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Manchester City v Manchester United: 3 key players for the Red Devils | Carabao Cup 2019-20

Manchester City v Manchester United - Who will progress to the finals?
Manchester City v Manchester United - Who will progress to the finals?
Modified 29 Jan 2020, 15:34 IST

Manchester City host arch-rivals Manchester United in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semifinal on Wednesday. They recorded a thumping victory in the first leg, beating Man United 3-1. If Manchester City can hold on to their lead then it will be their third successive appearance in the final. 

Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an own goal from Andreas Pereira gave Pep Guardiola's side a healthy advantage before Marcus Rashford pulled one back with 20 minutes remaining in the game. That solitary goal keeps the tie alive but with Rashford sidelined due to injury, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side will find it hard to pull off a comeback.

In the past, they have come through these odd situations but the firepower in this team is very limited. Solskjaer will require top performances in every position but who will be the three players who can turn the tie in the Reds' corner.

David De Gea

De Gea has to step up if United want to go through
De Gea has to step up if United want to go through

The Spanish goalkeeper is having a tough season but that doesn't take away the fact that he's been a pivotal player for the club in the past. His teammates need a magical night from their keeper and there is no reason why he cannot produce one.

De Gea was helpless with Bernardo Silva's goal in the first leg but could have done better to hinder Mahrez's strike. Tried his best to stop the third goal but was left unlucky with Andreas Periera's own goal. Sergio Aguero is in lethal form and with Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne alongside him, De Gea has to be ready for a very busy night.

Harry Maguire & Victor Lindelof

Both defenders to defend robustly against Man City
Both defenders to defend robustly against Man City's swift attacking style

We might be contradicting ourselves here by including four players in total but the centre backs cannot be termed separately. They have to play as a single entity and command the game from the back.

The new skipper of United scored an emphatic goal from 20 yards out against Tranmere Rovers. He missed the first leg due to an injury but should replace Jones in the starting XI if Solskjaer decides to go with back four. Maguire is having a tough first season at United but can you blame him with all the stuff happening at Old Trafford? We don't think so.

His centre-back partner has been a shadow of his former self, as he struggled to deliver the goods consistently. He was one of the big reasons why United were battered in the first leg. Lindelof was never comfortable on the ball and was run ragged by the opposition's attacking players. A clean sheet is a must for United in this game and that is the reason we have included both, the keepers and the centre-backs in this list.

Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial was in fine form against Tranmere Rovers
Anthony Martial was in fine form against Tranmere Rovers

With Marcus Rashford's lengthy absence, the whole burden falls on the Frenchman. For unknown reasons, Solskjaer didn't introduce Martial until 81 minutes in the first leg. additionally, the Norwegian manager decided to swap out Mason Greenwood in favour of the former Monaco man, rather than having both in the last few minutes.

In 18 Premier League outings, Martial has scored 8 times and assist 3, which represents a respectable tally. His inconsistency and lack of work rate have always been a big hindrance but there's no doubt about the skills he possesses.

Can he do what Romelu Lukaku did against Paris-Saint Germain last year in the second leg? The Red Devils will surely hope for that and only time will tell if they can carve out another comeback out of nowhere.

Published 29 Jan 2020, 15:34 IST
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