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Prediction: Man United vs Man City

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

It is another stern test for clubs from Manchester who are going head to head at Old Trafford in the Football League Cup Round of 16 looking for a chance to get back in shape and prove that troubling lack of form is just the current state of affairs.

Manchester United

Having dispatched Northampton in the previous round of the competition with a comfortable 3-1 win, Manchester United are now handed a much more demanding task in the Round of 16 in the Football League Cup against their noisy neighbours. The highly anticipated local derby will be an extremely contested clash, with an importance highlighted by Red Devils’ most recent slump in form which has put a lot of pressure on United manager Jose Mourinho. The following match will be of paramount importance for the hosts who need a swift response following their latest 4-0 embarrassment at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho’s former club Chelsea have inflicted the heaviest away defeat in last 17 years to Red Devils, who are now winless in their last three Premier League games. The Portuguese tactician was angry at his opposite number Antonio Conte for celebrating too hard on the touchline, while in fact he should be angry at his team’s string of terrible performances. Manchester United are playing without a clearly visible system, identity and character which makes their highly-paid stars look useless for the most part of the game(s).

Team News

Defeat at Chelsea came at a much bigger cost for Man United as the club are sweating over the fitness of Marouane Fellaini and Eric Bailly, who picked up a bruised patella and a knee ligament injury against Chelsea.

Captain Wayne Rooney got injured prior to Chelsea clash and will be unavailable through muscular injury, while James Wilson, Phil Jones and Henrikh Mkhitaryan remain on the sidelines as well.

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s sweet start to the 2016-17 season came to an abrupt end towards the end of September. Having been surprisingly held to a 3-3 Champions League draw at Celtic, the Citizens have since then been unable to get back to winning ways across the competitions. Disappointing defeats to Tottenham and Barcelona got sandwiched in between stalemates against Everton and Southampton most recently and Manchester City are heading toward the Old Trafford match looking to grab a first win after a five-match winless slump. Pep Guardiola has a stellar side at his disposal, but the worrying lack of form Manchester City are displaying at the moment is giving the Spaniard a huge headache. Man City’s lead at the top of the Premier League table has melted and Citizens are now level on terms with Arsenal and Liverpool, who also have 20 points to their name. And with Chelsea breathing hard down their necks as well, the Citizens are in need of an instant return to winning ways. Therefore the team will be looking for a win that could be a good way to kick-start the campaign back on track. What is more, the Spaniard is relishing the chance of beating the old foe Mou for the second time in two months.

Team News

Kevin de Bruyne picked up a knock at the weekend and will be given a late fitness test ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.

Bacary Sagna and Fabian Delph are still nursing their injuries, while Pablo Zabaleta is closing on the recovery from a foot injury. Yaya Toure’s struggles are well-documented as the Ivorian continues to linger on the margins.

Key Aspects to Consider

  • Man United are coming off from their heaviest away loss in last 17 years
  • Last two meetings between two sides ended in away wins
  • Pep Guardiola is eyeing his second win over Mourinho in 2 months
  • Man City failed to win any of their last five matches
  • Manchester rivals drew only once in their last 15 meetings

Conclusion

The two managers are likely to ring plenty of changes to their line-ups as Manchester clubs meet in the least important match they are involved in this season. Both teams are enduring difficult spells and the EFL Cup clash is a good opportunity for both United and City to gain a valuable win that could serve as a huge morale boost. We have problems choosing sides, but tend to believe there will be goals at both end at Old Trafford.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Mon 24 Oct, 2016
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