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It’s been a very busy festive period for the two Manchester clubs but there is no time to slow down just yet. After a slew of Premier League matches over the last couple of weeks and their first FA Cup match of the season on Saturday, Man Utd and Man City meet on Tuesday in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi final.
It’s fair to say that both clubs could do with the boost of winning some silverware. Man Utd’s inconsistency has done nothing towards settling the argument of whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the right man to take the club forward. Man City’s almost total absence in the title race has really hurt but the Citizens have plenty of time to end this season on a high courtesy of the cup competitions and the Champions League.
The general thinking is that Premier League managers don’t have much time for the Carabao Cup, viewing it as a distraction. However, the list of recent winners is impressive. Indeed it features both Manchester clubs with City winning for the fourth time in six years against Chelsea last February.
The boost to morale provided by a cup win in early March and the chance to celebrate with your fans at a Wembley final has proven to be a prize worth fighting for. There will certainly be plenty of fight on display on Tuesday night when these two fierce city rivals face off against one another at Old Trafford.
Man City 8/13 (bet365)
Draw 3/1 (Unibet)
Man Utd 4/1 (Sportingbet)
(Please note all odds are correct at time of article publishing)
Man Utd’s best performance of the season by a long way was their 2-1 win at the Etihad in December. Solskajer was rightly lauded for the tactical decisions he made on the day whilst his team were excellent going forward. United were so good on the counterattack – where they repeatedly took advantage of Man City’s problems dealing with pace – that they were a little disappointed not to go into the half time break with more than a two-goal lead.
Once they’d built up their lead, United had City just where they wanted them. They were able to sit back and defend in numbers, with the threat of springing another counterattack always up their sleeve. Solskjaer would love for a repeat of that performance in both Carabao Cup semi finals but he knows it’s never as easy as that against Pep Guardiola.
The Man City manager is always thinking and tinkering and he’ll arrive at Old Trafford with new ideas about how to break the home side down and limit their effectiveness on the break. Man City have also rediscovered some form since that surprise derby day loss and the bookies make them the odds on favourites both to win the first leg and to qualify for the final.
City still have issues in defence though and Solskjaer rested some of his best attacking players for Saturday evening’s match against Wolves to ensure they’ll be fresh for Tuesday night. That suggests to us that United are good for a goal even in defeat so back Man City to win and both teams to score at 23/10 with Paddy Power.
Draw 1-1 @ 15/2 (Sportingbet)
Man City 2-1 @ 15/2 (bet365)
Man City 1-0 @ 15/2 (Coral)
Man City 2-0 @ 15/2 (Betfred)
Man City 3-0 @ 12/1 (Paddy Power)
Man City 3-1 @ 12/1 (Betfred)
Unsurprisingly, given the odds in the Match Winner market, selections reflecting a Man City win dominate the top of the Correct Score market. There is always the chance that the first leg of a big semi final will be a little tight, the players doing all they can not to throw their chances of making the final away. However, Man City have seriously entertained in recent Carabao Cup semi finals and will head to Old Trafford looking to put the tie beyond any doubt as early as possible.
As we’ve seen, Man Utd have the players in Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James to hurt City on the counter if given space in which to run so we could actually be in for an entertaining match. If you’re getting involved in the Correct Score market, consider the odds of 12/1 that Betfred are quoting on Man City winning 3-1.
Sergio Aguero 10/3 (Paddy Power)
Gabriel Jesus 7/2 (Ladbrokes)
Raheem Sterling 4/1 (William Hill)
Marcus Rashford 9/2 (Coral)
Riyad Mahrez 13/2 (888Sport)
Anthony Martial 7/1 (Paddy Power)
Kevin De Bruyne 13/2 (Sportingbet)
Bernado Silva 15/2 (William Hill)
It’s clearer which attacking players Solskjaer will turn to on Tuesday than Guardiola. The Man Utd manager is almost certain to call on Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial given the problems they caused at the Etihad. Whether they will be quite as effective remains to be seen but what you can be sure of is that City will cause the hosts plenty of problems at the other end.
Sergio Aguero tops the First Goalscorer betting but he played the whole match against Port Vale whereas Gabriel Jesus was kept on the bench. The Brazilian has found some form lately and looks a good bet to open the scoring at Old Trafford at 7/2 with Ladbrokes.
Man City to Win and Both Teams to Score at 23/10 with Paddy Power
Man City 3-1 Correct Score @ 12/1 with Betfred
Gabriel Jesus to Score First @ 7/2 with Ladbrokes