Venue: Old Trafford
Date: 26 October 2016
Referee: Mike Dean
Kick off: 20:00
Manchester City embark on the latest chapter of their defence of the former Capital One Cup trophy and the next stop is a little place just outside of Manchester. The Blues are winless in 5 games, a feat not achieved by a Pep Guardiola side since 2009 – that being said, Barcelona went on to win the treble that year.
City will be looking to end the run of poor form and certainly have a chance of doing so against a Manchester United side that come into the game on the back of a 4-0 loss at the hands of Chelsea. City fans couldn’t be happy with a draw at home to Southampton from an overall poor display but, hey, it could always be worse.
The last time the two sides met, Kelechi Iheanacho and Kevin De Bruyne fired the visitors to victory, however the latter will miss the game with an injury sustained at the weekend. On the other hand, Kelechi will be pushing for a place in the starting 11 after scoring the equaliser against Southampton following his arrival on as a half-time substitute.
The team that Pep Guardiola will send out is anyone’s guess, but he has hinted at rotation and cup hero Willy Caballero will take the place between the sticks. Pablo Zabaleta has been ruled out, which means 19-year-old right-back Pablo Maffeo could start unless Pep opts for three at the back again. Vincent Kompany is fit to play but Nicolas Otamendi may reclaim his place.
Another young Spaniard, midfielder Aleix Garcia, may also be pushing for a start after impressing against Swansea City in the previous round.
It’s going to be a tough game at Old Trafford (that intimidating atmosphere sends shivers down my spine) and shouldn’t be considered an easy victory – there aren’t going to be many easy games this season, so mid-table contenders shouldn’t be an expected walkover. United have some expensive and apparently world class players within their ranks so the dab of Paul Pogba could be a threat as may be the nose of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Dave also saves, so add that to the previously mentioned threats and City do have a serious challenge on their hands, and that’s before we mention Michael Carrick – a Manchester City target according to Tim Sherwood.
In all seriousness though, it isn’t going to be an easy ride. Pogba and Ibrahimovic are yet to light up England as promised by United fans around the globe, however these players always have the ability to hit you when you least expect it. Rashford is full of energy and always poses a threat, and he’ll be hoping to bag another derby day goal. United do have an Eric Bailly sized hole in their defence though as he picked up a knock against Chelsea – he has arguably been United’s standout performer this season.
Something that many fans haven’t thought about on Wednesday night is the prospect of a penalty shootout, there are no replays in the English League Cup and the idea of a shootout is grim, especially with our penalty record this season.
All things considered, I remain quietly confident that Pep will run out victorious over José for the second time this season. I don’t think it will be an easy game at all and United will be wanting to bounce back with a bit of sweet revenge. Overall, I am going for another 2-1 win for City.
Predict the score:
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