Manchester Derby (EFL Cup Leg 2) Team News: Pogba, Laporte, Mahrez

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It would take a major upset to stop Manchester City from progressing on to the EFL final, given how they enter the home leg of their semifinal tie with Manchester United up 3-1. It’s a tournament that City have dominated lately, and they’re heavily favored to add another cup title next month.

As for United, well, they know what they have to do in order to escape from the current morass they’re stuck in, but they just can’t bring themselves to do it. They must bring in a true Football Director to create and develop a coherent roster building strategy, and in the process take these duties off the plate of CEO Ed Woodward. Everyone seems to know, even Old Trafford as they been interviewing people for the gig.

joel glazer

Until the Glazers actually pull the trigger though, it’s going to be more spinning their wheels to stay mired in mediocrity.

In assessing the fitness situation of United for this match, Paul Pogba posted an injury and recovery update, of sorts, on his Instagram page today.

The earliest he could be back is after the Premier League break next month. Leading scorer Marcus Rashford is out until mid March at best, mid April at worst. Another starting XI fixture, Scott McTominay, is out long term as well.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will also not be able to call upon defenders Marcos Rojo, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe.

Turning to City, their only major fitness concern is winger Leroy Sane, who is still a few weeks away from a return. Aymeric Laporte, their only other real long term injury absentee this season, has returned to action, but he was missed out on the win over Fulham yesterday in the FA Cup.

“He had some fatigue, which is normal after four or five months,” said City manager Pep Guardiola of the situation.

“We are not going to take risks. Until we feel he is ready, he won’t play. If he can play against United, he can play.”

Chances are you don’t see him in this one. Ditto for winger Riyad Mahrez, who suffered a knock in that match and was subbed off for precautionary reasons.

Manchester Derby EFL Cup semifinal leg 2/2 (City leads 3-1 on aggregate) FYIs

Kickoff: Jan. 29, 7:45 pm, City of Manchester Stadium

Starting XI Predictions:  United   City

TV: Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Football

Key facts/stats: Antony Martial loves the League Cup, as he featured in the competition a dozen times and scored five goals.

Prediction: Manchester City 1, Manchester United 0

Without Pogba and Rashford, the gap between neighbors is even more significant. City will likely coast, and still get through without too much resistance

 Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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Comments

  1. my prediction
    City 4-1 United

    Aguero 2′ p
    De Bruyen 6′ freekick
    Martial 21′ head assisted by Shaw
    De Bruye 34′ from 24m
    James 40′ from 9m
    B. Silva 82′ easy goal 3-2m

    Fredy, James and Maguer will get a yellow card within 75 minutes while Aguero, Mendy, Rodrigo and David Silva 75% they will not get any card.

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