Manchester United are set to take on city rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford on January 8 at 1:30 AM IST in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final. United are winless in the two matches they have played during this calendar year. Manchester City, on the other hand, have won both their games in January so far. The pressure, therefore, will be on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men to deliver the goods in the 180th Manchester derby.
In a press conference ahead of the game, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was quoted as saying, "In a derby, it's about adrenalin and atmosphere." However, Manchester United had little atmosphere to count on during their last meeting with Manchester City. The Red Devils emerged 2-1 winners at the Etihad early in December in what was a shock defeat for Pep Guardiola's side. Despite having a close-to-full-strength squad at his disposal, goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial condemned Man City to defeat. However, Manchester City have done relatively well since that defeat. Barring a 2-3 defeat against Wolves, Man City have won all of their matches since the last Manchester derby. Interestingly, this will be Man United's 15th EFL Cup (Carabao Cup) semi-final. Only Liverpool (17) have made more appearances in the competition's history.
Manchester United have the unique advantage of gaining the upper hand in the first leg of the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford. However, they might have to do without the services of their second-most expensive acquisition, Harry Maguire. Maguire picked up a knock in the FA Cup fixture against Wolves last week.
The pace and directness of Marcus Rashford and Daniel James could prove to be troublesome for a Manchester City side that has not kept a clean sheet in both their games in the calendar year. While Aymeric Laporte has returned to light training, he is still a couple of weeks away from returning to action. Nicolas Otamendi will be available for selection after recovering from injury. For Manchester United, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba continue to nurse injuries, which will mean that Fred and Nemanja Matic could continue as the midfield pivot.
The first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final is scheduled to kick off on Tuesday, January 7 (1:30 am IST). Fans can watch the match in India on VH1 and VH1 HD.