Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final sees Manchester City travel across town to play the first of two fixtures against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United. City’s local rivals won 2-1 at the Etihad in this season’s first Premier League meeting between the sides, but Pep Guardiola’s men are now fighting for their third successive League Cup title.
With the Premier League beginning to look out of reach for Manchester City, Pep Guardiola will have high hopes that the League Cup offers his team some success for the season.
Pep Guardiola confirmed in his pre-match press conference on Monday afternoon that every player currently available is training, with the exception being Leroy Sané – who has only done a small amount of on-pitch work.
The opposition, on the other hand, has far worse fortunes in terms of injuries – not very often have we been able to say that this season. Midfielders Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba are sidelined with fairly long-term injuries, while Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are recovering from illness and their inclusion is in doubt.
In defence, Solskjaer suggested Harry Maguire will have to wait a little bit longer for a return, while Marcus Rojo and Eric Bailly may still be absent. Both Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu-Mensah will probably miss this fixture as well.
Manchester City Predicted XI
Claudio Bravo has played all of Manchester City’s last four games, and I can see him returning tomorrow despite the tough opposition. He’s started in every cup game so far this season too.
Kyle Walker will probably return at right-back, following João Cancelo’s appearance in our last two matches. Nicolás Otamendi will most likely start alongside Fernandinho in the centre of defence, as Aymeric Laporte’s return is too far off and John Stones has played just three days prior to this game. Eric Garcia, too, will stake his claim to start this match and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him start. Benjamin Mendy should start at left-back, following his return to good form recently.
In the middle, Rodri will probably start in defensive midfield. In front of him, Kevin De Bruyne will surely feature in such an important game. The Belgian has seven goal contributions in his last five games, so his form speaks for itself. The man that starts alongside him is harder to predict, but I’d suggest that David Silva, who has good goalscoring pedigree in Manchester derbies, will be picked by Guardiola.
Moving into the attacking line, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling will most likely start on the right and left side respectively. Sergio Agüero played the full 90 minutes on Saturday, so I’m predicting Gabriel Jesus will return to the side following his brace on New Year’s Day.
Substitutes: Ederson, Zinchenko, Garcia, Bernardo, Gundogan, Foden, Aguero.
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