardiff City away from home to set up their glamour trip to Old Trafford. 

Form guide: United W W W W W W Burton Albion W W D L D W 
Match odds: United 4/1 Draw 11/1 Burton 50/2
Referee: Graham Scott takes charge of his first ever United fixture 

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