Exciting and interesting times for Manchester United as Wednesday saw the club learn a.) who their League Cup opponents will be and b.) that arch-rivals Manchester City were eliminated from the competition.
That now makes United the favorite to win the tournament. Speaking of Man City, Saturday brings the Manchester Derby, which means it’s already time to preview the big clash. United have a major fitness concern for this blockbuster fixture.
Manchester Derby FYIs
Kickoff: Jan 14, 12:30pm, Old Trafford
Team News: United City
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
Google Result Probability: United 22% City 54% Draw 24%
Table Position: United 4th, 35 pts City 2nd, 39 pts
PL Form Guide: United WWWWL City WDWLW
MUFC Team News for Manchester Derby
When United thrashed League One side Charlton 3-0 at home last night, to reach the League Cup semi-finals (more on that in a bit), the win came with a cost. First choice right-back Diogo Dalot limped off after a half hour.
“Diogo Dalot went off before half-time. We have to wait, I think it is not serious but it was a precaution to get him off and not take a risk when we have, on Saturday, an important game.”
His replacement, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, had been deputizing in that role for the past three games, as Dalot had been working on trying to build his fitness/recovering from injury. AWB had been doing well too; helping United to three consecutive clean sheets.
Dalot is the only fresh injury concern, other than him, the team news is the same since before the League Cup clash.
EFL Cup Semifinal Draw
Earlier today, the EFL Cup draw was held and Nottingham Forest will be the opponent in the two-legged semifinals.
As for the team that shockingly vanquished Manchester City, Southampton FC, they will face Newcastle United in the other tie.
These will occur in the weeks that commence Jan. 23 and Jan. 30.
Prediction: United 1, City 1
No United manager, since the disaster that was David Moyes, has lost his first two matches against City. Conversely, Pep has never beaten the same United manager twice in the same season.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.