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5 reasons why Manchester City will struggle against Manchester United tonight | EFL Cup 2020-21

Shambhu Ajith
Modified 06 Jan 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

#3 Solskjaer could field his best side in a bid to win his first trophy as Manchester United manager

Eric Bailly with a last-ditch challenge in the dying embers of the game against Aston Villa
Eric Bailly with a last-ditch challenge in the dying embers of the game against Aston Villa

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a selection dilemma as he has almost his entire squad to choose his starting XI from tonight. Only Edinson Cavani is missing through suspension.

Solskjaer will be desperate to win his first piece of silverware as the Manchester United after reaching two semi-finals last season. The back four that started against Aston Villa is almost certain to be fielded again with Eric Bailly and Aaron Wan-Bissaka contributing heavily to the Red Devils' win.

Solskjaer usually goes for a mobile midfield against top sides and Scott McTominay and Fred could start behind Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba could once again be fielded in an advanced role down the left side.

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial ought to complete the XI and the thing to note here is that there isn't one player on the list that's underperforming at the moment. They can go toe-to-toe with their Manchester City counterparts which brings us to our next point which is...

#2 Manchester City squad is depleted

Kyle Walker has tested positive for Covid-19
Kyle Walker has tested positive for Covid-19

Six Manchester City players have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead and Pep Guardiola will be taking a depleted squad to Old Trafford for the EFL Cup semi-final. Last week, Manchester City's Premier League game against Everton was postponed after several players and staff members tested positive for Covid.

However, they did take on Chelsea in the weekend and registered a thumping 3-1 victory. City have six players sidelined and as far as we know and those include Kyle Walker, Eric Garcia and Gabriel Jesus. However, Manchester United will be a wholly different proposition as opposed to the lacklustre Chelsea side they faced over the weekend.


Pep Guardiola went vocal about his concerns in an interview with Sky Sports. He said:

"We don't have many players. To play one, two games is okay but if sustained for a long time - and you can use just 14 or 15 players - it will be more difficult. But like everyone in the world, we have to adjust in our lives and our profession as much as possible. We don't have an alternative.
"The important thing is the guys who have Covid recover well and the others try to avoid it as much as possible."

#1 Manchester United substitutes can change the game

Donny van de Beek
Donny van de Beek

While Manchester City will have to make do with whoever is available, Manchester United on the other hand can entirely turn a game on its head thanks to their squad depth. EFL have approved five substitutions for the game and that is great news as Manchester United are concerned.

The clubs will be able to name nine players on the bench as well as opposed to seven. The thing about Manchester United's squad is that they have a lot of midfielders who are all unique in the way they play the game.

If Fred and McTominay start and it is not quite working out, the Manchester United manager could always ask Nemanja Matic to come in and instill some much needed stability in the heart of midfield. They have Donny van de Beek who loves exploiting spaces in the final third and is an additional threat inside the box.

They have Alex Telles who can come in for Luke Shaw and Juan Mata who can add that extra bit of finesse to the Manchester United midfield if needed. Mason Greenwood should also be on the bench and we all know what the youngster can do if he's given space.

Published 06 Jan 2021, 14:57 IST
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